A great friend of Africa and the Caribbean, Congressman Donald M. Payne [NJ-10], passed away on March 6, 2012 from complications caused by colon cancer. Rep. Payne, the first African-American Congressman to represent New Jersey, spent over two decades in the U.S. House of Representatives most notably serving in the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights, Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, and Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight. In addition, he was a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee. Rep. Payne is a past Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and was most recently Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.
Rep. Payne tirelessly fought for human rights and democracy worldwide with a special focus on Africa, and was deeply passionate about education reform. From his role as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, Congressman Payne worked to improve economic growth, boost development and attain a better quality of life for people around the world. Alongside, he strongly advocated for more focus to be placed on Caribbean and Latin American nations.
The Congressman’s commitment was highlighted by his voting record on the issues about which he was deeply passionate. He voted in support for the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Act II (HOPE II), as well as the African Growth and Opportunity Act. In addition, to boost economic development in the Caribbean region, Rep. Payne introduced legislation that would continue preferential access for ethanol from the Caribbean. While Africa and Latin America have lost a champion and committed advocate, Congressman Payne’s legacy will live on in the benefits the legislation he helped enact brought to people in need worldwide. We extend our condolences to the Payne family and his staff.