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.
- In 2014, he allied with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on a sentencing reform bill and then worked on another bill in 2016 more similar to the one that passed in late 2018.
- In a recently enacted bill, Booker pushed to prohibit solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons.
- 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:
- When he was Newark's mayor, he rescued a neighbor from a burning house in 2012.
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