Like many of us, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) is launching into the new year with a bevy of personal and professional goals. Booker is one of just two African-Americans serving in the Senate. (His one-year term was a result of a special election. And in November, he claimed victory for a six-year term). Booker recently outlined his vision of how he intends to best represent his constituents. His plan encompasses everything from advocating for criminal justice reform and making college affordability possible to prioritizing voting rights and, of course, explaining the benefits of being a Twitter king. Here are the seven objectives the senator has set for himself—and his community:
How did Booker do in his first term as senator?
PRO: “Sen. Booker has consistently supported a number of items—transportation funds, Sandy relief funds, etc.—that are most important to New Jersey’s voters. We shouldn’t be surprised that he hasn’t had any major legislation pass just yet. He’s only been there a year, and the Senate is slow-moving. To get something done, you need to have both parties involved. He has to spend time getting to know Republican senators and having them get to know him, not as a personality but as a person.” —Ben Dworkin, Adjunct Professor, Rider University, Lawrence Township, N.J.
CON: “Sen. Booker has had an undistinguished career in the U.S. Senate. What he has done is to distinguish himself as the selfie senator and a prolific tweeter. If Sen. Booker seeks to represent New Jersey’s middle class and cast himself as a reformer, we need to see the legislation to address the staggering number of foreclosures statewide and a way to bring real jobs to New Jersey instead of more empty promises.” —Dierdre Paul, Professor, Montclair State University, Montclair, N.J.
1. Choose Empowerment Over Imprisonment
“We need to show the country that there is a way forward to lower the exorbitant taxpayer expense for warehousing and imprisoning so many people. I am proud of working on the Redeem Act with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Our bill aims to seal the records of some nonviolent youth and adult offenders so that they can successfully seek future employment and contribute to society. But I won’t be satisfied until we get it across the finish line.”
Read more in the February issue of EBONY Magazine.