WASHINGTON, D.C.–Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, (D-NY) of the Sixth Congressional District released the following statement on the passing Congressman Donald Payne:

“I am deeply saddened by the news that Congressman Donald Payne, my dear colleague and great personal friend, has died. For the entire 14 years I have been a Member of Congress, I served with Rep. Payne on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as for a time on its Africa Subcommittee. Rep. Payne mentored me on many foreign policy issues. I admired his profound commitment to world peace, international institutions, multilateral cooperation, and especially the duty he felt that wealthier nations have to assist lesser-developed nations.

“Rep. Payne was particularly concerned with issues of hunger, poverty, HIV-AIDS, and civil conflict in Africa. He was an ardent advocate of increased but targeted aid to the African continent.

“Donald devoted his 23 year tenure to improving the prospects and prosperity of his 10th Congressional District. And during the period in which he was chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and a board member of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), he consistently in that gentle, understated way of his put the interests of the whole ahead of the interests of individuals.

“Rep. Donald Payne will be missed. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family – the children, grandchildren, and great grandchild in whom he had so much pride – and his constituents and many friends.” [End]