Donald Payne

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Donald Payne

Donald "Don" M. Payne was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 10th district of New Jersey.

Payne, a native of Newark, New Jersey, became New Jersey’s first African American to be elected to the U.S. Congress in 1988. In 2010, he was elected to serve his twelfth term to represent the 10th District in the 112th Congress.

Rep. Payne served as Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, whose mission is to advance the global black community by developing leaders through internship and fellowship programs, informing policy and educating the public. He also served as a past Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. He was a member of the Democratic Whip Organization and served as a member of the House Democratic Leadership Advisory Group. [1]

Payne died on March 6, 2012 from cancer.[2]


Before being elected to serve as New Jersey's first African-American Congressman, Rep. Payne’s career included service on the Newark Municipal Council; Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders; Essex County Democratic Chairman; executive of the Prudential Insurance Company; Vice-President of Urban Data Systems, Inc. and an educator in the Newark and Passaic Public School Districts. A former National President of the YMCA, he also served as Chairman of the World Refugee and Rehabilitation Committee. Rep. Payne has served on the board of directors of the National Endowment for Democracy, TransAfrica Forum, Discovery Channel Global Education Fund, Congressional Award Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs of Newark, Newark Day Center and the Newark YMCA.

A graduate of Seton Hall University, Rep. Payne pursued graduate studies at Springfield College in Massachusetts. He holds honorary doctorates from Drew University, Essex County College, William Paterson University, Chicago State University, Bloomfield College and Berkeley College.[3]


Rep. Payne is a senior member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, where he serves on two subcommittees - the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education and the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. Throughout his tenure in Congress, he has been a leading advocate of education and instrumental in making K-12 public schools more successful and college more affordable. He was a key player in the passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which cuts interest rates on Stafford loans in half, increases Pell Grants and provides loan forgiveness to public service employees with student loan debt. He also introduced legislation designed to close the achievement gap, including the Expanded Learning Time Act, the Prescribe a Book Act, and the Youth Financial Education Act.

A true champion of workforce protections for America’s working families, Rep. Payne was vocal in the passage of minimum wage increase legislation, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Worker Health and Safety legislation and the historic America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. Through his public policy efforts, billions of dollars for economic development and other key programs have been allocated to Essex, Hudson and Union counties in his district.

Rep. Payne is a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where he serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights and as a member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. Rep. Payne has been at the forefront of efforts to restore democracy and human rights in nations throughout the globe. He joined with his colleagues to introduce a measure which was subsequently approved by Congress to strengthen the Microenterprise Act, providing small business loans to people in developing nations. Rep. Payne was recognized as having the most supportive record in Congress on issues involving the Northern Ireland peace process. He was successful in winning passage of a resolution declaring genocide in Darfur, Sudan. In fact, he authored the Sudan Peace Act, a measure to facilitate famine relief efforts and a comprehensive solution to the war in Sudan, which was approved by Congress. [4]

Supported by Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Donald Payne in his successful House of Representatives run as candidate for New Jersey.[5]

DSA endorsement

In July 1996, the Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee endorsed Donald Payne, NJ 10 in that year's Congressional elections.[6]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

In 1998 Donald Payne, Democrat was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[7]

As of February 20 2009 Donald Payne, was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[8]

H.R. 950, the Job Creation and Infrastructure Restoration Act of 1997 was introduced in the 105th Congress on March 5, 1997 by Congressman Matthew Martinez of California. It had 33 original co-sponsors, including Donald Payne. The primary purpose of this emergency federal jobs legislation was to provide much needed jobs at union wages to crisis ridden cities by putting the unemployed to work rebuilding our nation's infrastructure (schools, housing, hospitals, libraries, public transportation, highways, parks, environmental improvements, etc. $250 billion is authorized for emergency public works jobs over a five year period.

