National leaders: Payne was ‘tireless champion’

National Democratic Party leaders today remembered U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-10) as a pioneer.

U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) had a longtime alliance with the late congressman.

“Congressman Donald Payne was my good friend and a trailblazer in our state who opened the door for African Americans in New Jersey to excel in public service,” said the senator. “Congressman Payne was so conscientious of people’s lives and always focused on those who needed the most help. His passing is a loss for Newark and the people he represented and fought for in New Jersey, across the country and around the world. Donald Payne will be missed, but his work will not be forgotten and his legacy will live forever.”  

Democratic National Campaign Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement on the passing of Congressman Donald Payne:

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of my colleague, Congressman Donald Payne. As the first African American elected to represent New Jersey in Congress, Don was truly a tireless champion for the City of Newark, for the 10th Congressional District and for all of the less fortunate among us who needed a voice in the halls of power.

“As a former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Payne was a fierce advocate for workforce protections for America’s working families, and as a leading advocate of quality education, he was an active supporter of funding for Head Start, Pell Grants and affordable student loans. So many of us also knew him as a powerful voice for peace in the Darfur conflict, and as a former Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, he dedicated himself to the critical mission of addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa.

“As we mourn today’s news, I extend my sincerest condolences to Congressman Payne’s family and friends in this difficult time.”

U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-13) issued a statement.

“I am deeply saddened to hear about the death of my colleague Congressman Donald Payne,” said Sires. “The residents of the 10th Congressional District have lost a great leader and the Payne family has lost a beloved patriarch. My sympathies go out to his son Councilman Donald Payne Jr, his daughters Nicole and Wanda and his grandchildren. Human rights, health-care and education were among his top priorities. His leadership efforts in these areas will succeed him for many years to come. He was a champion for all people and believed that everyone should have the chance to realize their potential to the fullest. The Congressman’s fight against discrimination and consideration for the underrepresented will never be forgotten. As a member of the US House Foreign Affairs committee I was honored to work with Congressman Payne on the forefront of efforts to restore democracy and human rights in nations throughout the globe.” National leaders: Payne was ‘tireless champion’