Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement today on the passing of Congressman Donald Payne of New Jersey:

“Congressman Donald Payne was an outspoken advocate for the civil liberties of all people. He worked tirelessly representing his constituents as the first African-American to serve from New Jersey and as the former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

“I was honored to serve with Congressman Payne during his time as the highest ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights where we worked together to find solutions to the global health challenges being tackled in Washington state such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic and better measures to treat and put a stop to widespread preventable diseases like tuberculosis and malaria. Don was a humanitarian and his commitment to improving the lives of those who were most in need will leave an indelible mark on our world.

“Congressman Payne will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”