Donald Payne

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Donald Payne

Template:TOCnestleft 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]

TranAfrica Nigeria letter

In an attempt to prod the military government of Nigeria toward a return to civilian rule, TransAfrica Forum's Randall Robinson enlisted the aid of politicians, educators and celebrities in order to focus the eyes of the world on human-rights abuses in Africa's most populous nation and return democracy to what many consider Africa's best hope. In a March 1995 letter to General Sani Abacha, who came to power in a 1993 military coup, Robinson accused Abacha of killing political opponents and shutting down the press. Robinson beseeched Abacha "to expedite the restoration of democracy" to Nigeria's 100 million people or face "incalculable damage" and "eventual economic and political isolation of your regime."

The letter was signed by a host of prominent Blacks: author Maya Angelou, actors Danny Glover, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee; the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Joseph Lowery; musician and composer Quincy Jones; TV personality Bryant Gumbel; acting NAACP head Earl T. Shinhoster; International Human Rights Group director Gay McDougall; Harvard Law Professor and former Judge Leon Higginbotham, Jr.; National Urban League president Hugh Price; and a majority of Congressional Black Caucus members, including Chairman Donald Payne (D-NJ) and Alcee Hastings (D-FL), both House Subcommittee on Africa members.[6]

DSA endorsement

In July 1996, the Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee endorsed Donald Payne, NJ 10 in that year's Congressional elections.[7]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

In 1998 Donald Payne, Democrat was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[8]

As of February 20 2009 Donald Payne, was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[9]

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."[10]

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;[11]

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.[12]

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;[13]

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.

Posada letter

In 2005 several far left Congressmembers wrote to President Bush urging him to extradite alleged terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela to face justice.

We are writing to urge you to oppose the application for asylum by Luis Posada Carriles, and to support the request for extradition to Venezuela, where he is a fugitive from justice.

Signatories were; Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Cynthia McKinney, John Olver, James McGovern, Donald Payne, Lane Evans, Carolyn Maloney, Tammy Baldwin, Lynn Woolsey, Jose Serrano, Raul Grijalva, Maurice Hinchey, Bobby Rush, Edolphus Towns, Sam Farr, Bennie Thompson, Ed Pastor, Sheila Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters.[14]

National Dialogue on the Sudan

In Memory of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X)

A National Dialogue on the Sudan

Sunday, Feb. 27, 2005


Among the Invited Speakers

The National Conference/Dialogue on the Sudan will take place (Feb 27th), culminating a week long observance for an Afro-American Muslim leader who was (and still is) most deserving.

We expect to be joined by a host of local grass-roots community leaders and activists (and possibly a few from outside the Washington area) for the press conference. Our hope is that we will also be joined by leaders from some of our “major Muslim organizations” (i.e., CAIR, ISNA, ICNA, MAS, MPAC, etc), as this will be an opportunity for us to make a unified statement of concern and support for the Sudan and its people – particularly in light of the crisis in Darfur.
The objective will be threefold: (a) enlightened dialogue on the crisis in Sudan; (b) education for the community; (c) and a far more constructive engagement of African Americans on this issue than what we’ve seen thus far.

This conference is being sponsored by The Committee for Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation in the Sudan (a project of The Peace And Justice Foundation).[15]

2006 letter to Condoleezza Rice on Colombia

Alleged Colombian Army killings prompted Fellowship of Reconciliation to work with Representative Sam Farr to forge a response that would impact the 17th Brigade, the unit allegedly responsible for the violence against San José de Apartadó and communities throughout northwestern Colombia.

As a result, Reps. Sam Farr and Jim McGovern, wrote a letter to their colleagues in Congress urging them to join in calling on Secretary Condoleezza Rice to cut funding for the Colombian military.

Letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
(Deadline for Congressional representatives to sign: February 22)
We applaud the decision, noted in your certification letter of August 2005, that the US "will not consider providing assistance to the 17th Brigade until all significant human rights allegations involving the unit have been credibly addressed." Because the Brigade is a component of the Colombian Armed Forces' command structure and has been implicated in the above referenced human rights violations, we implore you to abide by both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law by withholding human rights certification for Colombia until the following conditions are met:

Signatories included Donald Payne.[16]

2009 letter on Colombia

From November 6th through December 7th 2009, a letter calling for change in U.S. policy towards Colombia was circulated through the House of Representatives. This letter called for a decrease in U.S. aid for Colombia's military and an increase in support for human rights and humanitarian efforts. The initiators of this letter were —Representatives James McGovern, Jan Schakowsky, Donald Payne, and Mike Honda.[17]

Dear Secretary of State Clinton,
The FY 2011 budget will contain the twelfth year of a major aid package to Colombia—an aid package originally slated to phase out after six years.
After eleven years, it is time to scale down assistance for Colombia's military and more systematically "Colombianize" such programs, within both the State Department and Defense Department budgets.

Haiti Bill

In 2009, Barbara Lee and 10 other members of the House of Representatives have introduced a bill requesting an investigation into the Bush administration’s role in the 2004 "destabilization campaign and invasion" of Haiti. The original proposed legislation, called the Truth Act, has been submitted annually to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs by Congressperson Lee.

Lee stated in 2004: “We do not teach people to overthrow our U.S. government, and the Bush administration must not participate in the overthrow of other democratically-elected governments. The United States must stand firm in its support of democracy and not allow a nascent democracy like Haiti to fall victim to the Bush administration’s apparent policy of regime change.”

“Regime change takes a variety of forms, and this looks like a blatant form of regime change to me,” Congressperson Lee told Noriega. The bill, now known as H.R. 331, could make the congressional calendar for review in 2009.

