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Congressman Donald Payne Jr., Passes Away At 65 After Hospitalization For Heart Attack


Congressman Donald M. Payne Jr. has passed away at the age of 65, following a heart attack that had left him hospitalized in a coma at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center for nearly three weeks.

As a six-term Democrat hailing from Newark, Payne represented the 10th Congressional District, encompassing segments of Essex, Hudson, and Union counties, since 2012, succeeding his late father, Donald Payne Sr. Fondly remembered by mourners as a dedicated advocate for working families, Mayor Ras Baraka noted Payne’s unwavering love for his hometown, ingrained in his very being.

Survived by his wife, Beatrice, and their triplets – Donald III, Jack, and Yvonne – Payne’s familial legacy in New Jersey politics is deeply rooted. His father, Donald Payne Sr., blazed trails as the first Black individual elected to Congress from New Jersey in 1988. Upon his passing in 2012, his son assumed his role after winning a special election to complete the remainder of his term.

During his tenure in Congress, Payne served on significant committees such as Homeland Security and Transportation and Infrastructure, along with various subcommittees, including railroads, pipelines, and hazardous materials, where he held a prominent position as ranking member. Prior to his congressional career, Payne contributed to public service as both a councilman and an Essex County freeholder.

In response to the news, Governor Phil Murphy and first lady Tammy Murphy expressed profound sadness, reflecting the sentiment echoed across the state.

“With his signature bowtie, big heart, and tenacious spirit, Donald embodied the very best of public service,” the governor said. “As a former union worker and toll collector, he deeply understood the struggles our working families face, and he fought valiantly to serve their needs, every single day. 

That purpose was the light that guided him through his early years as Newark City Council President and during his tenure on the Essex County Board of Commissioners. And it guided him still through his more than a decade of service in Congress.”

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