today in black history

April 18, 2024

Hampton University (Institute) was founded on this date in 1868 in Virginia to educate newly emancipated Blacks.

Rep. Donald Payne

POSTED: September 07, 2008, 7:05 am

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Hon. Donald M. Payne
New Jersey, 10th District
U.S. House of Representatives
2209 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Ph: 202-225-3436
Fx: 202-225-4160

50 Walnut Street
Suite 1016
Newark, NJ 07102
Ph: 973-645-3213
Fx: 973-645-5902

333 North Broad Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07208
Ph: 908-629-0222
Fx: 908-629-0221

Chief of Staff

Kerry McKenney
253 Martin Luther King Drive
Jersey City, NJ 07305
Ph: 201-369-0392
Fx: 201-369-0395

Donald M. Payne, a native of Newark, New Jersey, was elected to represent the 10th Congressional District of New Jersey in 1988 as New Jersey's first African American Congressman by an overwhelming majority and has been returned by a wide margin of the vote in each subsequent election. In 2006, he won election to his tenth term to represent the 10th District in the historic 110th Congress.

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A past Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, he is a member of the Democratic Whip Organization and has served as a member of the House Democratic Leadership Advisory Group. He formerly served on the powerful Democratic Steering Committee, whose membership determines each individual committee assignment for Democratic members and plays an active role in shaping the legislative agenda.

Through his efforts in Washington, several million dollars for economic development and other key programs have been allocated to Essex, Hudson and Union Counties in his Congressional District.

In 2003, President Bush appointed Payne as one of two members of Congress to serve as a Congressional delegate to the United Nations and reappointed him in 2005 to an unprecedented second term. In this role, he has met with the U.N. Secretary General, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. and regularly attended sessions of the U.N. General Assembly and other high level meetings.

He is a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, where he serves on two subcommittees - the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, which has jurisdiction over the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. As a leading advocate of education, he has been instrumental in the passage of key legislation, including the Goals 2000 initiative to improve elementary and secondary schools; the School-to-Work Opportunities Act; the National Service Act, establishment of the National Literacy Institute; and funding for Head Start, Pell Grants, Summer Jobs and Student Loans.

He is also a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, where he serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health and as a member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere and the Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight. Congressman Payne has been at the forefront of efforts to restore democracy and human rights in nations throughout the globe. He was one of five members of Congress chosen to accompany President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton on their historic six-nation tour of Africa. He also headed a Presidential mission to war-torn Rwanda to help find solutions to that country's political and humanitarian crises. In addition, he was recognized as having the most supportive record in Congress on issues involving the Northern Ireland peace process.

Congressman Payne joined with his colleagues on the International Relations Committee to introduce a measure which was subsequently approved by Congress to strengthen the Microenterprise Act, providing small business loans to people in developing nations. The law contains language that directs at least half of the loans towards the poorest people - those who subsist on less than $1 a day. He was successful in winning passage of a resolution declaring genocide in Darfur, Sudan. The measure was the culmination of more than two years' work by many churches, religious organizations, anti-slavery groups, and resettled Sudanese through broad grass-roots support. His involvement in Africa led him to meet with Darfur refugees at the camps in Chad, where he heard many of their stories first-hand. Congressman Payne also gained national recognition when he was selected to manage the debate on the floor of the House of Representatives in opposition to the use of force in Iraq before fully exploring a diplomatic solution.

Before being elected to serve as New Jersey's first African American Congressman, his career included service on the Newark Municipal Council; the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders; as an executive of the Prudential Insurance Company; Vice President of Urban Data Systems, Inc. and an educator in the Newark public school system. A former national President of the YMCA, he served as Chairman of the World Refugee and Rehabilitation Committee. He has served on the board of directors of the National Endowment for Democracy, TransAfrica, Discovery Channel Global Education Fund, the Congressional Award Foundation, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newark, the Newark Day Center, the Fighting Back Initiative and the Newark YMCA. He has received numerous awards and honors from national, international and community-based organizations, including the Visionaries Award bestowed by the Africa Society and the prestigious Democracy Service Medal, which was previously awarded to Lech Walesa, the former Polish President and founder of the Solidarity movement, by the National Endowment for Democracy.

A graduate of Seton Hall University, he pursued graduate studies at Springfield College in Massachusetts. He holds honorary doctorates from Chicago State University, Drew University, Essex County College and William Paterson University. Congressman Payne, a widower, is the father of 3 and grandfather of 4.

Source: U.S. House of Representatives

The 10th Congressional District is primarily in Essex County and includes most of Newark, New Jersey’s largest city, neighboring Irvington and the Oranges, parts of suburban Montclair, and the cities of Elizabeth, Rahway and Linden in neighboring Union County. The district also includes the Black neighborhoods of Jersey City. Blacks are 57 percent of the district, whites 21 percent and Latinos 15 percent. The poverty rate is 18 percent and the median income is $38,000.


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