Redditors!!! Thanks again for the IAmA request last week -- you now have my full attention! Looking forward to answering your questions.

Quick bio: Mayor of Newark, NJ and founder of #waywire - a new media startup focused on empowering this generation with a voice to drive substantive change (check out more here.) Sign up to be alerted about our private beta launching soon!

Any questions I don't get to in the next couple of hours I'll follow up with a video. You can also continue the conversation by following me on Twitter and Facebook

Proof this is me

UPDATE: Thank you for all of your questions. Just hit the 5 hour mark -- taking a quick dinner break and will get back to it!

UPDATE: Thank you again for all of your questions! For some of the questions I did not get to I will follow up with a video.

UPDATE: Here's a video from my Reddit AMA

Comments: 2140 • Responses: 18  • Date: 

jihadaze1235 karma

Do you have any solutions or reactions to how devastating the War on Drugs has been to African-American communities, being that blacks make up just 14% of all drug users but half of those in prison for drug offenses, and considering that in the first decade of the War a cycle of absence began in black families as the rate of single black women tripled as so many black men were locked up, and that the economic situation of black folks began to decline in 1973 which is exactly when the War kicked into full gear?

The average black family now only has eight-cents of wealth for every buck owned by a white family, a gap that began to grow right as the War on Drugs started up:

The precise era that saw a drug-law fueled explosion in our prison population, the early 1970s, are the exact same years that the economic situation of blacks began to starkly worsen and that the gap between rich and poor is wrenched wide open. Beginning in those years and continuing into today, “the economic status of black compared to that of whites has, on average, stagnated or deteriorated."

Up until 1973, the precise year the Rockefeller Drug Laws were passed, the difference between black and white median income had been closing. But then that year it changed course, and in “an ominous bellwether… the gap between black and white incomes started to grow wider again, in both absolute and relative terms.” Direct empirical research into incarceration’s economic effects weren’t done until recently, when a Pew Charitable Trusts research paper showed that prior to imprisonment two-thirds of male inmates were employed and half were their family’s primary source of income. Additionally, upon release an ex-con’s annual earnings were reduced by 40%

And does it trouble you that the Department of Justice doesn't count mixed race half-black half-white prisoners in their drug-related racial prison statistics? All the War on Drugs has done is create more crime, and made hard drugs cheaper, more potent, and more prevalent.

corybooker1606 karma

This is a profound question. Let me give you another NJ statistic: Blacks make up less than 15% of our New Jersey's population but make up more than 60% of our prison population. I can't accept that facts like this one do anything but demonstrate the historic and current biases in our criminal justice system. I strongly recommend people read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander it has very compelling parts and data. People should not see these facts and this discussion as an indictment of any one race, sector, or occupation, it should be seen as a call to all of us to do the difficult things to make a change because this isn't a "black" problem this is an American problem.

The so called War on Drugs has not succeeded in making significant reductions in drug use, drug arrests or violence. We are pouring huge amounts of our public resources into this current effort that are bleeding our public treasury and unnecessarily undermining human potential. I see the BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of dollars being poured into the criminal justice system here in New Jersey and it represents big overgrown government at its worst. We should be investing dollars in programs and strategies that work not just to lower crime but work to empower lives.

It anguishes me how we seem to be so content with national and state recidivism rates of around 60% and how a staggering number of young black men are involved in the criminal justice system.

My police in Newark are involved in an almost ridiculous game of arresting the same people over and over again and when you talk to these men they have little belief that there is help or hope for them to break out of this cycle.

And it is a dangerous world for people caught up in the drug trade for it is so associated with violence. Data from Rutgers University is chilling: Over 80% of Newark's murder VICTIMS have been arrested before an average of 10 times.

I could go on but you asked about solutions and not about me reciting the problem.

