2017 SXSW Featured Speaker
Cory Booker was raised in Harrington Park, living his life as a proud New Jerseyan. After graduating from Northern Valley Regional High School, Booker received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University where he played on the varsity football team. While at Stanford, he also was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and went on to study at the University of Oxford where he received an honors degree in History. Booker then completed his education at Yale Law School, receiving his J.D. in 1997.
After law school, Booker moved to Newark – where he still lives to this day – and started a nonprofit organization to provide legal services for low-income families and help tenants take on slumlords, improve living conditions, and stay in their homes. At the age of twenty-nine, Booker was elected to the Newark City Council from the city’s Central Ward. In the seventeen years since, Booker has worked tirelessly at the local and national levels to improve the lives of New Jerseyans and Americans.
Starting in 2006, Booker proudly served as Newark’s mayor for more than seven years. During his tenure, the city entered its largest period of economic growth since the 1960s. In addition, overall crime declined and the quality of life for residents improved due to initiatives such as more affordable housing, new green spaces and parks, increased educational opportunities, and more efficient city services.
On October 16th, 2013, Booker won a special election to represent New Jersey in the United States Senate. On November 4, 2014, Senator Booker was re-elected to a full six year term. As New Jersey’s junior Senator, Cory Booker has brought an innovative and bipartisan approach to tackling some of the most difficult problems facing New Jersey and our country.
Senator Booker has established himself as an innovative and bipartisan problem-solver committed to developing collaborative solutions that address some of our most complex challenges. Whether it’s advocating for more federal resources to modernize New Jersey’s transportation system, securing funds to continue the long recovery from Superstorm Sandy, or ensuring that our communities are safe from the effects of pollution and climate change, Booker has proven his steadfast commitment to standing up for what matters most to New Jerseyans.
Booker has also emerged as a national leader in the Congressional push for common sense criminal justice reform, advocating for front-end sentencing reforms, pushing for the banning of juvenile solitary confinement in federal facilities, and spearheading legislation to make the hiring process fairer for the formerly incarcerated. Booker has also partnered with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to create a number of economic proposals, from increased small business investment to apprenticeship programs, with the hope of fostering greater economic mobility and opportunity for individual Americans.
Booker serves on the Senate’s committees on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Small Business and Entrepreneurship; Environment and Public Works; and Foreign Relations.
He is the ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, the Senate panel responsible for overseeing Amtrak and passenger rail in the U.S.