Democrat House Representative Donald Payne Dies at 65

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
April 24, 2024Congress
Democrat House Representative Donald Payne Dies at 65
Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-N.J.) speaks at a colorectal cancer awareness installation and rally on the National Mall to showcase the increasing number of cases in young adults in Washington on March 13, 2023. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fight Colorectal Cancer)

Six-term Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.) died at age 65, New Jersey’s governor confirmed Wednesday.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, confirmed Mr. Payne’s death in a statement, coming two weeks after he suffered a cardiac incident.

“Tammy and I are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of our friend, and a steadfast champion for the people of New Jersey, Congressman Donald Payne, Jr.,” the governor wrote.

No cause of death was given. His office in early April said that he suffered a “cardiac episode” related to complications from diabetes and has been in the hospital since then, according to a statement issued at the time.

“It was my great honor to work side-by-side with Donald to build a stronger and fairer New Jersey, and we will hold his memory close to our hearts as we build upon the Payne family’s deep legacy of service in advocating for the communities they served so dearly,” Mr. Murphy added in his statement.

He continued: “Donald’s love will live on in the homes of his neighbors in Newark, who now have access to safe drinking water, and in the good-paying jobs he helped create for his brothers and sisters in labor. And it will live on in his wife Beatrice, and their three children, Donald III, Jack, and Yvonne, who were the pride of his life. Our heartfelt prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

Mr. Payne had served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2013, representing the state’s 10th Congressional District. It covers portions of Essex, Hudson, and Union counties in North Jersey. He was on the House Committee on Homeland Security, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and was also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

His office last week said that Mr. Payne was taken to a local hospital for treatment, and at the time, said he “is recovering … as doctors conduct routine exams to monitor and observe his improvement.” It added, The Congressman’s prognosis is good and he is expected to make a full recovery.”

Local media reports, citing anonymous sources, had claimed that Mr. Payne suffered a heart attack and was since on a ventilator in the hospital. His office did not comment on those reports.

“Deeply saddened by the passing of Congressman Donald Payne Jr., a good friend, highly effective public servant and compassionate leader. My prayers and support are with the Payne family and his loved ones during this difficult time. May he forever Rest in Peace,” wrote House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) on social media on Wednesday.

“Very sad to hear the news about our colleague on the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Donald Payne, who tragically passed away today. My thoughts are with his family during this very difficult time,” wrote Rep. Josh Breechen (R-Okla.) on X.

After his death, Mr. Payne’s seat will be open, but it was reported that he is expected to face no opposition in the Democrat primary, and his name is still printed on the ballots that will go out in June. Mr. Murphy may have to call a special election for the seat or county committee members could pick his replacement, according to the New Jersey Globe newspaper.

Mr. Payne’s death will bring the total number of members in the lower congressional chamber to 430 members after four other House representatives resigned in the middle of the current session.

The Republican Party’s thin majority shrunk after former Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) left in late March and former Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) departed on April 20. Currently, there are now 218 Republicans and 212 Democrats.

Mr. Payne is survived by his wife Beatrice and their adult children: Donald III, Jack, and Yvonne.

From The Epoch Times

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