Newark has attacked this problem in numerous ways:

  1. Reentry. We developed the state's first office of reentry, raised philanthropy and other grant dollars to support it and have some impressive data. Our office has connected well over 1,000 men and women with work and a number of our programs are producing some great results. One I will mention here is our Fatherhood program. The recidivism rate for this program has dropped among participants from over 60% for nonparticipants to 7% for participants. This one program has saved NJ taxpayers millions and actually helped contribute to our treasury because these folks are paying taxes and supporting their families. A little more about this program. Instead of condemning men for not being good fathers and preaching to them about how they should take care of their kids, this program looks to empower them in their fatherhood mission. The men are partnered with mentor dads, there are parenting classes, group activities with their kids and a partnership is created with the mother of the children. The men are helped with finding jobs and even with suits and more for interviews and work. All of this is so much cheaper than continued incarceration and it empowers participants (mostly black and latino) breaking the cycle of imprisonment. The challenge is funding . . . I work to raise money for it every year. Shouldn't we be investing in programs like these instead of pouring more and more dollars into programs that fail to achieve societal goals, perpetuate racial disparities and bleed countless tax dollars?

  2. Court reform . . . I discussed this in another answer but by having youth courts, veterans courts, drug courts and more, we are finding that we can empower people to stay out of jail and turn their lives around as opposed to get chewed up in the system. Court innovation is critical and Newark is leading the way in New Jersey thanks to great partners like The Center For Court Innovation in NYC.

  3. Jobs. It is so critical that we find ways to rapidly attach people to work when they come out of prison even if they are minimum wage transition jobs. Newark has done a lot in this area. I'm particularly proud of our Clean and Green program taking men and women right from returning from prison and giving them jobs helping to clean and green our city.

  4. Treatment. This is critical. Our state is just recently stepping up to expand treatment and make it a mandatory alternative to incarceration. In Newark we have some great treatment options but they too need more funding. Treatment saves taxpayer dollars, empowers individuals, stops recidivism, heals families and helps us all.

  5. Legal Help. Our nation's legal service and advocacy organizations are starving and so many people are getting chewed up by the criminal justice system just because they are poor and lack legal support. Newark New Jersey started our nations first ever pro bono legal service practice to support people coming home from prison. You would be amazed at the number of people who come out of prison, want to get a job and try to do the right thing but then their lives are entangled by countless legal problems and barriers that could be overcome with with some administrative legal support. Our program: Reentry Legal Service (ReLeSe), has given tremendous support to hundreds and hundreds of men and women coming home from prison, has helped them get ID, deal with outstanding warrants, expunge records and much more. And again, this program has saved taxpayer dollars by helping to liberate people from the cycle of recidivism.

  6. There is much more I can list in terms of things happening in Newark that point to solutions (I say "point to" because all of the things above are too small to deal with the thousand or more people that come home from prison each year in Newark and are supported by non-reoccurring grants and philanthropy - not sustainable streams of resources). But for my final point let me invoke the great Frederick Douglass.

Douglass says; "It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men." So much of this problem could be solved by strong education systems and other systems of support for our children before they get in trouble. So let me offer this as a final action item to heal our nation, end many insidious racial divisions and exalt our country's highest ideals. Mentoring. It takes 4 hours a month to mentor a child, the amount of time most watch TV in a day. There are hundreds of kids in Newark on waiting lists for a mentor: a positive adult in their lives who cares. Mentoring has demonstrated a profound ability to dramatically lower incarceration for youth and even lower early unsafe sex practices. And it has shown to boost youth outcomes from self-esteem to dramatically increasing school performance. EVERYONE who is qualified should be mentoring a child who is not their own OR encouraging others to do so OR supporting mentoring organizations. If every so-called "at risk" kid in Newark had a mentor we could dramatically end future crime in our city. So please advocate for policy changes, challenge our current system, fight for change but before you point fingers at all the things that aren't being done by others, look in the mirror at your self and ask could I be doing more for our kids.

