Congressman Donald Payne Jr. Dies Weeks After Heart Attack

(Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fight Colorectal Cancer)

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Democratic New Jersey Rep. Donald Payne Jr. died at the age of 65 just weeks after suffering from a heart attack, the New Jersey governor announced.

Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy honored Payne’s embodiment of the “very best in public service” in a statement confirming his death Wednesday. He commemorated his work “to build a stronger and fairer New Jersey” throughout his 12 years in Congress.

“With his signature bowtie, big heart, and tenacious spirit, Donald embodied the very best of public service,” Murphy said in his statement. “As a former union worker and toll collector, he deeply understood the struggles our working families face, and he fought valiantly to serve their needs, every single day. That purpose was the light that guided him through his early years as Newark City Council President and during his tenure on the Essex County Board of Commissioners. And it guided him still through his more than a decade of service in Congress.”

Payne has represented New Jersey’s 10th District since 2012 after his father, who had represented the district since 1989, passed away, according to Payne’s congressional website. He served as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. (RELATED: Former Governor, Senator Dead At 89)

He also served on the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Energy Preparedness, Response, and Recovery, according to his website. He introduced two bills signed into law by former President Barack Obama, including the Department of Homeland Security Interoperable Communications Act of 2015, allowing DHS agents to communicate during an emergency.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries expressed his condolences over Payne’s passing.

“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,” Jeffries said.

A fellow congressperson, former Republican Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski, died in a car crash in August 2022 while she still served in Congress.