Childhood & Early Life
Cory Anthony Booker was born on April 27, 1969, in Washington D.C., U.S., to African–American parents. The family had its roots in Sierra Leone. His parents, Cary Alfred Booker and Carolyn Rose, worked as executives at ‘IBM.’ They happened to be among the first black people to have earned such top positions in the organization. Cary and Carolyn also happened to be civil rights activists.
Soon after Cory was born, the family moved to New Jersey, where Cory spent his years excelling in studies and sports.
He grew up with an older brother named Cary Booker II. The family lived in Harrington Park.
Later, Cory attended the ‘Northern Valley Regional High School,’ where he excelled in varsity football. He was a star player on the team and was named to the ‘USA Today All-USA’ high-school football team in 1986.
However, he wanted to build a career in academics and worked hard to achieve his goal. He joined ‘Stanford University’ to pursue a BA degree in political science. He later obtained his master’s degree in sociology from the same university. He aspired to work toward the benefit of society, in a bid to honor his parents. While in college, he kept playing football and became a star player of the team.
Following his graduation from ‘Stanford,’ he joined ‘Oxford University’ through the highly exclusive ‘Rhodes Scholarship’ and studied American history there. He later attended ‘Yale Law School’ and completed his Juris Doctor degree.
Meanwhile, he had started to contribute to a lot of charitable activities in college. He opened a free law consultancy for the poor population of New Haven, Connecticut, and was a member of the ‘National Black Law Students Association.’
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After the completion of his education, he moved back to New Jersey and settled there, working as a staff attorney at the ‘Urban Justice Center’ in New York City. He then joined the ‘Newark Youth Project’ as a program coordinator.
After his initial foray into local politics, Cory made use of his knowledge and financial resources to work for the betterment of the underdeveloped regions in Newark. In 1998, he supported the locals in their demand for better living conditions in the crime-infested ‘Brick Towers,’ a local housing project.
Later that year, he delivered a surprising victory over George Branch in the ‘Newark Municipal Council Election.’ George was the ultimate favorite, as he had served in the position for four terms in a row.
As a member of the municipal council, in 1999, he devoted himself completely to work. Soon, he embarked on a 10-day-long hunger strike to draw attention to the crime-filled drug empire running in the city. In 2000, he lived in the most dangerous and notorious areas of Newark to gather first-hand experience of the issues plaguing the city.
However, the local government was not impressed with his social causes, and almost all the reforms he suggested as a council member were prevented from being passed by other members. He knew that he had to fight hard to bring about any change. He thus decided to contest for the 2002 mayoral elections in Newark.
He was up against seasoned politician Sharpe James. James resorted to mud-slinging and accused Cory of accepting bribes. Cory was new to politics, and before he could understand the game, he had lost the elections, though by a small margin. He was confident enough to score a victory the next time.
In the 2006 elections, he ran for the mayorship again, and this time, Sharpe James had decided not to participate in a re-election. This worked in Cory’s favor, and he ended up scoring a victory, with 72% of the total votes in his favor.
Cory began working toward the betterment of the law-and-order situation in the city and the basic city services. He was also instrumental in getting a massive budget approved for Newark and cleared the city’s financial deficits.
He also worked intensely to improve the gun-violence situation in the city. His efforts were honored by the ‘Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition.’ He was also a contender for the ‘World Mayor Prize’ in 2010.
Considering the work he had done for the betterment of the city, it was almost certain that he was going to win the 2010 mayoral election. He won by a clear margin. In the previous year, he was offered a cabinet position in the Obama administration, but he refused, owing to his mayoral commitments.
One of the main reasons for his popularity as a mayor was his prompt response to his citizens’ issues on his social-media accounts, especially on ‘Twitter.’ In December, 2010, he shovelled an old man’s driveway himself on the request of his daughter. Some volunteers came forward to help him. In 2012, he saved a woman from a house fire and suffered second-degree burns. He thus earned a lot of attention from the media houses, along with a nickname, “Super Mayor.”
However, by the end of his second tenure, reports claimed that the crime rate of the city had not decreased as significantly as he had promised. He also claimed to have solved the city’s unemployment problems to a great degree, but the data showed only a miniscule change.
In 2013, he decided to contest in a senate special election. In August 2013, the elections results were revealed to be in his favor, and he became the first African–American to be selected to the senate, representing New Jersey. In October 2013, in order to focus on his work as a senator, he resigned from his mayoral position.
He has been described as a staunch liberal, as he supports women rights, LGBT marriage, affirmative action, and single payer healthcare, among other liberal policies and movements. He has lent his support to the ‘Employment Non-Discrimination Act,’ the ‘National Defense Authorization Act,’ and the ‘First Step Act.’
In 2019, he announced that he would run for the ‘Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. However, he pulled out of the race in early 2020. He supported Joe Biden as the ‘Democratic’ candidate for the presidential elections 2020.