Football, politics, the press. For Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey, these are all things he can share friendly banter on. Recently announcing his intention to run for senate, he feels it’s too early to discuss a campaign, or any details. He stops by for an exclusive interview with Soledad.
He says, “I announced my intention to run. The reality is, we have a good senator, been loyal, been there a long time. He has a decision to make. I am focusing on my job for now.” Until any official campaigning begins, Booker looks to continue his work in the city of Newark, saying, “I swore an oath to do my job. I would hate to leave early to do another job.”
Usually praised by the media, a recent New York Time article said Booker was a “better marketer than a mayor.” To this, he says, “It was probably one of the more frustrating articles of my career. I feel like they glossed over what we have done, since instituting articles of my career. They glossed over what we have done, since instituting court reform, prisoner entry reform, doubled the amount of affordable housing to dealing with veterans’ issues. Sometimes you won’t get flowing press. The press sometimes likes to build you up and take you down.”
The politics world is abuzz on President Obama potentially nominating Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary. The Nebraska Republican and Vietnam War veteran has been criticized for his commitment to Israel’s security and his harsh words toward the homosexual community. Booker believes, “We should give him [President Obama] a lot of deference for decision making, and the good news is, these issues have been highlighted and he tried to address them. And I think in the coming days, he will even more so.”
To pull the conversation away from the seriousness of politics, Booker has a few thoughts on Washington Redskins’ rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III’s, RG3, knee injury this weekend. He says, “I’ve played the game and it’s very difficult to take a guy out. I have seen the same thing at Stamford. I’ve played injured. It would have taken a crowbar to take me out of the game.”
On January 3rd, Tim Scott will have a lot of first. It will be his first term as senator from South Carolina. But, also, he will be the first black senator since Reconstruction and the first republican senator in 34 years. He will also be the only black senator.
Getting praise from outgoing Senator Jim Demint as well as Governor Nikki Haley, Scott worked hard to get to this level. He dropped out of school in the ninth grade. For his success, he credits his mother, a single parent, “It was a strong family, my mom did a really, really good job of encouraging me in very clear and discerning ways. At the same time, I had to go to work. That gave me this work ethic that was necessary.”
He believes that America is made up of hard-working people and will pick up very soon. He set his goals while in office to look to the future, “I look towards the future and I say to myself, how can we impact the nation and keep the American dream alive for the next generation? And that’s what we’re trying to build.”
As the only black senator, the first time senator believes that marketing minority beliefs is the way to get more GOP support from minorities. He says, “I believe that America is still very much a center right country. And so what we have is an opportunity to walk into new places and new territories and simply say that the plan is clear. The way forward is clear. And market ourselves effectively in these new places.”