New Jersey Democrat Donald Payne Jr. was sworn in this afternoon, replacing his late father Donald Payne, who held his Newark-based congressional seat for more than 20 years before dying in office earlier this year.
Payne, a former Newark city councilman, won a special election on Nov. 6 to complete the rest of his father’s term and also was elected to a two-year term that begins in January.
He said his swearing-in was “bittersweet,” though he was looking forward to continuing his father’s work.
Payne is the last of four special election winners to be sworn in for the lame-duck session of Congress that will include deliberations on averting a combination of sweeping tax increases and spending cuts known as the “fiscal cliff.”
The others -- Suzan DelBene, a Washington state Democrat, Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, and Michigan Democrat David Curson -- were sworn in earlier this week. All but Curson also were elected to full two-year terms.
The elder Payne, New Jersey’s first black congressman, forged a reputation as an advocate for democracy in Africa during a 23-year career in Congress. He died March 6 from colon cancer. He was 77.
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