By Hailey Hensley and Shaun Chornobroff
U.S. Senator Cory Booker addressed a number of local and nationwide discussion points in an occasionally comedic but serious discussion with students, faculty, and alumni when he spoke to a virtual audience of 150+ at a Rebovich Institute event on March 30th People spoke.
Booker opened the event with a series of jokes followed by a passionate message about the COVID-19 pandemic and the nation’s resilience.
“Many people have not only lost their loved ones, but have also lost their livelihoods. Our economy still hurts. There are still many people in our state in this country who are deeply food unsafe. And it’s times like these in the dark of challenges that I’ve always seen the best of New Jersey, ”said Booker.
Booker, a Democrat and the first black Senator to represent New Jersey, commented on the attacks on the Capitol on January 6 and the emotions that flooded him on that historic day.
“I think this is one of the most shameful moments in American history that I’ve seen alive … it was deeply hurtful to me. I still remember fling the Senate with some of my colleagues and seeing the outrage over watching the most deliberate body in the world, the American seat of power, being forced to flee, ”he said.
Booker made prominence in the political landscape in 2006 when he was elected Mayor of Newark and gave a passionate response when asked if lead pollutes the city’s water.
“This is something this country could do something about, but we haven’t shown the moral will to get them to invest the money in America to make sure there are no city, no school, no home lines You can remove them all for a very limited number, ”he said.
The first question the senator was asked was about a controversial law in Georgia criticized for restricting citizens’ voting rights.
“There were approximately 36 documented cases of personal election fraud. With over a billion votes cast, you are more likely to be struck by lightning twice than to encounter the kind of scam they are [conservative lawmakers] They claim they have to somehow protect people from it, ”said Booker, who was first elected to the Senate in 2013.
Booker’s most passionate moment of the night came after a brief exchange in Spanish with Junior Accounting Major Sleyker Tarifa, who asked Booker in English how he would protect students like him who benefit from DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) guidelines.
“I find it amazing that my nation, embracing these values, would ever allow a person like you, an American like you, to be deported from this country,” said Booker. “You want to talk about shameful. That would be a self-inflicted wound, as “dreamers” bring in hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity every year. You are a first responder. They serve in our military, they train our children. ”
Rider News Editor-in-Chief Stephen Neukam introduced Booker during the event and was not involved in the writing or editing of this story.
Caption: Booker touched on issues relevant to New Jersey residents, such as the Newark water crisis and voting rights.
Caption: Booker is the first black senator to represent New Jersey and has been a staunch Democrat throughout his political career.