Cory Booker on Principles & Values
Even those with no religion are entitled to rights
Our nation was not founded because we all looked alike, or prayed alike, or descended from the same family tree. But our founders, in this, the oldest constitutional democracy, put forth on this earth the idea that all are created
equal; that we all have inalienable rights.
And upon this faithful foundation we built a great nation, and today, no matter who you are--rich or poor,
Asian or white, man or woman, gay or straight, any religion or none at all--you are entitled to the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
Our founders put forth a Declaration of Independence, but also made a historic declaration of interdependence. They knew that if this country was to survive, we had to make an unusual and extraordinary commitment to one another.
Source: 2016 Democratic National Convention speech
, Jul 26, 2016
Raised in only black family in segregated neighborhood
My father began searching for homes and found that real estate agents kept directing him to the same few neighborhoods in Bergen County that had significant black populations. This injustice angered both of my parents, and they sought legal help.
They were referred to the Fair Housing Council. With the council involved, they began to see homes in predominantly white towns around Bergen County.
For the houses that my parents did like, they would be told that the homes had already been sold.
So the Fair Housing Council decided to begin to send out white "test couples" to see if indeed the homes were sold or off the market. They weren't.
[Their lawyer], having been part of sting operations like this before, informed the real
estate agent that he was in violation of NJ state law and his real estate license was at risk. The Bookers, he explained, would be purchasing the home. We moved into Harrington Park and became four raisins in a tub of sweet vanilla ice cream.
Source: United, by Senator Cory Booker, p. 18-20
, Feb 16, 2016
After law school, worked with non-profits for city kids
At Stanford, my goals were similar to those I had in high school: play varsity, get A's, and be deeply involved in public service. College led to a master's degree, which led to a Rhodes Scholarship, which led to law school. Every step of the way,
I had whiteboards up in my bedroom or dorm room with my goals written out. I woke up and went to bed determined and focused. There is a blessing, a gift in knowing where you are going and what your goals are, to have a feeling every morning that you
are waking up with a definiteness of purpose.
Yet in my first year of law school, my bright vision for the future suddenly went dark. My experiences working with kids, engaging with nonprofits, and serving in cities had sparked a powerful drive to
dedicate myself to working in these areas.
I couldn't articulate exactly what I intended to do about them. I was ambition without focus; I had passion to make a difference but no plan for how to do so.
Source: United, by Senator Cory Booker, p. 23
, Feb 16, 2016
Father raised in 1930s colored funeral home
My father was raised in the funeral home business. He had been born in 1936 to a single mother with health problems so severe, she couldn't care for him. In the earliest years of his life, he was cared for primarily by his elderly grandmother,
but when it became clear that even she could no longer provide for him, they gave him up to live with James and Eva Pilgrim. Eva was an elementary school teacher, and James owned a local funeral home.
Pilgrim's Funeral Home was known back then as the colored funeral home, because white funeral homes didn't tend to black bodies.
My father taught me early in my life that attitude is a conscious choice;
it is a currency available even to those with no access to money. If the world punches you in the gut, that doesn't define you; it's what you do next that speaks your truth. My father's truth was relentless positivity.
Source: United, by Senator Cory Booker, p. 87-8
, Feb 16, 2016
First African-American senator from New Jersey
Democrat Cory Booker was sworn into the Senate on Thursday, becoming the first African-American senator from New Jersey and the first African-American elected to the Senate since Illinois sent Barack Obama to Congress in 2004. New Jersey is now the first
state to be represented by a black senator and a Latino senator--Sen. Robert Menendez is Cuban-American--at the same time. Slightly more than 42 percent of New Jersey's population is black and Latino.
"That's kind of incredible,"
Booker said. "New Jersey is a special kind of place." Booker said that to New Jersey's credit, race was never an issue in his campaign.
Booker will serve out the remainder of the late Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg's term, which ends in January 2015.
Booker will serve on three Senate committees: Commerce, Science and Transportation; Small Business and Entrepreneurship; and Environment and Public Works. Two of his assignments--commerce and environment--also were committee assignments for Lautenberg.
Source: TheDailyJournal.com coverage of 2014 New Jersey Senate race
, Oct 31, 2013
Money to cities is ok: we're one state with one destiny
Lonegan said, "You may not be able to swim in the Passaic river, but it's probably because of all the bodies floating around of shooting victims in your city."
"Oh my God," Booker said.
In another exchange, Lonegan said the state has poured countless
dollars "into a big black hole in Newark."
Booker called Lonegan's tone "insulting" and, in a theme he repeated throughout the debate, said Lonegan needed to stop "talking down to New Jersey's cities."
"We're one state with one destiny," Booker said
Source: Newark Star-Ledger coverage of 2013 N.J. Senate debate
, Oct 9, 2013
Vegetarian, non-smoker, non-drinker, but over-eater
Booker doesn't drink, let alone smoke. Vegetarian overeating is his only vice, and he fights a constant battle with his weight. After a long day, he says, his bad habit would be to turn on Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, eat a whole
pizza, "and then do some ice cream." With encouragement from his Twitter friends, he lost 30 pounds in early 2011, only to gain them back with interest.
This summer, he tipped the scales at 309 before being horrified by news photographs of his own jowly face--and receiving stern advice from his friend Mike Bloomberg to "cut it out." Since then, he has dropped 40 pounds, with the goal of losing 30 more.
Source: Vogue magazine profile, "Local Hero Cory Booker"
, Dec 19, 2012
Grew up in Harrington Park; commuted from Newark to Yale
In 1996 a former Rhodes Scholar and Yale law student named Cory Booker decided to move to Newark. Booker, who had grown up 20 miles north of Newark in Harrington Park, NJ, missed living in NJ and wanted to go home,
even though his parents were now splitting their time between Washington DC and Atlanta.