In the end BIG changes are made most by small acts of kindness, decency, love and service.

laserboy1134334 karma

What impact do you feel decriminalization of marijuana would have on Newark?

corybooker677 karma

We have a serious marijuana problem in this country. It is not so much the direct effects of the drug, but more how we are responding to the drug's presence. To be clear: non-medicinal use of the drug is unhealthy for those who use it, and for society. While, for example, what we as americans eat, the alcohol we consume, and the legal, if regulated, polluting of our water and air have similarly dangerous (or more dangerous) effects, the legal status of these behaviors does not negate the adverse effects of marijuana use, even if they do speak to arguments in favor of consistent treatment under the law. This said, the vast majority of the damage done by marijuana comes from how we as a society have responded to its use and trade. We spend billions of dollars a year with little effect, and with the further price tag of delegitimization of our laws and law enforcement, and making criminals of so many otherwise law abiding americans. Everyday I see the ravages of addiction, violence, incarceration and tax payer dollars expended around the use of this drug.

I’m still developing more larger policy ideas on this issue. It is not enough to criticize - all of us who want to complain about what is must offer constructive ideas and thoughts about what can be.

But now here are some very specific thoughts and ideas:

  1. Medical Marijuana. It should be available and legal. The drug stores/pharmacies in Newark sell prescription drugs far more powerful, potentially dangerous, and addictive. Why is marijuana singled out and denied to sick people?

  2. I believe too many of my young people are being unfairly punished and chewed up by the criminal justice system over small amounts of marijuana. Their lives are being severely and adversely affected by the sheer number of arrests and incarcerations we are making. When a young person enters a system, it often leaves them worse off than other lower cost interventions would. So my team here in Newark is trying to pilot alternatives using philanthropy and any other funds we can scrape together. These programs will help prevent kids from getting swallowed by the system AND help them when they are released if preventative measures fail. Not to mention, programs such as these save taxpayer dollars... they are so much cheaper than our current rush to incarcerate. So from New Jersey's first youth court to the Newark YEES center, we are creating programs to help make real change. But these programs are too small and limited. We need policy makers at higher levels to reexamine how we treat non-violent drug offenders and yes, I believe it is time New Jersey considers, debates and examines decriminalization.

Finally, 3. I wish pot users out there would realize that they aren't just lighting up. They are not participating in civil disobedience simply by smoking. There are ways to protest and advocate for change, but until that change happens, their use of marijuana is likely perpetuating the violence here in Newark, in communities across our country and in other nations. This is not the way to make change. Breaking current drug laws just participates in the pain, anguish and challenges in places like Newark. This may seem to be hyperbole, but make no mistake about it: the drug trade and its violence is not about the TYPE of drug bought and sold -- it's about the money behind those drugs. Drug-related violence in Newark is just as easily caused by 100 dollars of weed as it is 100 dollars of heroin. The point is that it is part of a violent black market.

Until change happens, my team and I will continue to work to find practical solutions to this ongoing problem.

rockstarsball325 karma

do you think that the "$1000 bounty for illegal guns" has turned neighbor against neighbor and possibly set itself up to be abused? I understand new jersey laws in no way favor the 2nd amendment, however I can't see how this program does anything more than tie up police resources on several false leads and turn the community against itself.

corybooker239 karma

I'm sorry you term the program as a "bounty." The program in no way infringes on 2nd Amendment rights. In fact, I can only find one shooting in my city that was ever done by someone who had a legal gun. My concern is criminals or those with criminal convictions, getting their hands on illegal guns. Those cause the violence in our city. We set up an innovative program where if anyone gives us an anonymous tip that leads to the recovery of an illegal gun then they can get $1,000 dollars. This program has led to no abuse. In fact, we get few tips that don't lead to recovering a gun on a criminal. Further, we have had some of our biggest gun busts thanks to tips from folks who came forward. Their tips have taken numerous illegal guns off the street, saved lives and this year have contributed to us more than doubling the number of illegal guns that we have recovered off of criminals. Again, I see little problem in Newark of law abiding citizens owning guns - my experience as Mayor has made me more of a supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Law abiding gun owners are not driving gun crimes in my city. The people who are driving the problem are those that do not and should not have the right to buy guns in America, people who have broken the law before and have intent to use the guns in violent crimes or sell them to people who have that intent.

bringbacknameneko258 karma

What do you think of Chris Christie? Think he will get the VP card?

