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David Cruz | NJTV News

Booker Wraps Nevada Swing with Immigration Reform Roundtable
David Cruz | NJTV News | July 5, 2019 | Politics, The Booker Beat
Nevada is among top five states for influx of immigrants, and Sen. Booker has been discussing the issue after saying how his administration would deal with immigration problems
I felt that, too
David Cruz | NJTV News | July 5, 2019 | The Booker Beat
July 7, 2019 — We don’t get a lot of earthquakes in Jersey. A few years ago I felt a weird bumping on Sherman Avenue that turned out to be part of a small tremor in what some people call Central Jersey. But a genuine, room-shaking, “holy crap what the hell was that” tremor was a new one for me. We were starting an edit in my 13th floor hotel room when I felt a rolling shake, sort of like a subway car passing under the theater. Thinking that my hotel — which frankly has seen better days — was about to collapse, I stood up (like that was gonna help) and looked around the room. “What the hell,” I exclaimed to my photographer Brendan Smyth, whose quizzical look was also no help at all. The shaking lasted maybe 30 seconds. When the room did not begin to pancake on top of the 12 floors beneath me I realized it was an earthquake. In fact, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Southern California, about 250 miles west, had just hit. It was my first earthquake (Brendan’s too) and I’m sure neither of us followed whatever the proper protocols are for earthquake survival. I tried to shoot some video on my phone but did the ol’ pause instead of record so I have no record of the hangers rattling in the closet or our stunned faces when we realized what had just happened. We were on deadline, and it was already mid-afternoon in Jersey. We were both OK. It wasn’t the end of the world; it was just Thursday morning on the Booker Beat.— David Cruz
Booker Answers Questions about Fundraiser with Essex County Executive
David Cruz | NJTV News | July 4, 2019 | Politics, The Booker Beat
Immigration and immigrant detention have become big issues in senator’s campaign this week
Booker’s Plan Promises Executive Action on Immigration
David Cruz | NJTV News | July 2, 2019 | Politics, The Booker Beat
Senator announces a plan to close majority of federally-run immigrant detention centers
At First Democratic Debate, Booker Makes Inroads
David Cruz | NJTV News | June 27, 2019 | The Booker Beat
New Jersey’s senator talked the most and inspired the most web queries
Booker Takes Aim at Biden Days Before South Carolina Speech
David Cruz | NJTV News | June 21, 2019 | Politics, The Booker Beat
Rebukes former vice president over comments about having worked closely with prominent segregationists
Murphy Takes Aim at Senate President on Guns and Budget
David Cruz | NJTV News | June 20, 2019 | Politics
Governor calls out Senate President Sweeney on budget issues and for refusing to post all of Murphy’s gun-safety bills
Judge Denies Norcross Bid to Delay Investigation of Tax Breaks by Task Force
David Cruz | NJTV News | June 18, 2019 | Budget
After hours of arguments from both side in Mercer County Criminal Court, South Jersey powerbroker fails to obstruct examination of controversial tax incentives
Public Unions Make Their Voices Heard — in Favor of Millionaires Tax
David Cruz | NJTV News | June 14, 2019 | Budget
A millionaire governor and union rank-and-file say no time like present for millionaires tax, regardless of what Senate President Sweeney says
Good News/Bad News for Booker in Monmouth University Poll
David Cruz | NJTV News | June 13, 2019 | Politics
Candidate’s overall poll numbers remain low, but his positive message seems to be registering
Monmouth University Poll Is Good News/Bad News for Booker
David Cruz | NJTV News | June 12, 2019 | Politics, The Booker Beat
Although candidate’s overall poll numbers remain low, his positive message seems to be registering
Camden’s Show of Support for EDA Tax Breaks Amid Task Force Controversy
David Cruz | NJTV News | June 12, 2019 | Budget
South Jersey delegation lavishes praise on Economic Development Authority even as strife continues over the tax breaks it oversaw for Camden
Booker Remains Positive as Three-State Tour Wraps Up
David Cruz | NJTV News | June 3, 2019 | The Booker Beat
During his latest bout of campaigning, the senator saw larger crowds and the reception to his events was positive
Wheels Up on the West Coast
David Cruz | NJTV News | June 3, 2019 | The Booker Beat