Booker planned on pursuing a career in public service (though not politics), so Newark was an attractive city.
He soon found lodging in a rooming house and began commuting from Newark to New Haven to complete law school. He also started participating in a tenants' law clinic.
Source: The New Black Politician, by Andra Gillespie, p. 50
, May 7, 2012
Won with rainbow coalition, but softest support among blacks
Mayoral election returns from Newark's recent mayoral election reflect predictions of what happens when moderate and more civil rights-oriented or militant black candidates face each other in congressional elections. [Pundits] predicted that the moderate
black candidate would win a majority of the nonblack vote & split the black vote, thereby creating enough of a rainbow coalition to win. This strategy clearly did not work for Booker in 2002, when he did not win enough of Newark's large black electorate
to win. By 2006, however, Booker had become enough of a known player in Newark politics that he was able to attract enough black support to be able to win the election decisively.
Larger questions loomed for the Booker administration. His support was
the softest in the city's black sections, particularly in middle-class black areas with ties to the old black political establishment. Would Booker be able to maintain his coalition, or would small slights cause black voters to withdraw their support?
Source: The New Black Politician, by Andra Gillespie, p.101
, May 7, 2012
Show your religion in how you treat other people
Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children; before you preach to me of your passion for your faith,
teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I'm not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.
Source: Facebook posting, facebook.com/corybooker
, Apr 24, 2012
I believe in Newark as the city of opportunity
342 years ago, Puritans came ashore onto the banks of the Passaic River, searching for freedom and the promised land, they looked at the wild woods and uncultivated lands here and said, "I believe in the infinite strength of God's children, I believe in
Newark." When waves of immigrants poured into our City from across the globe, yearning to be free, with worn hands that would build this City, they said in countless foreign languages, "I believe this is the city of opportunity, I believe in Newark."
Source: 2008 State of the City Address
, Feb 1, 2008
Led effort for religious freedom via no religious registry.
Booker sponsored opposing a religious registry
Press Release from 9 Senators: [Cory Booker and 13 co-sponsors] introduced legislation that would block a registry of people based on their religion, race, age, gender, ethnicity, national origin, or nationality. "Religious freedom and freedom from discrimination are fundamental rights central to the very idea of being an American," Sen. Booker said. "Forcing people to sign up for a registry based on their religion, race, or national origin does nothing to keep America secure. It does, however, undermine the freedom of religion guaranteed by our Constitution and promote the false notion that people of certain faiths and nationalities are inherently suspect. Our legislation would block Donald Trump and subsequent administrations from infringing on religious liberty by creating an immigration-related religious registry."
National origin-based immigration registry systems have proven ineffective at combatting terrorism and strengthening national security,
but effective at instilling fear in certain communities. The George W. Bush-era National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), registered over 83,000 individuals from 24 Muslim-majority countries, but yielded zero terrorism convictions.
Opposing argument: (GovTrack.us's analysis of S.54): President Trump pledged during his campaign to institute a temporary ban on all Muslim immigration and Syrian refugees "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." He made good on much of that promise with an executive order suspending America's refugee admission program for 120 days and banning all entry from seven majority-Muslim countries for 90 days. Trump has defended a Muslim registry as necessary to national security. "They have to be [registered]. It's all about management. Our country has no management," he said when first proposing the idea in 2015. Trump reiterated his plans as president-elect in December.
Source: S.54 & H.R.5207 17-S0054 on Jan 5, 2017
Question Trump on Emoluments clause.
Booker signed questioning Trump on Emoluments clause
Excerpts from Letter from 17 Senators to Trump Organization: The Trump Organization's continuing financial relationship with President Trump raises concerns about whether it is a pass-through for income that violates the Constitution's two Emoluments Clauses: Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 on foreign Emoluments; and Article II, Clause 7 on domestic Emoluments. Please answer the following questions to help Congress understand:
- When the Trump Organization receives income from a government agency, how is that income segregated & reported?
- How does the Trump Organization determine if income is derived from foreign governments?
- Trump promised to "donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotels to the US Treasury." Has the Trump Organization created a mechanism to make such payments?
- What is the estimated value of the 38 Chinese trademarks recently awarded to the Trump Organization? And the reported 157 pending trademark applications in
Legal Analysis: (Cato Institute, "Emoluments Clause vs. Trump Empire," 11/29/16): The wording of the Emoluments clause points one way to resolution: Congress can give consent, as it did in the early years of the Republic to presents received by Ben Franklin. It can decide what it is willing to live with in the way of Trump conflicts. If it misjudges public opinion, it will pay a political price at the next election.
FOIA argument: (ACLU Center for Democracy, "FOIA Request," 1/19/17): We filed our first Freedom of Information Act request of the Trump Era, seeking documents relating President Trump's conflicts of interest relating to his business connections. When Trump took the oath of office, he didn't take the steps necessary to ensure that he and his family's business interests comply with the Constitution. Some have even argued that upon taking the oath of office, the new president is already violating the Emoluments Clause.
Source: Letter from 17 Senators 17LTR-EMOL on May 18, 2017
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Other big-city mayors on Principles & Values:
Cory Booker on other issues:
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee)
Bill de Blasio (D,NYC)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Bob Filner (D,San Diego)
Steven Fulop (D,Jersey City)
Eric Garcetti (D,Los Angeles)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Marty Walsh (D,Boston)
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)
Page last updated: Jan 22, 2018