Cory Booker on Government Reform



Declined lavish perks as Newark City Councilor

Even though being a council member is a part- time job, the Newark City Council is the highest-paid city council in the state, and the job promises a host of privileges that I felt were wrong. I did not accept many of the lavish perks. I gave up a city car and refused to use expense accounts for things like personal meals and travel. But doing the right thing in the wrong way is often wrong. I regret the holier- than- thou, sanctimonious posture I sometimes took--the way I didn't just refuse those things but wielded the decision like a sword of condemnation against some fellow council members.

I'd been elected to get things done, and the biggest issue for my constituents wasn't City Council compensation of expense accounts--which I didn't have a shot at changing anyway. People hadn't elected me to point out what was wrong with my colleagues. They'd elected me to find ways to work with them and to get something accomplished.

Source: United, by Senator Cory Booker, p. 59-60 , Feb 16, 2016

Seek common ground to achieve transformative change

In my first year in office, I was achieving little of the transformative change I sought. I must have been breaking records in Newark history for being outvoted eight to one. For a guy who talked a lot about change, I went about it in a bone headed way. I didn't seek common ground with my colleagues; instead I walked in and sought to distinguish myself from them. I wanted to be the reformer, but by separating myself from them I undermined my ability to advance change.
Source: United, by Senator Cory Booker, p. 59 , Feb 16, 2016

Campaign PAC money shouldn't speak louder than people

Booker tried to distinguish the differences between Democrats and Republicans: "To me no side has a monopoly on good ideas, but when I look at this [2012 GOP] platform, in many ways it's gotten a lot more extreme than even past Republican platforms and that's very disturbing to me. But more importantly I want to bring light to that and I want the nation to see, look at the actual policies that each of these parties stand for and decide which you want," Booker said. "Take campaign finance reform-- for crying out loud, I mean this is incredible. This platform says pull back even more of the rules on campaign finance reform, get rid of McCain-Feingold," Booker, a co-chair on the Democratic platform committee, said. "This platform says well, wait a minute, we're out of control right now with all this super PAC money, we want to find a way to put more fair rules on campaign finance reform so that money doesn't speak louder than people. And so that to me is very dramatic."
Source: Politifact.com FactCheck on 2014 New Jersey Senate race , Sep 5, 2012

Matching fund for small donors, with debate requirements.

Booker signed Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act

Congressional Summary:Fair Elections Now Act--Amends 1971 FECA with respect to:

Statement of support for corresponding Senate bill: (Sunlight Foundation) Now we bring you the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, a bill that should probably be the least controversial of all. S. 375 would simply require senators and Senate candidates to file their public campaign finance disclosure reports electronically with the Federal Election Commission, the way House candidates and presidential candidates have been filing for over a decade. A version of the bill has been introduced during every congress starting in 2003 (!) yet it has been blocked repeatedly, a victim of political football.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has introduced the most recent version, which would ensure that paper Senate campaign finance reports are a thing of the past. But even with 50 bipartisan cosponsors, the bill faces an uphill battle. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, has repeatedly prevented the bill from coming to the Senate floor. We won't be deterred--as long as McConnell continues to block the bill, we'll continue to highlight that his intransigence results in delayed disclosure of vital, public campaign finance information, not to mention wasting $500,000 in taxpayer money annually. Eventually, we'll win.

Source: S375/H.R.269 14_S375 on Feb 25, 2013

Automatic voter registration for all citizens.

Booker co-sponsored H.R.12 & S.1088

Congressional Summary:

Supporters reasons for voting YEA: (BrennanCenter.org): Too many Americans go to vote on Election Day only to find their names are not on the voter rolls--often, wrongly deleted. The US is on the verge of a new paradigm for registering voters: automatic, permanent registration of eligible voters, which would add up to 50 million eligible voters to the rolls.

Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (Gov. Christie's veto message on the "Democracy Act", Nov. 2015): Christie called a provision establishing automatic voter registration that requires New Jerseyan to opt out a "government-knows-best, backwards approach that would inconvenience citizens and waste government resources for no justifiable reason." Automatic voter registration would have added 1.6 million people to the state's voter rolls.

Source: Voter Empowerment Act 15-S1088 on Mar 19, 2015

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Other big-city mayors on Government Reform: Cory Booker on other issues:

Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
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Page last updated: Sep 22, 2016