June 3, 2019 — Ready to board a cross-country flight back to Newark. Just a few notes from this most recent road trip. *Wow. The desert is quiet.* I mean like, “this is the perfect sound studio” quiet. Turning off the road in the Mojave Desert, getting out of the car and just listening to the blanket of silence is pretty damn amazing. The Joshua trees, all majestic and craggy. The sky, a rich deep blue, dotted by cumulus clouds. A lizard looks back at us as if we’re uninvited guests in his living room and darts away. I think it was a good idea to drive from Las Vegas to San Francisco. *That time Yosemite blew my mind.* If you’ve never been or, like me, never really expected to want to go, you really need to think again. I now know why some people get all profound about nature. When you’re dwarfed by every tree around you and mountains seem to pop up from the ground at every turn, you can get very high. And you can realize how infinitesimal you are. Muir Woods, half an hour from downtown San Francisco. Why would you not ride your bike there every day? Redwoods that echo the centuries, outlasting dinosaurs, and, most probably, us. (Profound, I know.) I do not have a driver’s license, so I speak only as a passenger, but driving the country — crisscrossing Iowa three or four times and clocking 600 miles from Nevada to California — is something anyone running for president should do. Being American really is a thing. We experienced the great panoply — from the Caucasianest rural Iowans to the most colorful people on the streets of the Mission District in SF. We do come at it from different angles but seeing us all in a compressed 13-day span actually gave me some hope that we can survive these most toxic of times. (Power to the people, man.) Lastly, as probably the only press outlet dedicating this much time to one campaign, I can report with some certainty that — even with poll numbers still in single digits — this was a good two weeks for Booker. It started with good crowds in Iowa and ended with two speeches in San Francisco that resonated with important audiences. If media mentions mean anything, Booker for sure got his fair share. Now it’s on to the first debate and an opportunity to have a breakout moment. It’s only June but those early runs can pay big dividends in the late innings. The senator’s in South Carolina and Iowa over the next two weeks. I'll rest up a bit, but I think I’m getting the hang of this. Back on the Booker Beat soon. — David Cruz
Booker’s Buxton Connection and How It Informs His Campaign
David Cruz | NJTV News | June 1, 2019 | The Booker Beat
Senator talks about his family connections to Iowa mining town where, for a brief time, equality prevailed and segregation was not countenanced
Booker Looks to Share Stage with Top Tier Candidates in San Francisco Swing
David Cruz | NJTV News | June 1, 2019 | The Booker Beat
New Jersey senator’s ratings are currently in single digits, but his campaign is looking for him to break out of the pack
Booker’s Buxton Connection and How It Informs His Campaign
David Cruz | NJTV News | May 30, 2019 | Politics
Senator talks about his family connections to Iowa mining town where, for a brief time, equality prevailed and segregation was not countenanced
Booker Spends Day in Nevada Discussing Guns, Voting Rights and Education
David Cruz | NJTV News | May 28, 2019 | Politics, The Booker Beat
‘I’m never going to sell you this idea that I’m the savior to solve all these problems,’ senator tells students in Las Vegas
Booker Says Early Polls Don’t Reflect Facts on the Ground in Iowa
David Cruz | NJTV News | May 27, 2019 | Politics, The Booker Beat
Senator may not have moved up in the polls, but he impresses Iowans with his knowledge of issues important to farmers
Storm Chastened
David Cruz | NJTV News | May 27, 2019 | The Booker Beat
May 26, 2019 — I have been known to lose, drop, and break equipment. I confess: microphones, cell phones, digital audio recorders, you name it, I’ve misplaced or broken it. It’s been a while, though, since I’ve damaged or misplaced any company equipment. But yesterday proved that I can still pull some bone-headed plays. Historic downtown Burlington, Iowa was buzzing with the excitement of the annual Snake Alley Criterium, a physically demanding bike race that includes multiple trips up Snake Alley, a crooked 200-foot-elevation stretch of street that gives the race its name. Exhausted by the three-block walk through this excitement we quickly found the Bent River Brewing Company — a former JC Penney with soaring ceilings, wood detail everywhere, a mezzanine and balcony that’s been converted into a craft beer pub. After a delicious lunch, we hit the road to Muscatine, roughly 50 miles north, where Sen. Cory Booker was scheduled to tour areas affected by recent flooding. (Muscatine sits on the banks of the Mississippi River.) The event was a bit of a dud, in terms of visible flood damage and, for us, did not last very long. It was after dinner when I realized that my credit card, which gets a workout on the road, was not in my wallet. Thankfully, the folks at the Bent River Brewing Company still had it. We were five minutes