Image description
Michael Westwood
Noodle Expert Member

January 24, 2020

Meet Cory Anthony Booker, an American politician, the junior Senator of New Jersey since 2013, and one of your Democratic candidates for the 2020 Presidential Election. Booker held the pos

Meet Cory Anthony Booker, an American politician, the junior Senator of New Jersey since 2013, and one of your Democratic candidates for the 2020 Presidential Election. Booker held the position of Mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013 before becoming the first African-American Senator of the state.

Cory Booker attended Stanford University where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 1991 and his Master’s degree in Sociology in 1992. He studied abroad at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar before attending Yale Law School and graduating with his Juris Doctor in 1994. Post law school, Booker took an interest in local politics; he ran for Newark City Council and won. He held that position until 2002 after losing his first run for mayor. After that first lost, he put his efforts into establishing non profit organizations that were aimed to provide Newark residents with resources and services to improve their communities. He made headlines with nonprofits like Newark Now, which provided support, tools, and skills for residents to transform their neighborhoods. He also became known as an advocate for education reform. In 2006, Booker ran for mayor again and won, becoming the third consecutive African-American to hold the position.

On Friday, February 1, 2019, Cory Booker announced his candidacy for the 2020 Presidential Election. In his campaign video, Booker says, “The history of our nation is defined by collective action; by interwoven destinies of slaves and abolitionists; of those born here and those who chose America as home; of those who took up arms to defend our country, and those who linked arms to challenge and change it." In his campaign video, he gives reason as to why he is running for president and specifically the people he is running for.

As of today, the primary issues for Booker’s campaign are criminal justice reform, healthcare, the Green New Deal, education, social justice issues, and legalizing marijuana. With criminal justice reform, he has sought to craft bipartisan bills that would change the penalties for nonviolent crimes and reduce prison sentences. Toward the end of 2018, Congress passed a criminal justice reform act called The First Step Act that Booker sponsored. With The First Step Act, judges can hand out lighter sentences for those convicted of nonviolent drug crimes, the three strikes equals life imprisonment ideal is abolished, and juveniles will no longer face solitary confinement. During his time as mayor, there was a investigation launched by the Department of Justice against the Newark Police Department with accusations of brutality and intimidation. Booker welcomed it. He is a strong believer in free healthcare. He announced his support for Senator Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All Act in 2017 and announced it again after his presidential bid. He is also in favor of reducing the price of prescription drugs. The Green New Deal is one of Booker’s top three policy issues for his campaign. He recently signed to endorse the deal created by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Since his time as mayor, Booker has been a fighter for education reform. He is a strong champion of charter schools, while it is counter to the progressive democratic base, and continues this belief. He includes charter schools when he says that “[his] loyalty is to a free public school, high-quality public school education." Shortly after this, he announced on The Oprah Winfrey Show that Mark Zuckerberg is donating $100 million to Newark’s failing school system. Social justice issues and legalizing marijuana are his last two issues. He is a strong defender of women’s rights and favors same-sex marriage. He presided over the first same-sex marriage in New Jersey after his Senate election in 2013. Booker also challenged Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over their views on gay rights. In 2017, he introduced legislation that would have legalized marijuana and cleared federal marijuana convictions from criminal records. Even though the bill did not pass then, he announced his current support for legalizing marijuana this past February.

“The lines that divide us are nowhere near as strong as the ties that bind us. When we join together and work together — we will rise together" he says. Cory Booker is ready to unite America.