Home>Campaigns>After unanimous vote, N.J. Working Families Party supports Payne for re-election

Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-Newark). (Photo: Rep. Donald Payne.)

After unanimous vote, N.J. Working Families Party supports Payne for re-election

Democratic congressman has run the table on key progressive endorsements in bid to keep seat he’s held for 10 years

By David Wildstein, May 19 2022 1:29 pm

The New Jersey Working Families Party has endorsed Rep. Donald Payne (D-Newark) for re-election in the 10th district, saying he is supportive of their core policies “and has been for years.”

The vote in support of Payne over Democratic primary challenge Imani Oakley was unanimous.  Oakley had served as the legislative director for N.J. Working Families for several months in 2019 and 2020.

“Congressman Payne has proven to be a powerful voice on behalf of low-wage workers in New Jersey’s burgeoning warehouse and logistics sector,” said Lorenza Garcia of Make the Road Action New Jersey.  “Immigrant workers in these industries need a strong voice to stand up on their behalf against powerful corporate interests seeking to keep pay and benefits stingy and working conditions poor.”

The endorsement follows others Oakley worked for — U.S. Senator Cory Booker and Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake (D-East Orange) — taking Payne’s side in the June 7 Democratic primary.  Oakley was employed by Booker and Timberlake for only short periods of time.

“His record has long been indisputably progressive,” said Sue Altman, the NJ Working Families state director.  He is a co-sponsor of Medicare for All, was one of only two Members of Congress from NJ who were on the Green New Deal-derived, pro-environment, pro-labor Thrive Agenda, he was a major advocate behind the scenes in garnering support for Build Back Better (while other Democratic Congressmen from NJ were torpedoing it) and he is a vocal supporter of Reparations campaigns in NJ and was an original sponsor of H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparations.”

Other leaders  of the New Jersey progressive movement who are board members of Working Families Party also praised Payne.

BlueWave New Jersey president Marcia Marley called Payne “a strong progressive voice for New Jersey and his district in Congress,” and Communications Workers of America (CWA) state director Fran Ehret called him a “a proven champion for workers and organized labor.”

“We were proud to cast a vote to endorse Rep. Donald Payne on behalf of New Jersey Working Families,” said Anthony Mitchell, the CWA Local 1037 political director. “During his time in office, the congressman has been a staunch supporter of working families and stood on the side of labor.”

Mara Novak and Leslie Bockol, the co-executive directors of NJ 11th for Change, which has grown into an influential grass roots group across North Jersey, said that Payne was responsive, transparent, and accountable, and demonstrate their willingness to work with constituents to make NJ fairer and more inclusive.”
Payne has already received endorsements from the CWA,  the New Jersey Education Association, and 32BJ SEIU, and the state’s largest nurses’ union, the Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE).

NJEA President Sean Spiller said that Payne “shares our commitment to supporting the families who rely on New Jersey’s best-in-the-nation public schools.”

“The best way to overcome injustice and economic inequality is to invest in public education, and we know that he will be a fierce advocate for New Jersey’s students and educators,” said Spiller, who is also mayor of Oakley’s hometown, Montclair.

32BJ SEIU President Kevin Brown, whose union represents building service workers in Newark and throughout the 10th district, said that Payne’s re-election would them to work “in service of labor rights and economic equality.”

“Congressman Payne has been a longtime advocate for these same principles in Washington, where he has worked to enhance collective bargaining rights and expand healthcare access, while also being a vocal supporter for workers attempting to unionize,” said Brown.

CWA Local 1032 president Mickey Santiago said that Payne has “always supported our members whether helping find health insurance for our families or legislatively, forcefully speaking out about the Amazon airport expansion protects our members in their jobs and communities.”

Altman said that Payne’s “politics are personal.”

“As someone with chronic health conditions himself, he has been an advocate for people with diabetes, winning high-profile awards from the National Kidney Foundation for his advocacy on this diabetes, which is far too rampant in our most vulnerable communities,” she said.

Payne, the overwhelming front-runner to win renomination in one of the nation’s most staunchly Democratic House districts, praised the work of N.J. Working Families.

“Their tireless work to elect candidates who will be true advocates for our communities is unparalleled,” stated Payne. “I am committed to continuing to work alongside them in Washington to pass legislation to advance key progressive priorities such as protecting our environment, securing reproductive rights, and ensuring that our economy works for everyone and not just a select few.”

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