Cory Booker is a prominent member of the Democratic Party who is serving his second term as mayor of Newark, N.J. He is considering a run for governor against Republican incumbent Chris Christie in the 2013 election and often mentioned as a future presidential candidate.
Booker holds both a bachelor's degree political science and master's degree in sociology from Stanford University and and a bachelor's degree in Modern History at Oxford University. He was a Rhodes Scholar and completed his law degree at Yale University.
Booker was elected to the Newark city council at age 29 and served from 1998 to 2002. In 2006, at age 37, he was first elected mayor of the state's largest, and perhaps most troubled, city. He was re-elected in 2010. He turned down an offer from President Barack Obama in 2009 to head the newly created White House Office of Urban Affairs Policy.
Booker said he was considering a run for either U.S. Senate or governor against Christie, whose popularity surged largely due to his handling of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and is seeking a second term in 2013.
In 2011, Time magazine named Booker one of the 100 most influential people.He was a prominent surrogate for President Barack Obama in the 2012 election against Republican Mitt Romney and spoke at that year's Democratic National Convention.
Before being elected to public office, Booker served as a staff attorney for the Urban Justice Center in Newark.
Booker is a heavy user of social media, particularly Twitter, in communicating with his constituents. He is single and has no children.
Booker has developed a reputation for being plainspoken and blunt - characteristics that are somewhat rare in politicians and occasionally land them in hot water. During the 2012 election, Booker caught some flak when he described his party's attacks on Republican Mitt Romney's work at Bain Capital "nauseating." The Romney picked up on the comments and used them in the campaign.
Booker is an outspoken advocate for boosting the quality of public education in his city, and has led some particularly successful reforms in Newark. He is also known for shining a light of poverty.
In 2012, he embarked on a weeklong campaign to live on food stamps and lived on less than $30 worth of groceries. "The constrained food options I have for this one short week highlight for me ... what many hardworking families have to deal with week after week," Booker wrote.
Booker said he embarked on the food stamp project following a complaint by a constituent that nutrition is not the government's responsibility. "This comment caused me to reflect on the families and children in my community who benefit from SNAP assistance and deserve deeper consideration," he wrote. "In my own quest to better understand the outcomes of SNAP assistance, I suggested to this specific Twitter user that we both live on a SNAP equivalent food budget for a week and document our experience."
In "25 Accomplishments in 25 Months," Booker and the Newark council proclaimed successes in adding more police to the city streets, reducing violent crime, expanding public parks, improving access to public transportation and attracting new businesses to the area and creating jobs.
Cory Booker Memes
In 2012, Booker saved a woman from a burning house, news of which spread rapidly across social media. On the social network Twitter, users elevated Booker to a sort of hero status, writing that he could "win a game of Connect Four with only three moves" and that "super heroes dress up as Cory Booker on Halloween."