Newark New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker has started to make noise on the national political scene. Booker burst onto the scene with his prime time speech at the Democratic National Convention this past September in Charlotte, North Carolina. He scrutinized the business community and made headlines for asking higher income earners to pay a little more in taxes. For some, Booker came out of nowhere to become a prominent figure and rising star in the democratic party.
But who is Cory Booker? Booker earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stanford. Besides being a Rhodes Scholar, he received a law degree from the prestigious Yale Law School. Before becoming mayor of Newark, New Jersey's largest city, he served on the city's municipal council. Booker has become a national leader for his initiatives and foresight for reform. Through him, Newark has set its sights on urban development and economic change. Mayor Booker has established several projects for affordable housing in his city and expanded the parks and recreation department. He has added more than 50 acres of parks to Newark. Due to Mayor Booker's efforts Newark has become more attractive to the business community with several major corporations relocating and making Newark their headquarters. He has proposed and put forth initiatives for loans to aide the small businesses in the city allowing them to get off the ground and expand. Mayor Booker has also set his sights on education reform and helping the struggling youth of his area.
Cory Booker has used his public image to help head a national coalition of mayors called Mayors Against Illegal Guns. This group includes New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The group has the support of over 700 mayors across cities in the United States. Their goal is to stamp out gun violence and make their cities safer. Each mayor has signed the Statement of Principles which include prosecuting those who traffic or use illegal guns, making sure individuals or organizations do not sell illegal weapons, supporting the efforts of the ATF, opposing dangerous military weapons as well as lethal high capacity magazines from getting into the hands of citizens, allowing for technology to detect illegal weapons, aiding the state and federal government to prosecute, sharing information which may lead to future anti-illegal gun legislation, and welcoming other cities across the nation to join their efforts for safer communities.
One of the ways Mayor Booker has fought the troubling issue of illegal guns and gun control is through gun buyback programs. In November, Newark saw nearly 350 firearms brought to their buyback program. In an interesting way to promote this program-once citizens bring their guns to the buyback program, the weapons are melted down and used for scrap metal. They are now using the metal to make bracelets with the serial numbers of the firearms on the band. This is a creative method to help get guns off the streets of Newark.
Mayor Booker has recently announced that he will run for the United States Senate in 2014. He has now set his sights on the national stage. He has made the rounds on evening political programs promoting his anti-gun philosophy and several initiatives which have made Newark a more prosperous and desirable city. Cory Booker is a figure whom Democrats, Republicans, and the media will be looking at with great interest in the not too distant future.