On the campaign trail on Tuesday, Sen. Cory Booker was talking to students at an event in North Las Vegas that was sponsored by the Clark County Black Caucus and the Black Student Union. In town there’s a large black community and the campaign know they need to reach black voters and younger voters in particular. That used to be a Cory Booker cornerstone.
Booker took a question from 18-year-old black student Jeremiah Wright.
“As a young African American male, how would voting for you benefit my generation as a whole?” Wright asked.
“The challenge we have a lot of times is I think a lot of fellas don’t understand how powerful they are, that you actually don’t have to wait for a politician to do anything for you. The more involved you are, the more engaged you are in your own community, the more that politicians are going to come to you and ask you, ‘What should I do?’ So instead of you listening to us, I want to create an America where more come to you and start listening to you. And the way we’re going to do that is by trying to get a lot more engagement in politics,” Booker said.
“I agree with what you’re saying, and it sounds good. But, you know, it’s like a lot. We got to do it one step at a time because I know all this stuff, they’ll talk about it and all this, but then when it comes down to it,” said Wright.
“But change doesn’t happen, and this is why I keep saying this, change doesn’t happen by electing one person to one office,” Booker said. “It just doesn’t, and it never has. The civil rights movement, did we get those gains because a bunch of guys on the Senate floor suddenly said, ‘It’s time those Negro people have some rights’? No, we got it because we were active. We protested, we demanded that change. And so, I look at what’s happening in Nevada now. Your 2018 elections here were amazing. You guys turned the Legislature, you elected a Democratic governor. And I look at what he’s doing right now. They’re looking at changing the marijuana laws. They created gun safety laws. They’re changing a lot of laws that are going to make a difference on the streets of your community. But that’s an incremental change. And so, yeah, it will make a difference if we get a Democratic governor, it’ll make a difference if we get a Democratic mayor, a Democratic president, but at the end of the day we got to make that change together. I’m never going to sell you this idea that I’m the savior to solve all these problems. That’s why I said at the end it’s got to be ‘we,’ it’s got to be ‘us,'” said Booker.
We asked Booker a burning question regarding the civil war between north and South Jersey, political powerbroker George Norcross versus Gov. Phil Murphy, and whether the senator has the inclination to mediate.
“I have a lot of respect for our governor, and he is the governor of our state in following his agenda, but we have incredible leaders. Steve Sweeney and I have stood together on so many issues side-by-side. And so, I have a lot of faith that they’re going to work out any challenges and disagreements because they both swore an oath to serve the people and I think that they can get that done,” Booker said.
Does he think they can do it without his help?
“I think they can do it with all of our help. These are tough jobs and they need the support of all New Jerseyans to get things done that are really impacting our state and our communities, and I know that they’re going to rise to that calling.”
Booker moves on to San Francisco for a couple of events this weekend.