Lawmaker Profile

Rep. Donald Payne

[D, NJ-10]
Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. is a Democratic congressman representing New Jersey's 10th Congressional District. A Newark native, he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2012, and is now serving in his third full term. Congressman Payne, Jr. is a tireless fighter for New Jersey families, working to create jobs and grow the economy, protect and invest in our children, and ensure the health and safety of our communities.

As Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, Congressman Payne, Jr. has built a record of achievement in a divided Congress. He introduced two bills that were signed into Public Law by President Barack Obama, including the Department of Homeland Security Interoperable Communications Act of 2015, which ensures that DHS personnel can reliably communicate during emergencies. He also introduced six bills that passed the U.S. House- the First Responder Access to Innovative Technologies Act (2016, 2017), the State and High-Risk Urban Area Working Group Act, the Partners for Aviation Security Act, the State Wide Interoperable Communications Enhancement Act, and the Department of Homeland Security Interoperable Communications Act of 2014. Additionally, Congressman Payne, Jr. passed the language of his SMART Grid Study Act through the U.S. House as part of a larger appropriations bill.

In 2017, Congressman Payne, Jr. was appointed to the powerful House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for the 115th Congress. The Committee has jurisdiction over national infrastructure and all modes of transportation, including aviation and mass transit.

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, Jr. fights to increase transportation security, water security, chemical hazard prevention, and emergency preparedness to make sure that New Jerseyans are protected and that businesses that conduct trade at our ports have the security and efficiency they need to effectively engage in commerce. Congressman Payne, Jr. also successfully fought for a much-needed $51 billion Hurricane Sandy relief package, and is working closely with federal officials to ensure the funds are delivered to the families and small business owners who need them most.

A strong advocate for investing in and protecting the health of our children, Congressman Payne, Jr. introduced the TEST for Lead Act to protect children from lead-contaminated drinking water in schools. He also introduced the Promise Neighborhoods Act of 2015, which encourages a holistic community-based approach to educating children in distressed neighborhoods, as well as the SAFE in Our Schools Act of 2013 to better protect children and students in the event of emergencies. Congressman Payne, Jr. also fights for equal opportunities for foster care youth and students with disabilities, and he supports increased funding for Head Start and tuition-free community college for certain students.

Congressman Payne, Jr. is a leader in protecting and expanding access to affordable, quality health care for New Jerseyans. He is the lead Democratic co-sponsor of the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, bipartisan legislation that would remove financial barriers to life-saving colorectal cancer screenings and treatment for Medicare beneficiaries. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Men's Health Caucus, he promotes efforts to improve the health and well-being of men, boys, and their families. Congressman Payne, Jr. also fights to raise awareness about the importance of preventive care and to help reduce health disparities across diseases, from cancer to diabetes.

Congressman Payne, Jr. is a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, which provides thousands of New Jerseyans with access to high-quality, affordable health care. He is also a vocal advocate for cancer prevention, introducing the National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month Resolution to raise awareness about the importance of regular cancer screenings.  Additionally, for three consecutive years, Congressman Payne, Jr. secured from President Obama a presidential proclamation designating March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Congressman Payne, Jr. fights to expand access to capital for small business owners and increase job training. 

A member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Payne, Jr. fights for civil rights, justice, and equality for all Americans. He is a proud co-sponsor of the Voter Empowerment Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.

Additionally, Congressman Payne, Jr. is a strong advocate for common-sense gun safety reform. 

Prior to Congress, Congressman Payne, Jr. served as Newark Municipal Council President and Essex County Freeholder-at-Large. 

Congressman Payne, Jr. also served as director of student transportation for the Essex County Educational Services Commission. 

Congressman Payne, Jr. has made preserving the arts a personal mission. He served as a member of the Board of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and serves on the Board of Aljira. He also created Newark Idol, a program that supports young performing artists. Congressman Payne, Jr. sponsors the  March of Dimes' "March for Babies" and his Preserve Our Legacy program increases awareness surrounding the benefits of stem cell research.

Congressman Payne, Jr. began his long career in public service when he founded Newark South Ward Junior Democrats, becoming its first president. He also served as an adviser to the YMCA Youth in Government program. He attended Kean College where he studied graphic arts.

Congressman Payne, Jr. lives in Newark with his wife Beatrice and their 18-year-old triplets, Donald III, Jack, and Yvonne.