U.S. Senator and former Newark Mayor Cory Booker announced this morning that he will run for president, challenging President Donald Trump in 2020 in an already crowded field of Democratic candidates.
The senator made his announcement on Twitter this morning, reaching out to his 4.11-million followers via a 2-minute and 26-second video, saying: “In America we have a common pain, but what we are lacking is a sense of common purpose … We are better when we help each other.”
In the video, Booker goes on to say: “I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind; where parents can put food on the table; where there are good-paying jobs with good benefits in every neighborhood; where our criminal justice system keeps us safe, instead of shuffling more children into cages and coffins; where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame.”
Booker spent the rest of the day conducting radio interviews and appearing on TV programs including ABC’s “The View.” At press-time, he was expected to hold a press conference in Newark.
His decision to run was anticipated. His travels around the country, visiting the early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, in support of Democratic candidates during the 2018 mid-term elections was seen as a preliminary move towards the White House bid.
Booker currently serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, a post in which he gained much publicity this past fall for opposing Supreme Court Justice Nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
In other initiatives, part of this past December’s criminal justice reform bill signed by President Trump included Booker’s top priority of offering alternatives to incarceration and shorter prison sentences to nonviolent drug offenders. In fact, the senator was an original co-sponsor of the bill, known as the First Step Act.
In a 2014 interview with New Jersey Business magazine, when he was seeking reelection for his first full term as US Senator, he spoke about his views on opportunity in America, recalling (what his father told him as a child: “This is a country where you can have free and equal access to make the best of yourself.” The second thing he recalled his father saying is that a booming economy helped the family move from poverty to prosperity. His parents were among the first African American executives at IBM.
Booker’s path in public service can be traced back to his college days when he served as senior class president at Stanford University. There, he received a bachelor’s degree in political science (1991) and a master’s degree in sociology (1992). He then attended The Queen’s College, University of Oxford in England, as a Rhodes Scholar, receiving a graduate degree in 1994. In 1997, he earned his Juris Doctor from Yale Law School, where he operated free legal clinics for low-income residents in New Haven.
He served on the Newark City Council from 1998-2002. In January of 2002, he announced his candidacy for Newark mayor, but lost the election to longtime incumbent, Sharpe James. In early 2006, he again announced his candidacy for mayor. James initially filed papers to run, but then dropped out of the race. Newark Deputy Mayor Ronald Rice was James’ replacement. Booker defeated him by garnering more than 72 percent of the vote … the largest landslide in Newark history.
During his rise in Newark politics, Booker was dubbed a “Rock Star Mayor” by Oprah Winfrey. He has earned this nomenclature by, among other things: persuading Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to donate $100 million to Newark’s school system in 2010; raising money in Silicon Valley, New York City and Los Angeles; and giving speeches at the 2012 and 2016 Democratic National Conventions.
Others called him “Superhero Mayor” as he once: ran into a burning building in Newark to save a woman (obtaining second degree burns to his hands); went on a 10-day hunger strike (as a Newark councilman in 1999) as a crusade against drug dealing; and, during his 2006 campaign for mayor, was the target of an assassination plot by Bloods gang leaders.
Today, Booker serves on the following Senate committees: Foreign Relations; Judiciary; Small Business and Entrepreneurship; and Environment and Public Works.
He is also the ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, the Senate panel responsible for overseeing Amtrak and passenger rail in the U.S.
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