Senator Menendez Remembers Congressman Donald Payne On The First Anniversary Of His Passing
By Mel Fabrikant Thursday, March 07, 2013, 03:07 PM EST
Menendez honors legacy of barrier-breaking New Jersey Congressman
. Senator Robert Menendez today released the following statement in observance of the first anniversary of the passing of U.S. Rep. Donald Payne.
“Perhaps one of the reasons why it may be hard to believe that a year has passed since we lost Congressman Donald Payne is that we still feel his loss so profoundly. Being the ‘great convener’ that he was, Donald Payne had the ability to bring people of disparate beliefs together to work for the greater good of everyone. His was a voice of reason in a Congress that was too often paralyzed by partisanship. Often called a barrier-breaker as the first African-American elected to Congress from New Jersey, Congressman Payne sought to break barriers for others – most notably the barriers of poverty, disease, and ignorance that affected people through the nation and all over the world.
A year ago today, I stood on the floor of the United States Senate to remember my colleague and my friend. While we still miss Congressman Payne, we continue to benefit from his great legacy. He affected the lives of countless students he impacted – either as a teacher or a lawmaker who helped make higher education more affordable – and that has made for a better New Jersey and a better United States. As an impassioned fighter on global health issues, Congressman Payne sought to help the great numbers of those afflicted with malaria and other diseases, and that has made for a better world. His service on the House Foreign Relations Committee has inspired on my work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But of all of his many accomplishments, I know that Congressman Payne was most proud of his children; Wanda, a school teacher, Nicole, a school administrator, and Donald, Jr., who serves the people of New Jersey in the Congressional seat formerly held by his father.”