2020 Election Profile: Payne, Sires Look to Return to Washington

Two of the more reliable Democratic congressional districts reside in North Jersey.

The 10th Congressional district has been in the hands of a Payne since 1988. Donald Payne, Jr., was first elected to Congress in November 2012 in both a special election and general election following the untimely death of his father, Donals, Sr. 

The congressman is a member of the on Homeland Security Committee, serving as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications as well as the Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency. 

In representing New Jersey’s 10th District, home to Newark Liberty International Airport, the New Jersey Transit Authority, and Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, Payne has emphasized increasing transportation security, water security, and emergency preparedness to make sure North Jersey is protected against terrorist threats.

Economic Issues

Payne believes that for America to succeed, the economy needs to grow. He has made it a top priority in Congress to support bills creating good-paying jobs and industries, supporting incentives for high-tech and green-tech businesses. To that end, the congressman wants continued investing in the U.S.’s aging transportation and infrastructure that he is convinced is vital to creating jobs to make America competitive in the 21st Century.

His opponent is Bayonne resident Jennifer Zinone, running for federal office for the first time.  Zinone believes her experience as reaching out to the community as a church council president and board member of Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the type of representative the 10th district needs.

Zinone Prioritizes Healthcare

Issues at the forefront for Zinone are healthcare and the economy. The GOP nominee believes her diagnosis of autoimmune uveitis gives her a unique perspective in tackling the issue. She decries Washington bureaucrats making decisions and not doctors. Zinone is supportive of some aspects of the Affordable Care Act, such as protecting pre-existing conditions and those with extend coverage for their children up to 26 years old, but states that the Affordable Care Act is overall too expensive.

In regard to the economy, she criticized Payne for the lack of  job creation and economic growth in the district before the coronavirus shut down the nation. Zinone said she will make it a priority to bring manufacturing jobs back to New Jersey as well as expand urban enterprise zones in local neighborhoods to help small businesses. 

Sires Sailing 

In the neighboring 8th Congressional district, Albio Sires is defending the office he has held since 2002. Sires serves on three Committees in the House of Representatives: Foreign Affairs, Transportation & Infrastructure, and Budget.  

On the Foreign Affairs Committee, Sires chairs the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee. He has focused on improving human rights and freedoms across the globe and building international partnerships to improve our nation’s security. 

Key to North Jersey, the congressman serves on two Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittees: the Highways and Transit Subcommittee as well as the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee. Sires helped reauthorize the Surface Transportation bill, and supports increased transit and commuting options, playing a key role in securing funding for the Portal North Bridge. 

Make Life Livable

Additionally, Sires is a member of the Democratic Caucus’ Livable Communities Task Force and the Congressional Urban Caucus, focusing on legislation to create safe and more livable communities in which families have equal access to education, economic, housing and transportation opportunities.

Looking forward, Sires said he is committed to expanding access to affordable healthcare by adding a true public option, expanding Medicaid eligibility and lowering the cost of prescription drugs and passing comprehensive immigration reform. He’s a sponsor of the DREAM Act bill to pave a path to citizenship to millions of children and young adults who know no other home but America. 

Sires is facing Republican attorney Jason Todd Mushnick in the general election. 

Attempts to contact Mushnick were unsuccessful and the candidate does not have a dedicated website for his campaign to see where he stands on the issues. 

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