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Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex/Morris) issued the following statement Tuesday on the passing of U.S. Congressman Donald M. Payne who represented her home district throughout his entire congressional career:

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Congressman Payne and my sincerest sympathies go out to his entire family.

“His contributions to others reached every level imaginable. He was a tried and true son of Essex County, but his public service had a lasting impact on the residents of New Jersey, the citizens of the United States and countless others around the world.

“His early career as an educator helped him understand, as he would often say, that education is the key to success. What I was struck most by was his deep and abiding belief in the power of education to change lives.

“Congressman Payne was a transformative figure and he will be sorely missed.”