Cory Booker basks in glow of big day as nation's newest Senator

By Amy Ellis Nutt/The Star-Ledger
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on November 01, 2013

Sen. Cory Booker addresses hundreds of supporters in the Russell Senate Office Building with Sen. Robert Menendez at his left and Rep. Donald Payne Jr. at his right on Booker's first day as a US Senator. Washington, DC 10/31/13 (John Munson/The Star-Ledger)

 

WASHINGTON — Lost in an ocean of admirers, Cory Booker stood on a small dais in a crowded ballroom at the Liaison Hotel on Thursday night, posing for photos. A waiting line snaked through the crowd as Booker stood as patient as a groom receiving well-wishers.

It was 8 p.m. and he was already due at the next party, but the new U.S. Senator from New Jersey was content to bask in the glow of flashing cameras just a little bit longer.

Cory Booker became New Jersey’s first African-American U.S. Senator and the first former Newark mayor to ascend to higher political office when he was sworn in at high noon Thursday in the well of the U.S. Senate.

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Booker Joins the Senate and Casts His First Vote

The New York Times

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday administered the oath of office to Cory A. Booker, recently elected to the Senate.

 

WASHINGTON — Cory A. Booker, who gained celebrity as a danger-defying, super-tweeting mayor of Newark, was sworn in as New Jersey’s junior United States senator on Thursday. He is the first African-American to be elected to the chamber since Barack Obama in 2004.

Mr. Booker’s arrival in Washington did not come with the same political portent rendered by another high-profile senator who arrived here via a special election — Scott Brown, Republican of Massachusetts, whose 2010 victory signaled the ensuing power of the Tea Party movement, cost Democrats a 60-vote supermajority and placed a Republican in the seat held for nearly half a century by Edward M. Kennedy. (Senator Brown lost the seat to Elizabeth Warren in 2012, thus ending his swing-vote-laden tenure.)

But Senator Booker was met with a fair amount of attention from his fellow Democrats, whose excitement seemed to stem less from the fact that, after Senator Frank R. Lautenberg died in June, their party retained the seat as expected — but rather at his significant national star wattage and the fund-raising potential it may bring. He joins Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who was appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley earlier this year to replace Jim DeMint, who retired, as one of only two black senators.

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No Common Ground for Christie and Buono on Social Issues, Policies

Colleen O'Dea | November 1, 2013

NJSpotlight

 

On issues as diverse as abortion, same-sex marriage, and gun control, the differences between Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic challenger Sen. Barbara Buono could not be clearer.

That is, if anyone could find Christie’s positions.

Buono’s website has a section on issues that includes several position papers. Christie’s site, however, does not. The governor's campaign site only contains brief biographies of Christie and Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno; a description of seven accomplishments during his current term; contribution, contact and volunteer forms; a video archive and news releases, most of which are about ads and endorsements. This is quite different from his 2009 campaign website, which had the same Internet address and a full section on issues.

“The Governor’s positions on these issues are public and well documented during his time as Governor,” said Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for the Christie campaign.

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Does Oliver still want to be Speaker? "Not really"

By PolitickerNJ Staff | October 30th, 2013

BY MARK J. BONAMO



NUTLEY - At a low-key fundraiser at the Franklin Steakhouse on Wednesday night, State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34) spoke her mind about some recently-raised voices within the state Democratic party regarding her future.  

"I'm not riding off into the sunset, but do I still want to be speaker? Not really," Oliver said, who has served as speaker, the state's third-highest ranking elected official, since 2010. "I will continue to be engaged with the new leadership team."  

Oliver's comments came just over a week after Assembly Vincent Prieto (D-32) and Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-6) issued a list of 41 members of the Democratic caucus in support of a new leadership team for the 2014-15 Legislature.  

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Christie Embraces Budget Strategies He Scorned as a Candidate

The New York Times

Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday in Moonachie, N.J., after addressing volunteer groups involved in hurricane recovery efforts.

 

Running for New Jersey governor in 2009, Chris Christie hammered the Democratic incumbent, Jon S. Corzine, for using “one-shot gimmicks” to balance the budget, called it “unconscionable” to take away property tax rebates and railed against issuing more debt for transportation projects, promising to “start saying no to spending.”

But in four years in office, Governor Christie, a Republican, has relied on the same kind of short-term strategies, diverting money for things like affordable housing and property tax rebates to balance the budget, and tapping funds intended for development of new sources of energy to keep the lights on in state buildings.

Mr. Christie made headlines when he declared he was canceling construction of a tunnel under the Hudson River to halt runaway costs, but he has issued more debt for transportation projects than any of his predecessors. Overall spending has risen 14 percent, and while state surpluses nationwide are growing, New Jersey’s has shrunk to its lowest percentage in a decade. The state’s bond rating is among the worst in the country.

