Potential 2020 presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker, D-NJ, spent the day campaigning in Las Vegas for Democratic candidates on the Nevada ticket, but that wasn’t the only thing on his agenda.
Booker was also able to take some time out to talk to students about his personal story of triumph and success at the William S. Boyd School of Law on UNLV’s campus.
Politics Now Co-host Steve Sebelius was at the event and spoke with Booker briefly afterward, and according to Steve — in addition to being a serious lawmaker, Booker has a funny bone.
Booker’s a very successful senator, but he lives in the same low-income neighborhood in Newark where he moved as a young lawyer to help lower-income families.
Booker was later elected to the Newark City Council and then as the mayor before getting elected in 2013 to the U.S. Senate.
Booker is familiar to many because of the role he played in the recent U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He said the Senate was hamstrung because it didn’t know how to deal with sexual harassment and assault allegations lodged against Kavanaugh.
Booker says an overhaul is needed.
“The Senate is so far behind where it needs to be,” Booker said. “We don’t even have processes that are updated in terms of vetting sexual harassment complaints within [senate] offices. And so there’s a lot we have to do to be a body that is worthy of the faith and respect, frankly, of many people who are survivors now who look at us the way we just operated and have lost faith. We need to learn from this and move forward in a way that honors, respects women.”
Booker told the Boyd class that while political problems may seem impossible, they should do what they can locally to create a more unified and just society. He also said that change will begin at the grassroots level with individuals, rather than at the national level with political figures. And that’s why he spent some of his time in Las Vegas encouraging people to go to the polls.
“If Nevada comes out and votes, we’re going to take back the Senate and the house,” Booker proclaimed. “If we don’t, then Jacky Rosen is going to have a tougher time winning, and congresspeople like Congressman Horsford are going to have to come out and vote. When you have high voter turnouts, look at the history, Democrats win. And this is a moment where people cannot just sit back and wait for other people to do it. Democracy is not a spectator sport. You’ve got to get on the field and participate yourself.”
When Booker was asked about his potential 2020 plans to run for president, he said he was focused on the mid-term elections coming up in about two weeks.