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article imageDemocratic Congressman Donald Payne dies after cancer battle

By Andrew Moran     Mar 6, 2012 in Politics
Jersey City - New Jersey Democratic Congressman Donald Payne has passed away at the age of 77. His aides say he died following a battle with colon cancer, which he announced last month when he was undergoing treatment.
Congressional sources have told the New Jersey Star Ledger that Donald Payne, the first African-American to be elected to congress from the Garden State, has died at the age of 77. Payne passed away early Tuesday morning in New Jersey following a fight with colon cancer.
According to House Democratic aides, Payne’s condition had deteriorated since he announced that he was undergoing treatment. He was hospitalized Friday at the Georgetown University Hospital and then transported later to New Jersey.
Payne will leave behind three children, four grandchildren and one great grandchild. He has served in Washington since 1989 where he represented New Jersey’s 10th District, which includes Elizabeth, Jersey City and Newark.
New Jersey Republican Governor will announce a special primary within the next two and a half months, which is then followed by a special by-election two and a half months later to determine who will succeed the longtime representative.
Payne was the former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Education and Workforce committee and head of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
“He was a key player in the passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which cuts interest rates on Stafford loans in half, increases Pell Grants and provides loan forgiveness to public service employees with student loan debt,” writes his congressional website. “He also introduced legislation designed to close the achievement gap, including the Expanded Learning Time Act, the Prescribe a Book Act, and the Youth Financial Education Act.
For more than 10 years, Payne has won his elections in landslide margins. Since 2002, he has secured between 84.5 percent and 99 percent of the vote.
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