Cory Booker was serendipitously born April 27, 1969 in Washington, D.C. but grew up in the upper class town of Harrington Park, New Jersey some 20 miles north of Newark. Bookers parents, Cary Alfred and Carolyn Rose Jordan Booker were two of the first black executives at IBM. Cory graduated from Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan in 1987 and was named to the USA Today All-USA High School football team in 1986. Booker took his academic and athletic pursuits west to Stanford University acquiring a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1991 and a Master of Arts in Sociology the year after. Booker also stood out at Stanford as an athlete playing Varsity Football making the All-Pacific Ten Academic team and was even elected President of his senior class. Booker also contributed to “The Bridge,” a student-run crisis hotline for fellow students in need. After leaving Stanford Cory was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship at the legendary University of Oxford earning an additional honors degree in U.S. history in 1994 as a member of The Queen’s College. While at Oxford, Cory befriended Lubavitcher Rabbi Schmuley Boteach where their friendship and leadership of the L’Chaim Society set a remarkable example of Booker’s fervent belief in the power of diversity and the limitless possibilities when we move past basic racial, ethnic and religious tolerance. Upon returning to the states, Cory attended Yale Law School receiving his Juris Doctor in 1997. While at Yale he helped operate free legal clinics for low-income residents of New Haven, CT. He is also a founding member of the Chai Society while being part of the Big Brother organization and was an active participant in the National Black Law Students Association.
While commuting from Newark in his final year at Yale, Booker began to plant the seeds of his prosperous political career. During his very first election at just 29 years of age, Booker managed to upset a four-term incumbent to become councilman of Newark. His old-fashioned strategy of knocking on tens of thousands of doors that proved a successful tactic as it got over one thousand disheartened voters to turn out at the polls for the first time in years. Booker believes in putting his money where his mouth is in unusually progressive ways like going on a 10-day hunger strike in one of the most drug-infested housing complexes in Newark. This determination by Booker resulted in an increased police presence and improved home security for residents. In 2000 Booker took to the streets and lived in a motor home and left it parked on the worst drug corners in the city. This was a call to the people that the residents and businesses of Newark would not give in to the drug dealing and crime that had ravished the city. For his efforts, TIME magazine dubbed him “The Savior of Newark” and it proved to the country his passion and dedication to fighting inner-city problems.
Booker’s passion and skilled oration at the podium has shown the people his commitment to social change and he has inspired audiences across the country. While as Newark’s Central Ward councilman, Mr. Booker introduced a plethora of resolutions and legislation that have gone to help housing, youth, jobs, safety and created a better overall government. In 2006 at the age of 37, Cory was elected Mayor of New Jersey’s largest and most problematic city—a seemingly insurmountable task. He was re-elected in 2010 and even turned down an offer from President Obama to head his newly created White House Office of Urban Affairs Policy. Despite turning the position down, Mayor Booker was a noted booster for the President in his bid for re-election in 2012. Booker is known for his use of social media, particularly Twitter that helps him communicate with the voters as well as his constituents. He is frank and honest that is something of a rarity in today’s world of politics. Booker’s continued advocacy for lifting the quality of public education in his city has helped him make some great strides and public changes in educational reform in Newark.