He was also one of the first Members of Congress to call attention to the genocide in Darfur and played an important role in the creation of South Sudan. He embodied America’s best values as he worked tirelessly on behalf of the most vulnerable, even risking his life to go to Mogadishu in 2009 where Al Shabaab fired mortars at the airport as his plane was taking off.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time. I am fortunate to have had the honor of serving with Rep. Payne, and while we served across the aisle from one another, we found common ground in our shared passion for Africa and I admired him a great deal. He will be sorely missed, but always remembered as an American patriot.