Congressman Donald Payne (D-NJ) died early this morning from colon cancer.
Representative Payne announced last month that he had been diagnosed with colon cancer but expected to make a full recovery. However, last week he took a sudden turn for the worse and was flown home to New Jersey where he was placed in hospice care at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. He was 77.
The first black member of Congress from New Jersey, Representative Payne served the 10th Congressional District for 23 years. He was planning to run for a twelfth term this year, vowing to run again only last month.
A strong champion for human rights in Africa, militants fired mortar shell at his plane as it left Mogadishu in 2009. He was the author of the Sudan Peace Act, which condemned genocide and helped bring famine relief to civilians starving in the Sudan.
He was also a tireless advocate for education, saying in 1991,
Education and training get you jobs. Jobs get you your housing, health care and other needs. It’s really the key to all the social problems of the district.
President Obama has ordered flags at the White House lowered to half staff. Governor Christie has ordered all flags in New Jersey lowered as well.
Fight Colorectal Cancer mourns the loss of Congressman Donald Payne and the nearly 140 Americans who will die of colon or rectal cancer today.