Cory Booker on Welfare & Poverty



Newark got disproportionate share of dumps & jails

When I was growing up in the 1980s, Newark was a place often maligned or feared in the suburbs. Mentions of the city inspired concern or even pity expressed in a way that was often insulting.

New Jersey was happy to place in Newark a state prison, a county jail, waste disposal sites, sewage treatment facilities, halfway houses, drug treatment centers. A grossly disproportionate share of public and low- income housing, and other necessary public goods that wouldn't be located in surrounding suburban towns. Despite this, Newark still boasted New Jersey's finest cultural institutions, including the state's largest public library and museum. It was the state's largest college town and it was home to massive job generators such as Newark Liberty International Airport.

There was a tenacious resolve in Newark to show the world a truth that would upset shallow assertions that Newark was dead. There was a vast communal will to demonstrate that this once great city would rise again.

Source: United, by Senator Cory Booker, p. 29-30 , Feb 16, 2016

Post-WWII policy of redlining forced racially-biased housing

After World War II, racially focused housing policies were set in place at every level of government--and many of them are still on the books. These policies included local restrictive covenants that banned the transfer of property to blacks, real-estate agents steering minorities away from white towns, zoning rules that allowed towns to avoid having low- income housing, overtly discriminatory mortgage lending, redlining that effectively walled minority communities off from opportunity and investment, and FHA policies that rewarded financial institutions and builders who invested in white communities.

HUD polices were put in place that directed the building of densely clustered low-income and public housing into urban spaces. Newark's nickname, "Brick City," is derived from the federal policy to pack low-income housing into Newark and not diffusely throughout the state of New Jersey, where the impact of poverty on families would have been mitigated.

Source: United, by Senator Cory Booker, p.105-6 , Feb 16, 2016

Resided in housing project after law school, to help tenants

Long before he became America's most influential mayor, Booker began his career as an exercise in self-imposed humility.

At the age of 28, with prestigious clerkships and six-figure salaries on the horizon, he moved into a "penthouse apartment" in Brick Towers, one of Newark's worst housing projects, with the aim of helping tenants.

Booker lived there for eight years, through winters without heat or hot water, often walking up and down the fifteen flights of stairs when the elevator wasn't working. Gayle King, the CBS morning-news anchor who has become a close friend, says that by the time she started visiting him there a few years later, he no longer noticed the smell of urine in the hallways.

Source: Vogue magazine profile, "Local Hero Cory Booker" , Dec 19, 2012

2011: Founded PAC to support urban-issue candidates

What does his future hold? Most people assume that he has had his eye on a statewide office. In 2009, early polls suggested that Booker could make a viable candidate for governor in 2013. In 2011, Booker created a federal political action committee (PAC) to support candidates who supported urban issues. Many speculated that such a PAC could help Booker launch a US Senate candidacy in the future. Booker ruled out a 2012 candidacy but did not rule out running in 2014. While Booker is widely liked, he has to prepare for a street fight unlike anything he has ever experienced. The media that love him now will scrutinize him even more closely if he runs for statewide office.
Source: The New Black Politician, by Andra Gillespie, p.228 , May 7, 2012

Assist beneficiaries with earned income tax credit

We aggressively stepped up our work with the earned income tax credit, even establishing a free tax center in City Hall, leading to savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars in filing fees and assisting in putting millions of previously unclaimed dollars into the pockets of residents. And now with the Governor's expansion of eligibility for the state EITC, hundreds, if not thousands, more Newarkers can claim additional benefits.
Source: 2008 State of the City Address , Feb 1, 2008

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Other big-city mayors on Welfare & Poverty: Cory Booker on other issues:

Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee)
Bill de Blasio (D,NYC)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Bob Filner (D,San Diego)
Steven Fulop (D,Jersey City)
Eric Garcetti (D,Los Angeles)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Marty Walsh (D,Boston)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)
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Page last updated: Mar 16, 2017