Booker: ‘I will explore’ possibility of running for the U.S. Senate in 2014

In an Op-Ed printed in the Star-Ledger, Newark Mayor Cory Booker lays out his plan to examine a U.S. Senate run.

“I love Newark. I did not come to this city through the providence of birth. I chose Newark, and Newark, thank God, accepted me, embraced me and allowed me the greatest privilege of my life – to serve as mayor.

“As Mayor, the politics and process of change hasn’t been easy. This is a city where every inch of ground you gain must be fought for. This is a fact of all of urban America. But there is such unacknowledged strength in Newark, a profound resilience and prodigious persistence. And with Newarkers and others leading, Newark is going through a historic period of change.              

“Crime is down in Newark. For our kids, parks and recreation facilities are growing throughout our city like spring grass. Newark is the center of America’s efforts to reform urban education and our schools are showing strong signs of growth and promise.  We have led our city through its worst financial crisis in decades and stand on the edge of true budget stability for the first time in over 15 years.  Newark is leading the State in innovations in everything from court reform to municipal services for our veterans to prisoner re-entry programs.

“Amazingly, in a down economy, Newark is in its biggest period of economic development since the 1950s, with our first new office towers and downtown hotels going up in decades. A city initiated loan fund has helped over 50 small businesses start or grow. Housing production has increased at a rapid pace including the doubling of the production rate of affordable housing. After decades of companies leaving Newark – businesses are coming back, with corporations such as Panasonic North America, Manischewitz, and Audible.com moving their headquarters to Newark. And the most promising sign is that for first time in 60 years, Newark’s population is not contracting, but actually growing. 

“But there is still much work to do. And so, let there be no doubt, I will complete my full second term as mayor. As for my political future, I will explore the possibility of running for The United States Senate in 2014.

“In the coming months there are transformative development projects that can bring thousands of jobs to Newark. I am determined to continue managing down our budget so we can hire many more police and leverage new philanthropic dollars that I know will produce greater safety for our residents.  I am determined to remain on the job and finish out the work we have begun.

“But often progress is hard in Newark and in New Jersey and in America because of our national challenges. This is a significant moment in our nation’s history for Newark, cities like it, and for all Americans. We must confront a catastrophic debt crisis that could devastate the middle class, find ways to empower hard-working low income Americans, bring urgency to the effort to educate all our children, reform a broken immigration system, deliver marriage equality to all Americans, and bring sanity to our national gun safety laws.

“These are the hard won lessons I have learned in Newark: if you can bring people together around common ideals, if you can inspire people to see the universal truth that we are all in this together, that we need each other, that our destinies are interwoven, then great things can happen. I have seen how you can ignite in people the spirit of our ancestors; the spirit of service and sacrifice and of the dignity of hard work for families and for higher principles. When you do that great things do happen, and miracles are made manifest.  This is the story of Newark’s enduring spirit and the reason for our progress in recent years.

“As I explore a run for the United States Senate, I look forward to consulting with Senator Lautenberg. During my lifetime, he has been one of New Jersey’s most important leaders. It would be a privilege to continue his great legacy of service.

“So I will continue my hard work as Newark’s mayor.  And I believe it is in the interests of Newark that I get fully involved in New Jersey’s 2013 elections. Over the coming months my presence in New Jersey’s state election season will be felt from the Highlands in the North to Southern shore communities. No one will fight harder than me for the Democratic ticket this fall, from the top to the bottom. Newark is my city, New Jersey is my State – I intend to be of service to them both now and for the rest of my years.”

"The governor still has to come to bat."
—Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, on Atlantic City.