Also, just dropping in to say I saw you on The Rachel Maddow Show once, after Christie said he'd put legalizing gay marriage to a public vote. You spoke about why one should NEVER put minority rights in the hands of the majority, and you were very eloquent and what you said stuck with me. Good on you, sir.

corybooker402 karma

Thank you for your comments about me on Rachel Maddow. Truly I think it is glaringly unjust in our nation - a great country where the belief in freedom and equality under the law is held as a sacrosanct ideal - that we treat citizens differently just because of who they choose to love. As long as this injustice stands - that we do not have marriage equality under the law - I will speak out against it and work to change it. Right now in America there are tax laws, social security laws, immigration laws, and hundreds and hundreds of more laws that affect straight Americans differently than gay Americans around the marriage issue. This to me is indefensible. This is unjust. This is unAmerican. Here's a video with some more of my thoughts on this issue.

Finally about Chris Christie. I could write a dissertation on our disagreements. Here for example is a HUGE one. He should have signed mariage equality into law. But I don't think my voters elected me to stand around and disagree with the governor but to find ways to deliver for them and that necessitates he and I working together. So on issues I agree with the governor, we have made progress and on issues I disagree with him, I advocate against and will continue to speak out on: (like many environmental issues - for example he pulled out of the Regional Green House Gas Initiative).

But let me say this. Just because he and I disagree about everything from abortion rights to the best baseball team in our area (Christie: Mets, Me: Yankees) doesn't mean there aren't many areas we agree. In those areas he has been a strong partner and by focusing on where we agree, he and I have developed a friendship. The governor and I have managed to develop a very strong working relationship, he and I have found ways to build not destroy, to partner not pummel, to move forward not tug left or right. Right now Newark urgently needs progress and little can be accomplished without some type of state partnership - you almost can't even put a shovel in the ground without a state permit. So where the governor and I can work together we will work together.

Harrison_bergeron727207 karma

What was going through your head when you charged into that Flaming building?

corybooker699 karma

"Please Lord get me and my neighbor out of here alive" . . . . other brilliant things that probably flashed through my big bald head: "Fire - hot"; "can't believe I'm so out of shape climbing a flight of stairs"; And "I wish I was faster."

lonnyk174 karma

Regarding Mark Zuckerbergs $100mm donation:

1) What has it been spent on?

2) What types of schools has it been spent in (public, charter, private)?

corybooker261 karma

All the information about how the Zuckerberg donation is being used with specifics on the investments is on the Foundation For Newark's Future web site, I encourage you to visit it.

I don't like the distinctions people make between traditional district schools and charter schools. What we should all be aimed at is creating a system of public education that works for every child. I have no loyalty to delivery models, I have loyalty to results. Our democracy must be committed to a robust PUBLIC education system that nurtures the genius of all of our children. We are losing the brilliance, innovation, artistry, and glory of too many of our children and we are all the lessor for it. We are in crisis and the crisis is getting worse through the disinvestment in education brought on by these tough economic times. So again, I feel such a sense of urgency and am trying to avoid being distracted by what I believe are false debates. But a specific answer to your question: The majority of the money (by far I suspect) will go to traditional district schools - they serve the majority of our kids and our mission must be to serve EVERY child in Newark by creating a system that empowers our city's and nation's greatest natural resource: our kids.

You can visit our Foundation for Newark's Future website to learn more.

ehagstro158 karma

I saw you make a graduation speech at Drew University, you are very eloquent. Do you welcome comparisons to President Obama or do you try and distinguish yourself as different from him?

corybooker902 karma

I believe Barack Obama is a truly great leader and President. Any comparisons are simply flattering. I've known him since 2005 and was one of his earliest supporters in the North East and believe he should and will be reelected. That all said, here are some big differences between the president and I:

  1. When he came out of Law School he went to inner city chicago to become a community organizer. After Law school I went to Newark and became a neighborhood coordinator.

