Donald Payne New Jersey

March 7, 2012 by staff 

Donald Payne New Jersey, U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, New Jersey’s first black congressman, died yesterday after a months-long battle with colon cancer. He was 77.

Payne represented the 10th Congressional District, which encompasses parts of Bayonne and Jersey City, in addition to portions of Union and Essex counties. First elected in 1988, he vowed to seek re-election this November, even after announcing he was undergoing cancer treatment.

Hudson County politicos mourned the passing of the elder statesmen of the state’s congressional delegation, calling him a tireless public servant, a champion for all people and, above all, a gentleman.

Payne’s efforts in the areas of health care, education and human rights will “succeed him for many years to come,” said U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, who represents the 13th Congressional District.

“He was a champion for all people and believed that everyone should have the chance to realize their potential to the fullest,” he said.

Payne was hospitalized at Georgetown University Hospital, but was flown back to New Jersey on Friday. After being transported to St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, he died at about 2:30 a.m.

U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman, representing the Ninth District, called Payne “a giant.”

“He was a true pioneer and champion for civil and human rights here at home and around the world,” Rothman said.

Payne, who lived in Newark, is survived by three children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Prior to his 1988 election to Congress, Payne was a school teacher, Prudential executive, Newark city councilman and Essex County freeholder.

The mayors of Jersey and Bayonne hailed Payne’s efforts representing his constituents in the 10th district. Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy said Payne was always willing to assist city officials when needed.

“He was a passionate advocate for his constituents, but he was also always a gentleman of the first order, which is something that becomes rarer and rarer as time goes on,” Healy said.

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