The bill’s co-sponsors included Corrine Brown (Fla.), Chaka Fattah (Pa.), Michael Honda (Calif.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.), Donald Payne (N.J.), Charles B. Rangel (N.Y.), Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) and Maxine Waters (Calif.).[18]

Voted against cutting funding for ACORN

In September 2009, following the lead of their Senate colleagues, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to cut off funds to ACORN. the vote was 345-75. All of the 75 were Democrats, and included Donald Payne. [19]

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" .[20]

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. [21] 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."[22]

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".[23]

International Year for People of African Descent

September 20, 2011, TransAfrica Forum hosted a series of conversations in celebration of the UN International Year for People of African Descent, Capitol Building Room SVC 212-10 Washington, DC.

Honorary Hosts Representatives Bobby Rush, Alcee Hastings, Andre Carson, Yvette Clarke, Barbara Lee, Donald Payne and Maxine Waters.

in coordination with the Congressional African Staff Association, Senate Black Legislative Staff Association, Congressional Muslim Staff Association, and Congressional Black Associates.

  • The State of the Black Diaspora
  • Positioning the Diaspora in a Global World
  • Foreign Policy and the 2012 Elections[24]

Haiti statement

On Wednesday, May 25, 2011, Rep. Donald Payne (NJ), Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY), Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL), and Rep. Maxine Waters (CA) made a joint statement in response to the eviction and destruction of camps on public property in the Delmas district of Port-au-Prince:

“On Monday, May 23, 2011, our offices were alarmed at the startling news that three camps of internally displaced persons in the Delmas neighborhood of Port-au-Prince were effectively destroyed. This included the park at the intersection of Delmas Road and Airport Road which was destroyed at the hands of the Haitian police, under direction of Mayor Wilson Jeudy. This camp is home to several hundred people and is a microcosm of the over 800,000 officially-recognized displaced persons in Haiti. It is even more disturbing that this incident occurred during the day while many Haitian women and men were out in search of employment. Those who stayed behind witnessed the destruction of their belongings while some were violently beaten with batons by police.[25]

Haiti Advocacy Working Group

In 2012, the Haiti Advocacy Working Group, Haitian social movements and Haitian Diaspora groups were working with the U.S. Congressional allies, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, to raise attention to the current status of Haiti’s reconstruction process at the 2 year commemoration marker.

From January 23-25, 2012, Haitians, HaitianAmericans and other Haitian development experts brought their voices to Capitol Hill.

HAWG allies advocated for a just reconstruction and development process in Haiti, one that prioritizes the needs of women, internally displaced persons, smallholder farmers, the urban poor, immigrants and other vulnerable Haitians, includes the full participation of Haitian grassroots groups and the Diaspora and holds the US government accountable for delivery of its commitments.


  • Noon-2pm: Rep. Yvette Clarke sponsoring and TransAfrica Forum hosting a viewing of a documentary, ‘Where did the money go?’, and follow-up briefing, on aid accountability, transparency and procurement.


  • 2-4pm: Rep.’s Lee, Wilson, Payne and Clarke co-sponsoring panel on Land and Housing.



The following are past and present staff:[27]

External links



  1. Official congressional bio, accessed August 16, 2011
  2. North Jersey Montclair Times "Montclair Democrats will honor Rep. Donald Payne at annual awards banquet," October 11, 2012
  3. Official congressional bio, accessed August 16, 2011
  4. Official congressional bio, accessed August 16, 2011
  5. CLW website: Meet Our Candidates
  6. By Shabazz, Malik, Robinson Begins Push for Democracy in Nigeria: TransAfrica Initiative Seeks a Return to Civilian Government Black Issues in Higher Education , Vol. 12, No. 4 , April 2, 1995
  7. Democratic Left, July/August 1996, page 21
  8. DSA website: Members of the Progressive Caucus (archived on the Web Archive website)
  9. Congressional Progressive Caucus website: Caucus Member List
  10. [1] The Job Creation and Infrastructure Restoration Act of 1997 (H.R. 950)From the New York State Communist Party 16 March 1997, email list, accessed June 14, 2010
  11. Dem. Left, Summer 2002
  12., Lee press release, September 3, 2003]
  13. Rep. Lee introduces universal health care bill, by: David Lawrence October 9 2003
  14. Green Left discussion Restricted Group, 990 members Letter from US Congress Members for extraditing Posada to Venezuela May 20, 2005
  16. FOR February 2006 Peace Presence Update
  17. Latin America Working Group, Get Your Representative to Sign a Letter Supporting Human Rights in Colombia
  18. WW, Thousands of Haitians demonstrate to demand Aristide’s return By Abayomi Azikiwe Published Mar 18, 2009
  19. [ American Thinker, September 18, 2009 The 75 Democrats who are pro-sex slave ACORN defenders By Ethel C. Fenig]
  20. Legistorm: Center for Democracy in the Americas - Sponsor of Congressional Travel (accessed on August 30, 2010)
  21. The Minnesota Independent: Ellison, McCollum and Oberstar urge Obama to lift Gaza blockade, Jan. 26, 2010 (accessed on March 14, 2011)
  22. JTA website: J Street sends first Mideast congressional mission, Feb. 15, 2010
  23. KeyWiki: JStreet
  24. [ FB African Descendants in the 21st Century: Race, Rights & Politics
  25. Outrage Over Camp Destructions by Haitian Police (TransAfrica Forum) TransAfrica Forum May 26, 2011
  26. HAWG, Haiti Earthquake 2-Year Commemoration Events
  27. Accessed 12/13/2011