  2. He went to an elite highfalutin law school: Harvard. I went to a gritty, inner city, law school: Yale

  3. in 1961 the president was born in The United States. Contrary to him, I was born in Washington D.C. and it was 1969, given the challenges inside the beltway in those days I don't think they will be able to find my birth certificate.

atx_iggle101 karma

I believe you're childhood friends with my uncle, Jim Bell?

corybooker226 karma

I was childhood friends with him. I have fond memories of him. But it is interesting that if you asked me to list all the fun times it would be finite. But there is something powerful about goodness and kindness. He was such a good person and even though some memories have faded, that goodness left an infinite and indelible impression. Please give him my best.

Insignificant_Being99 karma

How did you feel when you first became mayor? I also hear you're a vegetarian, why did you choose to be one?

corybooker237 karma

I felt incredible, during a very difficult time in our city's history we won with over 70% of the vote - the biggest landslide in a Newark competitive election. There is something very humbling and weighty when people extend you their trust to serve them. But that is all it was. I didn't feel it was some kind of declaration of how special I was or better than the other guy. It was kind of like I felt people were saying, "hey we have problems and challenges and opportunities and we will extend you some trust and see if you can fulfill it, if you will fight for us, work for us, deliver for us." So with that victory came a profound sense of responsibility to get the job done.

corybooker546 karma

As for the vegetarian thing. . . I became a vegi almost exactly 20 years ago. I was a competitive athlete back then and wanted to see what could take my body to the next level, also I was reading everything I could about food, where it came from, what impact it had both on me and my world. So in 1992, I decided to experiment, to try it for 3 to 6 months. And WOW! when I did my athletic performance took off, I felt so much better and it comported with other values and ideas I was exploring at the time, so I decided that this is what is best for me. It was a very personal decision. I tried to be vegan for a while too. But that didn't last long. There is something about those two guys I love so much, that I lean on, that I so badly just want to hug: Ben & Jerry - I couldn't leave them. . . I think those guys need me too much. Ben . . . Jerry, I'm here for you. . . Call me. . .

painsofbeing90 karma

What are your thoughts on the documentary Street Fight? Do you think it's had any impact on your professional life?

corybooker111 karma

Marshall Curry did a great job on the film. When he was making it I didn't think he had a movie because he seemed to get beat up every time he tried to film my competitor. But wow, he not only had a movie but an Academy Award nomination came soon after. As far as its impact on my career. I don't know. . . it did change my view on penguins. . . he lost the academy award to March of the Penguins. . . are they really that cute? (smile).

roynaim80 karma

What's your motivation, drive to serve people at the level that you serve? Sure, many politician have served big, but you shine during these times when many stall. What is the drive behind it? Your inner motivation? (And I don't just mean political).

corybooker304 karma

Before I answer your question, I just want to say that I am not so unique. All over America there are local politicians - some in towns you've never heard of - that pour all their heart, soul, and spirit into their jobs. I have been so humbled over the years to meet so many of these leaders. They get far less press and attention than me but their example is inspiration, instruction and a challenge to me to rise every day and be better. . . Now to your question. Simple, my parents did a great job in revealing to me how lucky I am. I've taken to saying often that "we drink deeply from wells of freedom, liberty and opportunity that we did not dig." My parents made such words real to me. They showed me that so many struggles went into giving me the America of today, an America we too often take for granted - an America that is, not because of the people we read about in history books, but because of millions of people, whose names I don't know, who struggled, served and sacrificed for it. They coupled that with showing my brother and me that America still is not what it should be, could be, and often claims to be - it is not yet a place with "liberty and justice for all." So the charge to my brother and I, the life mission my parents gave us was to make the best out of ourselves, seize the blessings and opportunities we were given but all for the purpose of making this nation more just; making our democracy richer, bolder, more inclusive. they wanted my brother and me to be a part of the fight because people whose names we don't know, who we can never thank, who we owe so much to, did the same for us. We all have a choice; accept this nation as it is or take responsibility for changing it. Or as my dad said more colorfully stated, we could "go through life getting fat dumb and happy by consuming all the blessings afforded to us; or we could metabolize those blessings, let them serve as fuel in our hearts, minds and spirits to help advance our country. I sincerely live everyday trying to live up to this calling. Some days I do better than others, but at the end of my life, no matter what I do, I want to be a part of those many Americans who lived their lives in service of our higher ideals and aspirations and I pray that someday, somewhere there will be a kid like me who - even though he doesn't know my name - was propelled forward by our collective service, sacrifice and struggle

foot5671 karma

You have been criticized by people within the Democratic party for “going off message.” You stated on Meet the Press that, “You were nauseated by all the attacks on private equity.” Can you expand those comments?

