Dante Fascell
Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
In office
December 3, 1983 – January 3, 1993
Preceded byClement J. Zablocki
Succeeded byLee H. Hamilton
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida
In office
January 3, 1955 – January 3, 1993
Preceded byBill Lantaff
Succeeded byPeter Deutsch (Redistricting)
Constituency4th district (1955–67)
12th district (1967–73)
15th district (1973–83)
19th district (1983–93)
Personal details
Born(1917-03-09)March 9, 1917
Bridgehampton, New York, U.S.
DiedNovember 28, 1998(1998-11-28) (aged 81)
Clearwater, Florida, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
RelativesBen Diamond (grandson)
EducationUniversity of Miami (JD)

Dante Bruno Fascell (March 9, 1917 – November 28, 1998) was an American politician who represented Florida as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1955 to 1993. He served as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee for nine years.

Early life

Dante Fascell was born in Bridgehampton, New York. In 1925, his family moved to Florida. In 1938, he graduated from the University of Miami School of Law. Fascell was a brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity and the Kappa Sigma fraternity. While a University of Miami law student, Fascell was inducted into its Iron Arrow Honor Society, the University of Miami's highest honor.

Fascell joined the Florida National Guard in 1941 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1942, serving in the African, Sicilian, and Italian Campaigns during World War II, eventually rising to the rank of captain.[1][2]

Political career

Fascell's constituents elected him to the Florida House of Representatives in 1950. In 1954 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat in a district representing Dade County, Florida. Fascell refused to sign the 1956 Southern Manifesto, and voted in favor of the Civil Rights Acts of 1960 and 1968,[3][4] as well as the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965,[5][6] but not the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964.[7][8] Fascell began as a supporter of the Vietnam War, but he soon spoke out against the war. Fascell cosponsored the War Powers Act of 1973 and he won aid for Cuban-Americans who had settled in his district. He served as the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs from 1984 to 1993.[9] He worked to repeal the Clark Amendment, allowing the U.S. government to send aid to UNITA rebels in Angola, as a partner in the Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly lobbying firm.[10]

Fascell worked to champion the creation of Biscayne National Park, south of Miami. It was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968. The visitor center in the park is named after Representative Fascell. Similarly, a public park located in South Miami is named for him.[11] The Dante B. Fascell North-South Center Act of 1991 established the prestigious think-tank at the University of Miami.

Fascell retired from the House after his 19th term ended in 1993. When President Bill Clinton took office he proposed to nominate Fascell as the United States Ambassador to Italy, however Fascell declined for family reasons as he had developed colorectal cancer.[12] On October 29, 1998, Fascell was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton.[13] He died the following month from colorectal cancer, at the age of 81.

Works or publications


Further reading

U.S. House of Representatives Preceded byBill Lantaff Member of the U.S. House of Representativesfrom Florida's 4th congressional district 1955–1967 Succeeded bySyd Herlong Preceded byWilliam C. Cramer Member of the U.S. House of Representativesfrom Florida's 12th congressional district 1967–1973 Succeeded byJ. Herbert Burke New constituency Member of the U.S. House of Representativesfrom Florida's 15th congressional district 1973–1983 Succeeded byClay Shaw Member of the U.S. House of Representativesfrom Florida's 19th congressional district 1983–1993 Succeeded byHarry Johnston New office Chair of the Joint Helsinki Commission 1976–1985 Succeeded byAl D'Amato Preceded byClement J. Zablocki Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee 1983–1993 Succeeded byLee H. Hamilton Party political offices Preceded byLes AuCoin, Joe Biden, Bill Bradley, Robert Byrd, Tom Daschle, Bill Hefner, Barbara B. Kennelly, George Miller, Tip O'Neill, Paul Tsongas, Tim Wirth Response to the State of the Union address 1984 Served alongside: Max Baucus, Joe Biden, David L. Boren, Barbara Boxer, Robert Byrd, Bill Gray, Tom Harkin, Dee Huddleston, Carl Levin, Tip O'Neill, Claiborne Pell Succeeded byBill ClintonBob GrahamTip O'Neill