Before a crowd of 4,000 people, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) launched his presidential campaign with a kick-off event in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey on Saturday afternoon.
Booker, who was mayor of Newark before running for the Senate in 2013, evoked Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in his speech: “We are here today to say we can’t wait,” Booker told supporters.
“We can’t wait when powerful forces are turning their prejudice into policy and rolling back the rights that generations of Americans fought for and heroes died for. We can’t wait when this administration is throwing children fleeing violence into cages, banning Muslims from entering the nation founded on religious liberty, and preventing brave transgender Americans from serving the country they love,” Booker said.
He also talked about issues he would address in his administration including closing the racial wealth gap, addressing climate change and fixing our broken justice system.
Booker also referred to his Newark roots and emphasized unity, telling the hometown crowd, “I learned right here, on these streets, that you can’t make progress by dividing people, you can’t make progress by stoking fear.”
Booker, who is the former Mayor of Newark, says: "I learned right here, on these streets, that you can't make progress by dividing people, you can't make progress by stoking fear" pic.twitter.com/caI57rBNi8
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 13, 2019
Now, Booker will embark on a national “Justice for All” tour and will hold events in early primary states such as Iowa, Georgia and Nevada. Booker will also talk about his $60 billion “baby bond” proposal, which would help close the racial wealth gap by giving every child born in the U.S. a $1,000 bond at birth. According to Booker’s plan, the government would then contribute to the fund until the child turns 18, with poorer children receiving more funds while children of wealthy parens would receive little to nothing. That could give poor young adults as much as $50,000 to invest in their education, a home, a business, or retirement. Booker would fund the project by raising property taxes on the rich.
Booker is currently in the middle of the Democratic pack in polling, but campaign manager Addisu Demissie told reporters he is not too concerned: “You’ve got to organize and got to get hot at the end. We’re not building this campaign to win polls in April 2019. This is a long race and there are going to be a lot of ups and downs.”