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State Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D-Newark). (Photo: Office of Senator Rice.)

Rice wants Payne, Watson Coleman districts preserved

By Nikita Biryukov, May 06 2021 1:44 pm

State Sen. Ron Rice (D-Newark) said he and his allies would move to preserve the districts of New Jersey’s two black members of Congress.

“We’re going to fight to protect his district, and we’re going to fight to protect Bonnie Watson Coleman’s district,” said Rice, referring to Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark).

The senator said he believed Payne had served his heavily Democratic district well and worried that, were its lines to be redrawn, Payne could be replaced by someone beholden to party leaders with less independence and fewer ties to the predominantly black 10th congressional district.

“Other folks want to force those changes,” he said. “When they go to get minority participation, meaning the quote-unquote white Democratic Party members in those very districts, we want to identify blacks that they can dictate to, push around and control.”

Payne has served in Congress since the 2012 death of his father, Rep. Donald Payne Sr. (D-Newark). The district is the state’s most heavily Democratic, regularly delivering victories win margins in excess of 70 points.

“We don’t need changes right now from my perspective, Rice said. If you want to talk black and white leadership, we don’t need changes in what we have in Essex, per se, or other areas of the state.”

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