from our hotel in Muscatine but, facing a long drive the following morning, we decided another hour-long drive at the end of the day beat an hour-long drive to begin the following day. As we headed south to Burlington, a huge electrical storm was bearing east. Our crude calculations suggested we’d meet the storm in Burlington. We were slightly off. By the time we reached Burlington, grabbed my card and began our trek back, night had fallen. With the NBA Eastern Conference Finals as our musical backdrop we (I say “we” but mean Brendan Smyth, our photographer/editor) drove for an hour under relentlessly volatile skies, mostly in silence punctuated by an occasional “Holy crap!” (and worse). We don’t usually get this kind of fireworks display with our storms back home. Then the rain came. Big drops, falling hard, followed by gusty winds that pushed and pulled on our vehicle. (I’m told these are not optimum driving conditions.) Then, as we entered the Muscatine city limits, quiet. Streets, bone dry. Skies, only partly cloudy. It was as if the crazy storm we had just driven through had never happened. Even the car was dry. At the front desk of the AmericInn, off US-61, the front desk clerk was surprised when I recounted our harrowing drive. “Was there a storm?” she asked absently as she checked me in. “We didn't get any rain or anything.” “It was a little hairy,” I responded. “It couldn't have been that bad. Just a little lightning,” she said. “We just missed a tornado yesterday. It’s just summer.” As I dropped my bags in my room and plopped down on my bed, exhausted, I asked myself “Was it all a dream?” Nah, just the start of summer in Iowa. — David Cruz
Cory Booker Returns to Iowa, Hopes to Break Out of Middle of the Pack
David Cruz | NJTV News | May 24, 2019 | Politics, The Booker Beat
Senator focuses on critical first primary state as polls show him with 4 percent support
Camden Leaders Push Back Against Critics of Tax Breaks
David Cruz | NJTV News | May 17, 2019 | Budget
Former Gov. Jim Florio among those who vouch for value of tax incentives in revitalizing the city
Camden Residents Blast Tax Incentives — and Norcross
David Cruz | NJTV News | May 15, 2019 | Budget
Citizens contend that not much has changed despite $1 billion in incentives for companies in the orbit of powerbroker George Norcross
Booker Rolls Out Gun Control Proposals
David Cruz | NJTV News | May 6, 2019 | Politics, The Booker Beat
Senator’s plan includes gun-safety courses and background checks
A Hard Day’s Fortnight
David Cruz | NJTV News | April 27, 2019 | The Booker Beat
April 27, 2019 — Two weeks can seem like a lifetime, until they fly by like billboards on a highway. You're at Newark Airport and then, suddenly, you're flying and driving and driving and flying through Omaha, Sergeant Bluff, Carroll, Nevada (the city), Minden, Des Moines, Sioux City, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Reno, Los Angeles, Houston, Spartanburg, Union (not the one in Jersey), Manning, Columbia, and Charleston. I can understand why someone would wanna be president, I'm just not sure why someone would wanna actually run for president. It is grueling and repetitive; flying sucks, and hotels can vary dramatically in quality. It isn't always easy to get a good meal, let along quality coffee, and if you're trying to get some regular exercise in, forget that. In a couple of hotels there were "fitness centers" but try hitting the treadmill when schools in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics volleyball championships are staying there, too. A man has to keep his dignity. But for anyone in the journalism game, it's a trip you don't pass up. In many ways it was the most exhilarating thing I've ever done. Meeting total strangers (from strange lands) and talking to them about their politics and their thoughts about where we are as a nation, and who might be able to change things for the better. Explaining who the hell Cory Booker is. (Maybe one in 10 had heard of him.) And convincing people that no one from Jersey ever says “Joisey.” Watching a campaign in its infancy, struggling to gain its footing, hearing a dramatic, expertly delivered stump speech so many times that you almost have it memorized yourself. Running into the candidate at airports and sometimes three rows ahead of you on the same plane. Kibitzing and then, two hours later, elbowing your way into the gaggle and grilling him on charter schools and lead in the water back home, political strategy, and his low standing in the polls. I don't know if Booker is going to be able to come out on top in a field of 20. Nobody I know expects him to. But he is indefatigable. And will not only pose for selfies for an hour but now sends personal messages to your boyfriend who couldn't make the event. (Of course, the campaign tracks all that