Editorial: Senator-elect Cory Booker needs South Jersey listening tour

By South Jersey Times
on October 18, 2013

Newark Mayor Cory Booker led his opponent Steve Lonegan in polls throughout the race for U.S. Senate, so his big win Wednesday in a low turnout special election is no real surprise.

Congratulations to our new senator. What remains now is to see what Booker will do in Washington.

What do the people of New Jersey expect from Cory Booker?

It goes without saying in this period of congressional turmoil that, first and foremost, we want a senator willing to work easily with colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Booker, a Democrat, should be able to do that.

Here at home, Booker has pledged himself to work for more and better jobs for New Jersey residents as well as educational opportunities for their children. His website states that his “Number One priority will be ensuring economic security ... putting New Jerseyans back to work in good-paying jobs.”

New Jersey continues to lag behind in job recovery, and federal assistance in that recovery is long overdue. In education, Booker has made some gains in Newark. Since he took office, 61 percent more children have been enrolled in preschool and private philanthropy has soared, providing 120,000 books for low-income students. He has also supported school-based health centers that provide medical, dental and behavioral care to students and their families.

But on Wednesday, Booker did not do that well in South Jersey, including several traditionally Democrat counties. He squeaked by with barely more than half the vote in Gloucester, Cumberland and Atlantic counties. Any Democrat who fails to carry a stronghold like Gloucester County with more than a 0.5 margin isn’t trying very hard. And, his party supporters lack enthusiasm for him.

South Jersey needs to get to know Booker. Booker needs to get to know South Jersey.

Today, the Republicans in Congress tout many young rising stars. At age 44, Booker is well placed to join their ranks on the Democratic side of the aisle. We look forward to his representation of our state. He has to come down here and listen to us, though.

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commented 2013-12-29 23:19:18 -0800
Thank you