Mayor, Newark, New Jersey
What He's Done In 2010, under Booker's leadership, New Jersey's largest city experienced its first murder-free month in 44 years. The mayor persuaded Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to donate $100 million to Newark's beleaguered public schools, which graduate only half of all students. The cash infusion enabled the city to extend the school day by up to two hours, provide free books to kids, and open four experimental high schools, including an academy catering to dropouts and teens released from prison. Last April, Booker also persuaded Panasonic to move its headquarters to Newark and build a riverfront skyscraper that will anchor more than 1,000 jobs. And he's refreshingly hands-on: After a major blizzard, he fielded a tweet asking for the city's help shoveling a pensioner's driveway: "I will do it myself," the mayor replied. "Where does he live?"
Admirers Say "Cory's done an incredible job in Newark," says New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. "He stands up to special interests. And he tackles tough problems with innovative solutions."
Enemies Say Glenn Beck, taking a break from bashing Van Jones, knocked Booker for failing to solve Newark's problems in a single term: "Four years in office, and Newark still ranks as the 10th-most-poverty-stricken city in America," Beck groused. "Word to your mommy."
Gives Us Pause Crime is on the rise again this year after a budget shortfall forced Booker to slash the police force.