Photo: Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images
Editor's note: Booker dropped out of contention for the Democratic presidential nomination on Jan. 13, 2020. Below is our original article on his candidacy.
Democrat Cory Booker is a New Jersey senator known for his optimistic views. The former mayor of Newark lived in one of the city's most distressed buildings until 2006 in a show of defiance against the landlord and the city.
Key facts about Cory Booker:
- Current position: Senator from New Jersey — 5 years served
- Age: 49
- Born: Washington, D.C.
- Undergraduate: Stanford (Rhodes Scholar)
- Date candidacy announced: Feb. 1, 2019
- % of votes in line with Trump, per FiveThirtyEight: 15.4%
- Previous roles: Newark, N.J. city council, mayor of Newark
Cory Booker's stance on key issues:
- Criminal justice: Booker proposed executive action to offer clemency to thousands of nonviolent drug offenders on his first day in office.
- On March 7, Booker tweeted a proposal for a new bill with progressive ideas like cutting mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses and banning racial and religious profiling.
- Booker pushed to prohibit solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons.
- Medicare for All: Co-sponsor
- Climate change: Co-sponsor of the Green New Deal. Wants $3 trillion in direct federal investments over 10 years with a carbon "fee and dividend" plank. Criticized his party on nuclear power, that construction of next-wave reactors should be an option.
- Gun control: Proposed a 14-part plan in May that calls for a national gun licensing program, which would force Americans to apply for 5-year gun licenses.
- Political finance: Announced he won't take money from corporate PACs or federal lobbyists.
- Marijuana: He reintroduced a bill on Feb. 28 that would legalize marijuana on the federal level and supersede the patchwork of 10 states (and D.C.) that have legalized recreational marijuana.
- Jobs: His proposed jobs guarantee plan would establish a 3-year pilot program that gives 15 areas funding to provide all residents a job paying at least $15/hour.
- Baby bonds: Proposed giving newborns savings accounts seeded with $1,000 to close the racial wealth gap.
- Advancing reproductive health care rights like access to abortions and birth control.
- "Rise Credit": Proposed a policy aiming to expand eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit to more working and middle-class families.
- Voter rights: If elected, Booker plans to introduce a "new Voting Rights Act" to end gerrymandering, cut voter suppression, expand voting and registration.
- Housing plan: Booker proposed a tax credit for renters to prevent them from spending more than 30% of their incomes on rent, among other policies.
- Immigration: Proposed a plan targeting "inhumane" detention centers.
Key criticisms of Cory Booker:
- Corporate interests: Booker was the top recipient of Wall Street money in the 2014 election cycle. He also has a reputation as a friend of the pharmaceutical industry as well as Silicon Valley.
- Self-promotion: He has been criticized as a grandstanding politician, highlighted by his "I am Spartacus" moment when he said he would jeopardize his Senate seat by releasing confidential documents during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.
1 fun thing about Cory Booker:
- When he was Newark's mayor, he rescued a neighbor from a burning house in 2012.