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Cory Booker on the issues, in under 500 words

Cory Booker at his 2020 campaign announcement in Newark, N.J.
Photo: Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images

Democrat Cory Booker is a New Jersey senator known for his soaring oratory and optimistic views — his speeches are peppered with lines about love and compassion. 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: He has been a vocal proponent of reforming the criminal justice system. On March 7, Booker tweeted a proposal for a new bill with progressive ideas like further cutting mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses and banning racial and religious profiling.
  • Medicare for All: Signed on as a co-sponsor.
  • Green New Deal: Signed on as a co-sponsor.
  • 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 Washington, D.C.) that have legalized recreational marijuana.
  • Jobs: His proposed jobs guarantee plan would establish a 3-year pilot program that gives 15 local areas funding to provide all residents a job paying at least $15 an hour.
  • Baby bonds: Proposed giving newborns savings accounts seeded with $1,000 to close the racial wealth gap.
  • "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 president, Booker plans to introduce a "new Voting Rights Act" to end gerrymandering, cut voter suppression, expand voting and registration.

Key criticisms of Cory Booker:

  • Corporate interests: Though he has recently changed his tune on corporate money, 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:

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the other 2020 candidates

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