Before we indulge in Mayor Booker’s bio, I would like to interject here in particular. I am big on education, especially the kind they don’t teach you at school. But some young children rely soley on the school’s assistance to help rear them and raise them into productive adults. This Mayor is special as well as his counterpart, which would be Mark Zuckerberg. Both enjoyed a nice relationship for quite some time, and it was for both of them, a meeting of the minds that something had to be done about the school system in Newark. Both men were of a priviledged background, but they grew up not taking that for granted and gave back. Collectively, both Mayor Booker and Mark Zuckerberg put their minds together and raised $100,000,000 for the school systems of Newark, New Jersey. I applaud both of these men and what they did because it will make a difference! They knew the best way to turn a bad situation around was to rely on the youth’s ability and resiliance to overcome what hardships they had as long as they had somewhere in this world to thrive. I commend them both, and I always will!
Now here are some of the things he has done. Since 2006, his administration has overseen hundreds of millions of dollars in investment in Newark. In 2011 alone, over 25 development projects were under construction or broke ground, representing over 2 million square feet of new or renovated space and over $700 million in total development. An estimated 2,500 on-site construction jobs and 2,500 permanent jobs will result from the construction activity that began in 2011. Newark is building its first new downtown hotel in nearly 40 years and our first new office tower in nearly 20 years.
Everything has gone smoothly from the multi-pronged economic growth and empowerment strategy he has pursued since he became Mayor: he created jobs in Newark’s bustling industrial district, proximate to our seaport and airport; attracted new companies to locate near the superior infrastructure assets in our downtown; built quality, affordable housing in our neighborhoods; support homegrown entrepreneurs throughout Newark through small business lending and technical assistance; deployed supportive programs to enable formerly incarcerated Newarkers to contribute to the city’s economy; and ensure that the fruits of development accrue to Newark residents. As Mayor, there are agreements in place to ensure that Newarkers are working on our construction sites and have the first opportunity to find long-term jobs with our new companies.
Newark is turning a significant corner.
Here are some highlights:
- Construction of a new Courtyard by Marriott – the first new hotel in our downtown in nearly 40 years – has begun in our downtown. The physical contours of the hotel are taking shape.
Cory Anthony Booker (born April 27, 1969) is the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Booker is a former Newark City Councilman. Booker was elected Mayor in 2006, becoming the 36th mayor of Newark and the third African-American mayor of that city.
The son of African-American parents (Cary and Carolyn Booker were among the first African-American executives at IBM), Booker was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in the predominantly white, affluent town of Harrington Park in Bergen County, New Jersey. He is an alumnus of Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan, where he was a 1986 USA Today All-American football player. Following graduation, Booker traveled west to study at Stanford University and earned a B.A. in political science in 1991 as well as an M.A. in sociology the following year. He played varsity football — he made the All–Pacific Ten Academic team — and was elected to the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) council of (four) presidents. In addition, he ran The Bridge, a student-run crisis hotline and organized help for youth in East Palo Alto, from Stanford students. While at Stanford, Booker also became good friends with Rachel Maddow.
After Stanford, Booker earned a Rhodes Scholarship and studied at The Queen’s College, Oxford, where he was awarded an honours degree in modern history in 1994. While at Oxford, he became friends with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and became President of the L’Chaim Society, the local chapter of Chabad, and brought together a diverse community there.
Booker obtained a J.D. in 1997 from Yale Law School, where he started and operated free legal clinics for low-income residents of New Haven. He was also a Big Brother, and was active in the Black Law Students Association. Booker lived in Newark during his final year at Yale and following graduation served as Staff Attorney for the Urban Justice Center in New York and Program Coordinator of the Newark Youth Project.
From 1998 to 2006, he lived in Brick Towers, a troubled housing complex in Newark’s Central Ward. Booker organized tenants to fight for improved conditions. In November 2006, as one of the last remaining tenants in Brick Towers, Booker left his apartment for the top unit in a three-story rental on Hawthorne Avenue in Newark’s South Ward, an area described as “a drug-and gang-plagued neighborhood of boarded-up houses and empty lots.” Brick Towers has since been demolished and a new mixed-income development was built there in 2010.
Booker received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa) degree in May 2009 from Newark-based New Jersey Institute of Technology after serving almost 3 years as mayor for ‘his outstanding career in public service as mayor of the City of Newark’. Booker also received an honorary doctorate from Brandeis University in 2009 and was a commencement speaker that year as well. That summer, Booker spoke at Jersey Boys’ State and has been a guest to subsequent Boys’ State functions. He also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa) degree in December 2010 from New York-based Yeshiva University for ‘his bold vision for Newark and setting a national standard for urban transformation’. Mayor Booker received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in June 2011 from Williams College for the urban transformation of New Jersey’s largest city, Newark. He was also the 2011 Williams College Commencement speaker.
Central Ward Council Member
In 1998, Booker won an upset victory, beating four-term incumbent George Branch to get elected to the Newark Municipal Council, a council known for serving the Central Ward Community and for hard-fought elections.
Once on the Council, Booker proved to be an unconventional public official. In 1999, he went on a 10-day hunger strike, living in a tent in front of one of Newark’s public housing projects (Garden Spires), to protest open-air drug dealing and the associated violence. While serving as Councilman, he spent five months living in a motor home, parking “near the most notorious drug corners” to draw attention to the situation. He proposed a variety of Council initiatives that impacted housing, young people, law and order and the efficiency and transparency of City Hall, but was regularly rebuffed by a resistant Municipal Council and often outvoted 8–1. While on the Council, Booker became an outspoken advocate of education reform.
2002 Mayoral run
In 2002, rather than run for re-election as Councilman, Booker decided to run for Mayor of Newark. This pitted him against longtime mayor Sharpe James. In this campaign and the next, James’ supporters questioned Booker’s suburban background, calling him a carpetbagger who was “not black enough” to understand the city. Booker was defeated, 53 percent to 47 percent.
After concluding his service as Central Ward Councilman, Booker in 2002 founded Newark Now, a grassroots non-profit organization that connects Newarkers to useful resources and services in order to help transform their communities. In addition, Booker also became a partner at the West Orange, law firm Booker, Rabinowitz, Trenk, Tully, Lubetkin, DiPasquale and Webster, and a senior fellow at Rutgers University‘s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. Booker is currently a member of the Board of Trustees at Teachers College, Columbia University, and was formerly a member of the Executive Committee at Yale Law School and the Board of Trustees at Stanford University.
2006 Mayoral run
As expected, Cory Booker announced on February 11, 2006, that he would again run for mayor, an intention he had made clear after his loss in 2002.
On March 6, 2006, Deputy Mayor (and State Senator) Ronald Rice entered the race, adding “that Mayor James had encouraged him to run but noted that if the mayor decided to join the race, his candidacy could change.” On March 27, 2006, James announced that he would not seek a sixth term, preferring to focus on his seat in the New Jersey Senate.
Rice ran a campaign attacking Booker for raising over $6 million for the race. Booker’s campaign outspent Rice’s 25 to 1. Booker tried to identify Rice as a “political crony” of former mayor Sharpe James, to whom Booker lost in 2002.