WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Howard L. Berman, the top Democrat of the House Foreign Affairs Committee issued the following statement upon learning of the passing of his friend and fellow House Foreign Affairs Committee colleague U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne. The statement follows:

“Today we have all lost a champion for the underserved, a voice for the downtrodden, a leader for peoples and causes that are too often neglected. With wisdom and charm, insight and steadfastness, Don Payne distinguished himself as a leader on many important issues, but particularly related to Africa. Presidents, Prime Ministers, and many of his colleagues in Congress followed Don’s lead and sought out his counsel, for his word on these topics was, often times, the only word. I have lost a teacher and dear friend. My wife Janis and our family mourn alongside Don’s children, grandchildren and extended family. A bright light has been extinguished, but we who care about the issues Don lived for will carry on his legacy.”