Roll Call New Member Profiles: 113th Congress
- Election: Defeated Brian C. Kelemen, R, to succeed Rep. Donald M. Payne, D, who died
- Residence: Newark
- Born: Dec. 16, 1958; Newark, N.J.
- Religion: Baptist
- Family: Wife, Bea Payne; three children
- Education: Kean College, attended 1976-78
- Career: County education transportation director; state highway toll collector; computer forms company manager
- Political highlights: Essex County Board of Freeholders, 2006-present; Newark Municipal Council, 2006-present (president, 2010-present)
Donald M. Payne Jr., D-N.J.
Payne takes over for his father, Donald M. Payne, who died in March after serving two decades in the House. The son promises to be as reliably liberal as his father.
Payne, closely tied to his districts needs as president of the Newark City Council, is pledging to challenge conservative Republicans on a variety of fronts and says his top priority is to address the economy, particularly in his region. Newark scored a coup under his watch when Panasonic decided to relocate its U.S. headquarters from Secaucus to the city, where the company is building a $200 million office tower.
Payne wants to see Congress pass another stimulus bill and increase spending on roads, bridges and other infrastructure. "Ill fight to bring back jobs for our teachers, infrastructure jobs for our workers, and investment and incentives for our high-tech and green-tech businesses," he says. "I will make a real impact on our local economy."
He also has pledged to defend abortion rights, support the 2010 health care overhaul law and work to end the education program known as No Child Left Behind, which he says punishes public schools that cant meet what he calls unrealistic standards. He wants to increase Pell grants by 20 percent. Payne could seek an assignment to the Education and the Workforce Committee, where his father served before passing.