After months of presidential buzz, Cory Booker announced his presidential candidacy on the first day of Black History Month using a very compelling short-film.
Booker, who has come in the national limelight for his passionate speeches in the Senate and his open critiques of Donald Trump, joins Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif, Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. as democratic front runners for the 2020 election.
As we make the big push towards election season, here is what you need to know about presidential-hopeful Cory Booker:
Cory Booker was born in Washington, D.C., but raised in a mostly white suburb 20 miles north of Newark, New Jersey. He was born to Carolyn Rose and Cary Alfred Booker, who were among the first Black executives at IBM. Booker went on to get his undergraduate degree from Stanford University, and while at Stanford, he was a member of their varsity football team. Later he received his Master’s degree from the University of Oxford in England on the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, before ultimately receiving his Juris Doctor from Yale Law School. At Yale, he worked in free legal clinics for low-income residents of New Haven, Connecticut.
2. Early Career
In 1998, Booker won an upset victory for a seat on the Municipal Council of Newark, defeating four-term incumbent George Branch. While a member of the council, he went on a 10-day hunger strike and lived in a tent to draw attention to Newark’s drug problems. Booker later ran for Mayor of Newark in 2002, although he ultimately lost the election and was eventually chronicled in the Oscar-nominated documentary Street Fight.
3. Mayoral Terms in Newark, New Jersey 2006-2013
After his 2002 election lost, Booker would go on to unseat the longest-serving mayor in the Newark’s history, Sharpe James, in the 2006 mayoral election. Booker then served over seven years as mayor of Newark, where he first vaulted to national attention for his hands-on approach in attempting to turn around the crime and poverty-plagued city and social media presence. While serving as mayor, Booker developed strong relationships with big business, including Panasonic and Prudential. Newark saw its first major new grocery stores and hotels in years, new office towers, a $150 million real estate and educational complex, along with claims of gentrification and a shift of funding from public schools to charter school.
4. Senate History
In 2013, Cory Booker became the first Black Senator in New Jersey’s history. As Senator, Booker’s leadership came on full display through his bipartisan efforts to pass criminal justice reforms and his passion and fervor during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, most famously last fall during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Currently, Booker is a ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and also serves on the foreign relations, judiciary, small business and environmental committees.
5. Personal Life
Although Cory Booker didn’t originally live in Newark, he moved to a housing project in Newark shortly after he graduated from Yale. Now a resident of Newark for nearly 25 years, he is well-known public figure, who many residents can regularly see walking the streets of his neighborhood. Booker isn’t married, although he has recently confirmed that he is dating, but could possibly shape up to be the first unmarried president in over 100 years.