Best Known For
Newark Mayor Cory Booker is best known for his unorthodox approach to politics, for his revolutionizing reforms to Newark's crime rate and education, and for his personal willingness to help his constituents.
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After Booker assumed office as mayor—the third consecutive black person to govern the city since 1970—he implemented a number of reforms in the city, including overhauling the police department and improving city services. Through what has been described as one of Newark's largest property-tax increases in the city's history,
Booker's administration approved a large budget and fixed the city' structural financial deficit.
He reduced the crime rate significantly during his first term as mayor—even patrolling the streets himself until 4 a.m.—implemented pay cuts for top-earning city managers and directors and reduced his own salary by 8 percent. Additionally, as a result of Booker's leadership, the city of Newark has raked in more than $100 million in private philanthropy.
As a member of the nonpartisan Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, Booker was honored in October 2009 by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and was among finalists for the 2010 World Mayor prize, where he placed seventh. He was a candidate for the prize in 2012.
Booker was re-elected to his seat in May 2010, and made headlines again in December of that year after responding to a constituent's Twitter request for his to send someone to shovel her elderly father's driveway: Booker responded, saying, "I will do it myself; where does he live?" He and several other volunteers showed up and shoveled the man's driveway. Earlier in 2010, Samepoint LLC released a study that measured the social media influence of mayors around the country and ranked Booker second most social mayor.
The Newark mayor made news again in April 2012, when he saved a woman from a house fire and, as a result, suffered second-degree burns on his hands and smoke inhalation. His actions earned Booker the nickname "super-mayor," according to the Toronto Sun.
So known has Booker become for his unorthodox methods and dedication to the city and people of Newark, that The Week news magazine published an issue in April 2012 with the headline "Newark's Cory Booker: America's most overachieving mayor?"
He has made many appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show—including one with Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg, who donated $100 million to the city's education fund—and has shown support for and spoken about his relationship with President Barack Obama.
Booker traveled with the Democratic National Convention in September 2012 and gave speeches before large crowds, eventually sparking speculation that he would someday run for president himself. Rumors also began circulating that he was considering running for the U.S. Senate, which proved to be true.
Booker officially announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey on June 8, 2013. The seat in the U.S. Senate opened after the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg. The Democratic primary began in August, with Booker campaigning against Representative Frank Pallone, Representative Rush Holt and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. With a 40 point lead past the runner up Pallone, Booker won the primary election for the Democratic nomination in New Jersey on August 13, 2013. He won the Senate seat, beating out Republican Steve Lonegan, in a special election held on October 16, 2013.
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