Cory Booker biography
Cory Booker was born on April 27, 1969 in Washington, D.C., to affluent civil rights activists. He attended prestigious schools, including Stanford University and Yale Law School, and went on to become a politician in the city of Newark, New Jersey. Vowing to reduce the crime rate there and improve education and city services, Booker was elected mayor of Newark and made many of the changes he promised. An avid user of social media, particularly Twitter, Booker became known as the second most social mayor in the country. He also made headlines for saving a woman from a burning house, shoveling an elderly man's snow-covered driveway and bringing some $100 million in private philanthropy to Newark.
Before Cory Anthony Booker became one of America's most well-known mayors, he was just a regular high school football star. He was born on April 27, 1969, in Washington D.C., to civil rights activists Cary Alfred and Carolyn Rose Booker, who were among the first black executives at IBM. They raised booker in a predominantly white, affluent town in New Jersey, where he would later serve as mayor.
Booker attended Stanford University, where he received a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in sociology. In addition to playing varsity football, Booker served as senior class president and ran a student-run crisis hotline. Upon his graduation from Stanford, Booker was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at the University of Oxford. He also attended Yale Law School, where he received his Juris Doctor and operated free legal clinics for low-income residents of New Haven. Despite his busy schedule, Booker made time to get involved in the National Black Law Students Association and in the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, serving as a Big Brother.
Booker took an interest in local politics—particularly the Newark City Council—and ran against and defeated four-term City Council incumbent George Branch. To call attention to the city's drug dealing and violence problems, Booker went on a 10-day hunger strike and lived in a tent near the drug dealing areas. He became known as an advocate of education reform and for proposing Council initiatives regarding City Hall transparency, where he was regularly outvoted 8-1.
But Booker was not discouraged. In fact, instead of running for re-election, he took his ambitions a step further and ran for the mayoral seat again longtime incumbent Sharpe James. During his campaign, his opponent's supporters called Booker a carpetbagger and said he was "not black enough" to understand the city; Booker lost the election and instead finished out his Council term in 2002.
Following his loss, Booker began investing his time in establishing nonprofit organizations aimed to provide Newark residents with resources and services to better their communities, including Newark Now, and was making headlines. He ran for the mayoral seat again in 2006 and won. Booker's tough campaign and promises to battle crime angered several Bloods gang leaders in four New Jersey state prisons: They plotted his assassination, which was then foiled by state investigators.
After Booker assumed office as Mayor — the third consecutive black person to govern the city since 1970 — he implement 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.
Recognition in the Media
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. Rumor has it he was also considering a run for governor of New Jersey.