Verona’s Congressman Dies


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Congressman Donald Payne Jr.

Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr., who has represented Verona since 2022, has died, aged 65. Payne represented the 10th Congressional District since 2012 following the death of his father, Rep. Donald M. Payne, Sr. Verona was redistricted into the 10th Congressional District from the 11th, where it had been represented by Rep. Mikie Sherrill.

“I am heartbroken to lose my friend, Congressman Donald Payne,” Sherrill said in a statement. “He was a model public servant, who from a young age strove to make New Jersey a better place for everyone. There is no question his commitment to strengthening public education and expanding access to health care changed people’s lives. The advice, encouragement, and support Donald offered me when I first entered politics sticks with me to this day. Donald was someone who went out of his way to make others feel welcomed and heard. He was one of a kind. I will miss him dearly. It was an honor, for many years, to call him my congressman. May he rest in peace. My heart is with his family and all who loved him.”

Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. was hospitalized on April 6, with what his office described at the time as a “cardiac episode.” His staff said today that, while being treated, he “faced medical complications due to diabetes and high blood pressure that led to subsequent cardiorespiratory arrest. Despite the dedicated efforts of the medical staff to treat him and improve his health, they were unable to prevent his passing unfortunately.” The congressman leaves behind his wife, Beatrice, and their triplets.

The Verona Democratic Committee issued a statement today, signed by Councilwoman Christine McGrath. “The entire Verona Democratic Committee is deeply saddened by the passing of Congressman Payne,” it said. “He was remembered by our Committee members for being a nice and caring individual, a fierce advocate for Democratic issues and policies, and a great representative in Congress for Verona residents. We send our deepest condolences to his family and staff during this difficult time. May his memory be a blessing.”

Payne had served as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials for the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. He also served on the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Outside of his committee work, Payne worked on health care issues. His bill, Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, provided full Medicare coverage to patients who have cancerous polyps removed during routine colonoscopies and it was signed into law in 2020. As a diabetic, Payne fought to lower the price of insulin and improve treatments for Americans with diabetes and kidney-related diseases. He founded the Congressional Men’s Health Caucus to increase awareness of men’s health care and the Congressional PAD Caucus to increase awareness of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), a condition that could lead to limb amputation.

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