Congressman Martinez had previously introduced this bill in the last Congress (as HR 1591) at the the request of over 50 prominent Labor leaders who formed the Los Angeles Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs, which is why it is often referred to as the "Martinez Public Works Jobs Bill."[9]

This is the most significant jobs legislation introduced in Congress since Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal established the Works Progress Administration (WPA). This bill is the WPA-type program for today. It has strong provisions which will put hundreds of thousands of unemployed building trades workers to work as well as provide jobs for victims of plant closures, welfare recipients who are parents, youth, and the long term unemployed. The public works projects which will be established under this bill will be built in communities with the highest levels of unemployment and with the greatest needs.
The goal of the New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs is to build the movement to pass the Martinez Jobs bill as part of the National Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs. You can help by asking your union, community organization, or local government body to to join those who have already passed resolutions to endorse the bill. Such a resolution has been introduced in the New York City Council. Calling on additional Congressional Representatives to co-sponsor the bill is very important. We will be organizing petition campaigns, visits to elected officials, and demonstrations and other actions for a public works jobs program.

The leaders of the Los Angeles Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs and its only affiliate New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs, were all known supporters or members of the Communist Party USA.

Los Angeles , National Labor Coalition For Public Works Jobs

A New York affiliate, New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs, c/o Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2.

Health Care Access resolution

John Conyers promoted House Concurrent Resolution 99 (H. Con Res. 99) Directing Congress to enact legislation by October 2004 that provides access to comprehensive health care for all Americans. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES April 4, 2001.

Sponsors:John Conyers (for himself), Jan Schakowsky, John Tierney, Barbara Lee, Donna Christensen, David Bonior, Dennis Kucinich, Earl Hilliard, Maurice Hinchey, Jerry Nadler, Donald Payne Chaka Fattah, Peter DeFazio, John Lewis Tammy Baldwin, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Barney Frank, Henry Waxman, Cynthia McKinney, Jim Langevin, George Miller Alcee Hastings, Patsy Mink, John Olver , Bennie Thompson, Pete Stark, Julia Carson, and Mike Capuano submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce;[10]

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that the Congress shall enact legislation by October 2004 to guarantee that every person in the United States, regardless of income, age, or employment or health status, has access to health care..

HR 3000

On September 3, 2003 Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced H.R. 3000, the United States Universal Health Service Act, which would provide health coverage for all Americans. H.R. 3000 would establish a United States Health Service (USHS), which would eliminate profit issues from health care because it would be owned and controlled by the public and administered primarily at the local level.[11]

According to the Communist Party USA's People's World, initial supporters of HR 3000 were Julia Carson, (D-Ind.), Donna Christensen (D-Va.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.), Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Major Owens (D-N.Y.), Donald Payne (D-N.J.), and Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.).

The World went on to say;[12]

We will not win the United States Health Service without a massive, prolonged struggle by working people against the corporate defenders of the current for-profit health care industry.

Staffer's 2010 trip to Latin America

Rep. Payne sent Stephanie Gidigbi, to Honduras and El Salvador for 3 days in May/June 2010. The trip was courtesy of a $4,107.39 grant from the Institute for Policy Studies connected Center for Democracy in the Americas... "Assess the situation in Honduras and El Salvador and current U.S. policy implications in the countries" .[13]

Supported Lifting the Gaza Blockade

On Jan. 27, 2010, U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison and Jim McDermott led 52 other members of Congress in signing a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, calling for him to use diplomatic pressure to resolve the blockade affecting Gaza. Donald Payne was one of the signatories of the letter. [14] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

Mideast Congressional Mission

In February 2010, the first JStreet-sponsored congressional mission toured Israel, Jordan and Palestinian-controlled areas. Five members of Congress participated in the tour; Lois Capps, Bill Delahunt, Bob Filner, Mary Jo Kilroy, and Donald Payne.

It was stated that the mission "will meet with Israeli government and opposition leaders as well as key regional leaders, including Jordanian King Abdullah II and Palestinian National Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The delegation will travel widely in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and Jordan taking a close look at the situation on the ground through the eyes of policy makers and civil society leaders."[15]

JStreet is a Jewish organization that, according to its website, "was founded to change the dynamics of American politics and policy on Israel and the Middle East".[16]


The following are past and present staff:[17]

External links