NEWARK – U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10) stood wharfside on Thursday in Port Newark, holding a press conference to discuss his efforts against what he believes are the damaging effects of employee misclassification on workers and therefore the regional economy.
In a conversation with PolitickerNJ, Payne, Jr. made sure that his intentions regarding two of the most important upcoming elections in New Jersey were not misclassified – the 2017 governor’s race and the 2016 Democratic presidential primary contest.
“I’m not thinking about that. I’m trying to learn to be a Congressman,” said Payne, Jr., elected in 2012, when asked if he wanted his name to be thrown into the potential 2017 Democratic primary contest ring along with possible candidates Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3). “I have an obligation to do the job they elected me to.
“People have come to me to say that they think that I had something to offer, but I really wanted to serve in the city of Newark,” added Payne, Jr., 55, a former Newark city council president, Essex County freeholder and the son of the late U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-10). “Newark was something that was in my heart. I’m living on the same street as three generations of Paynes. I’m not going anywhere. I’ll probably die on that street.”
Regarding a 2016 Democratic presidential field that might include former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Payne, Jr. was decidedly undecided.
“I have not made a determination yet – I don’t think there are any announced candidates yet,” Payne, Jr. said. “Once they reveal themselves, we’ll do what we need to do.”