stuff, but, for the faithful, it's a pretty cool thing.) There are months and months to go before the Iowa caucuses, but, you watch, it's gonna fly by, and before you know it, Election Day will be upon us. So, as I sit here on my final night, in this moderately priced hotel room near the airport, I'm gonna sip this complimentary coffee and fondly recall the billboards passing on the road I've just traveled. The quaint Sioux City Public Museum; that dusty highway detour we had to take because the main road to Minden was flooded out; the breathtaking sight of the Sierra Nevada; the thin, cool air of the state park in Washoe Valley (population 3,019, elevation 8,900 feet) and cool, clean waters at the edge of Lake Tahoe; the fiery sunset over Virginia Lake, in Reno; Easter Sunday on the Venice Beach boardwalk; a surprisingly hip night of rock ‘n’ roll and southern hospitality from the Indian waitress (Ameena) with a southern twang; and the old black couple who took genuine interest in our work and expressed gratitude about what we do. I wore my press pass every day, and I never felt prouder than I did at that moment. Things really do pass by fast when you’re speeding down the highway. It’s good to keep your eyes open and looking out the window. — David Cruz
Booker Wraps Up Cross-Country Tour, Looking for Momentum
David Cruz | NJTV News | April 26, 2019 | Politics, The Booker Beat
Cory Booker ends his two-week cross-country 'Justice For All' tour in South Carolina, which is among the early states holding primaries next year
Dems Tout Diversity but White Males Top 2020 Voter Polls
David Cruz | NJTV News | April 25, 2019 | Politics, The Booker Beat
As former Vice President Joe Biden announced that he will seek the Democratic nomination, Sen. Cory Booker said Democrats should celebrate their diverse field of candidates
‘Who Run the World?’
David Cruz | NJTV News | April 25, 2019 | The Booker Beat
April 25, 2019 — Outside the Granville M. Sawyer Auditorium on the campus of Texas Southern University in Houston about 1,000 or so mostly young women of color waited in line under drizzly skies to get into the She the People Presidential Forum. Inside, Sen. Cory Booker and many of his rivals for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination (including Beto, Bernie, Kamala, Warren, and others with not enough recognition to go by single names) waited to answer questions from She the People co-founder Aimee Allison, Joy-Ann Reid of MSNBC, and selected — one would presume pre-screened — audience members. “...I’m tempted to say, ‘OK, ladies, let’s get in formation,’” said Reid as she was introduced, quoting Houston’s most famous daughter. With (MS)NBC as a major co-sponsor of a Democratic presidential forum, one could assume a progressive focus to the subject matter and answers. As one of the few events with more than a couple of candidates in the same building, it promised a lot. But it delivered less than that, unfortunately. From Booker to Warren, the answers were as predictable as the questions, and the appreciative audience’s yelping, whooping and applauding every buzzword and policy promise made this feel more like a pep rally than a forum. (Booker was in full stump-speech mode. I’ve almost memorized his by now. I’m not as well-versed in the other stump speeches, but I heard a lot of familiar lines.) Many of the young women we spoke to said they didn’t really have their minds made up on which candidate to support. Who could blame them? With what will be 20 candidates essentially saying the same thing — I know that’s an oversimplification, campaign teams — it’s hard to separate the candidates based on much, other than personality. And it’s also way early in the process. Today, the candidates played to the crowd and generated much more applause than analysis. In that respect, it’s hard to say whether the She the People event did what it was supposed to do: according to a spokesperson, ask the candidates “what are you really gonna do to center our communities in meaningful and powerful ways beyond the rhetoric that we always hear from Donald Trump?” I’m not sure what that even means, but I’m sure if someone had said it during the forum it would have drawn tremendous applause. — David Cruz
Vying with Other 2020 Dems for Votes from Women of Color
David Cruz | NJTV News | April 24, 2019 | Politics, The Booker Beat
Sen. Cory Booker, other Democratic presidential candidates take part in Texas forum that focuses on issues facing women of color
Booker, LA Mayor Talk Environment but Not Endorsement
David Cruz | NJTV News | April 22, 2019 | Politics, The Booker Beat
Los Angeles mayor offers introductions but no endorsement; Booker sidesteps assertions that he either ignored or missed the lead water crisis in Newark when mayor
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