As a Newark native, the Honorable Donald M. Payne, Jr., has worked as a tireless advocate for New Jersey’s working families for over two decades, fighting to create jobs, increase health and economic security, and invest in education. Congressman Payne, Jr., was first elected to Congress in November 2012 in both a special election and general election following the untimely death of his father, respected former Congressman Donald M. Payne, Sr., who represented New Jersey’s 10th District for twenty-three years. Congressman Payne, Jr., thus served out the remainder of his father’s term in the 112th Congress, fighting to provide the people of New Jersey with much needed Hurricane Sandy Relief and negotiating to prevent the country from going over the fiscal cliff.
In the 113th Congress, job creation and security are at the forefront of Congressman Payne’s agenda. Congressman Payne, Jr., is a member of the Committee on Homeland Security where he serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications as well as the Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency. In representing New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District, which is home to Newark Liberty International Airport, the New Jersey Transit Authority, and Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, Congressman Payne fights to increase transportation security, water security, chemical hazard prevention, and emergency preparedness to ensure that the people of New Jersey are protected against terrorist threats, that New Jersey has the tools to rebuild stronger than before Hurricane Sandy, and that businesses that conduct trade at our ports have the security and efficiency they need to effectively engage in commerce.
In addition, Payne serves on the Committee on Small Business where he works to expand access to capital for small business owners and increase jobs training so that our workers have the high skills to compete in an advancing global economy. Also, as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), where his father once proudly served as chairman, Payne is a tireless advocate for providing our children with quality education, stabilizing our housing market, reducing racial and ethnic health disparities, and creating a just and fair immigration system. Moreover, as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus Justice Reform Task Force, Payne is working to protect our communities from gun violence and prevent guns from getting into the hands of criminals.
Prior to Congress, Payne served as Newark Municipal Council President and Essex County Freeholder-at-Large. As Newark Municipal Council President, Payne was instrumental in brokering a deal that brought Panasonic’s North American Headquarters to Newark where the company is building a $200 million office tower and is expected to create 1,000 permanent jobs.
As a leader of Newark’s South Ward for more than twenty years, where he also worked as director of student transportation for the Essex County Educational Services Commission, Payne believes that education is one of the best economic investments we can make, and during his time as a council member, Payne was instrumental in helping to acquire funding for an educational leadership program, Embracing Arms, and an after school academic-athletic program, Above the Rim.
Payne made it his mission to improve the lives of the people of Newark, strongly supporting Planned Parenthood and developing Senior Social – a program that connects local seniors with life-saving services. Every year, Payne sponsors the March of Dimes’ “March for Babies,” and his Preserve Our Legacy program aims to increase awareness surrounding the benefits of stem cell research. In addition, Payne has worked closely with the Greater Newark Conservancy and partnered with Newark-based Innovation Fuels to reduce the city’s carbon footprint. And Payne has made preserving the arts a personal mission of his serving as a member of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center Board and the Board of Aljira. Payne is steadfast in his commitment to carrying on these same values as a Member of Congress to promote the health, education, safety, and economic security of New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District.
Payne began his long career in public service when he founded Newark South Ward Junior Democrats, becoming its first president. Payne later attended Kean College (now Kean University) where he studied graphic arts and served as an advisor to the YMCA Youth in Government program.
Born December 17, 1958, Payne lives in Newark with his wife Beatrice where they raise their 13-year-old triplets, Donald III, Jack, and Yvonne.