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What if: 4 scenarios for post-election Senate shake-up if GOP captures 3 seats

By Matthew Arco | October 29th, 2013

 

In a Gov. Chris Christie post-election world, the New Jersey Senate looks a lot different on Nov. 6 than it does now.

Let’s presume the governor and his campaign are onto something when they disclosed Tuesday that the popular incumbent is investing “significant” resources into three legislative races for the final week of the campaign. The races in the districts are close, Christie’s campaign argues, and polling suggests support from the governor could put the GOP candidates “over the line.”

Democrats disagree. They say the Republican governor is putting on a good show in the final stretch after focusing much of the election season largely on only his own race.

By Matthew Arco | October 29th, 2013

In a Gov. Chris Christie post-election world, the New Jersey Senate looks a lot different on Nov. 6 than it does now.

Let’s presume the governor and his campaign are onto something when they disclosed Tuesday that the popular incumbent is investing “significant” resources into three legislative races for the final week of the campaign. The races in the districts are close, Christie’s campaign argues, and polling suggests support from the governor could put the GOP candidates “over the line.”

Democrats disagree. They say the Republican governor is putting on a good show in the final stretch after focusing much of the election season largely on only his own race.

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Christie, Buono Differ Sharply on Tax Cuts, Fiscal Challenges

Mark J. Magyar | October 30, 2013

NJSpotlight

Four years ago, Gov. Chris Christie inherited a state with a massive built-in budget deficit, a millionaire’s tax about to expire, and $2 billion in federal stimulus funding about to go away. Property taxes were rising, as was state debt. The state’s long-term unfunded liability for pension and retiree healthcare costs for teachers, police, and state and local government employees was a staggering $100 billion. The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund was broke, and a new $8 billion plan would soon be needed to pay for highway, bridge, and mass transit capital projects.

The policy choices that Christie made to address those fiscal crises, the tax and budget votes that his Democratic challenger, Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex), cast in her 18 years in the Legislature, and the sharply divergent approaches they would take to the state’s future funding challenges are the most critical differences they have laid out in their year-long campaigns:

  • While Christie rules out any tax increase and has been pushing the Legislature to implement an immediate tax cut to be funded out of future revenues, Buono questions whether the money will be there to pay for it. Instead, she favors reimposition of a millionaire’s tax to pay for property tax relief for lower- and middle-income taxpayers.

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Stephen Adubato honored by Christie, Booker and other high profile leaders in Newark

By Lisa Rose/The Star-Ledger
on October 28, 2013

Governor Chris Christie poses with Stephen Adubato during a ceremony honoring the founder of the Robert Treat Academy.

 

NEWARK — A remarkable throng of political superstars gathered on a blustery morning outside the North Ward Center in Newark to honor Stephen Adubato Sr., a Democratic power broker who helped start one of the city's most successful charter schools.

Governor Chris Christie and Senator elect Cory Booker shivered in the front row during a ceremony that culminated with the unveiling of a bronze statue of Adubato.

Democrats and Republicans alike paid tribute to the 80-year-old party boss and community leader. The heady mix of lawmakers included Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-10th Dist.), Sen. Kevin O'Toole (R-Essex), Essex County Executive, Joseph DiVincenzo and Gov. James McGreevey.

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While Adubato honored, Essex, Newark pols look at legacy, impact on mayoral race

By PolitickerNJ Staff | October 28th, 2013

By MARK J. BONAMO

 

NEWARK - Steve Adubato Sr.'s legacy is embedded deep in Brick City.  

Emerging as a Democratic leader in the 1960s, Adubato rose to political power  through coalition building and deal making at a time when the state's largest city was burning itself to the ground. 

"There were three sides - there was Amiri Baraka on one side, Tony Imperiale on the other side, and Steve Adubato standing on top of a car, saying 'Listen, there is no right or wrong,'" said Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo as he helped to unveil Adubato's statue on Oct. 28 on the grounds of the North Ward Center, remembering the charged atmosphere in Newark following the 1967 riot. "He said we should work together. He supported Ken Gibson over Hugh Addonizio [for Newark] mayor in 1970. He was the only one. I was so impressed. He stood strong. He was for real." 

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Would-be Successors to Cory Booker Offer Views on Newark’s Schools

John Mooney | October 25, 2013

NJSpotlight

The four men who seek to succeed Newark Mayor Cory Booker next year met is a sometimes raucous forum last night focusing on public education, a favorite topic of the outgoing mayor.

But they barely mentioned Booker’s name – only one uttered it at all – as the four hopefuls gave their own views of what role the mayor should play in the state-run school district that has been thrown into the national spotlight by Gov. Chris Christie’s ongoing reforms and the $100 million gift from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Facing a partisan full house at Science Park High School, the candidates were asked about their education priorities, especially regarding the state’s ongoing control of the district. The office of mayor currently has no official role in the schools but, as Booker showed, can still have considerable influence.

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