corybooker196 karma

Actually, I expressed disgust with negative campaigning (you didn't directly quote me in your question). Let me be very clear about this because my statement (which could have been expressed so much better) has been pulled so far away from my original meaning/intention.

So here goes one more time:

  1. We have a political environment that is so negative right now and for a long time I've worried that our enemy-oriented national dialogue obscures the larger issues and the complicated problems we need to deal with. Our politics is being turned into sound bites thrown around like grenades and broad brush strokes that often obscure or leave barely explored the kind of difficult or complicated issues we must deal with.

  2. Private Equity, investment banks, finance in general: We have had a kind of rapacious capitalism that has caused serious damage in our society. From hyper-leveraged banks that made them too big to fail to inexcusable tax loopholes that favor super wealthy in patently unfair ways like "carried interest". Further, recent headlines revealing corporate malfeasance directly affecting people's health and well-being or even manipulation of interest rates demonstrate how truly dangerous corporate greed can be. We need responsible policies and ways of reining in and preventing the practices that hurt our Nation, economy and truly hurt people. And further there needs to be an inherent fairness in our economic system - we need an economic system that doesn't just prevent bad actors but helps build a strong economy. I don't think we are doing that now and frankly I see that evidence every day in my city. Further, I believe when republican presidential primary candidates say that they would not take a one dollar tax revenue increase for a 9 dollar spending cut deal - it leads me to believe that such firm ideologues are not the pragmatic leaders we need to do the right thing for our economy. President Obama is the leader we need and has expressed responsible policies that will incent capital investment, rein in bad actors, support economic expansion, deal with our debt, and empower long term growth.

  3. From my position as mayor it is important for me to state that many banks and financial firms are HELPING our city. They are not ALL bad actors and in fact I reject any claim that vilifies the financial industry as a whole. I do not think that it is a responsible way to move our nation forward and it is NOT what President Obama is doing. But I felt it important on Meet The Press to express (and I did it in a way that was ineffective and added to the combustible climate of our politics) that all private equity isn't bad. This is what I meant: we in Newark are in our biggest period of economic development in a generation or more. Major projects are going on in my city from our first new hotels in 40 years to our first new office towers in 20 years. We are creating entire new neighborhoods like our 130 million dollar Teachers Village project that includes work force housing for teachers. These projects and more have very difficult capital structures. It is challenging to get the investment necessary to get them started. In fact, I spend a lot of time working on various "capital stacks" to make them work. These projects that I mentioned and others (we have over a billion dollars worth of ongoing projects now) are creating over 6 thousand jobs in Newark and have countless other economic and quality of life benefits. Many of the projects have needed help from financial firms and institutions (investment banks, etc) and in this difficult economic time when so many banks and others aren't loaning or investing some strong firms have stepped forward and helped. I will not be one of those people who vilifies or paints a broad brush on an entire industry. As I said before, YES so much must be done to change and empower a more fair free-market system but I don't think we can get there if we stick with simplistic broad brush approaches. The change we need will be difficult, complicated and to get there we must deal with the whole picture and find more unity in our Nation than we are exhibiting now.

  4. Finally, with Mitt Romney: Again I expressed myself poorly on MTP but I did go on to clarify in my own video and elsewhere this key point: Mitt Romney opened the door to a fair examination of his private sector record when he claimed he was a "job creator". If I was running a campaign against Mitt Romney I would not only direct my team to thoroughly examine that record and his claims but I would trumpet our findings - especially if the record conflicted with Romney's claims (as it does). And now as more and more comes out about Romney and his private sector experience, it is even important that voters know the truth. The only thing I object to is people pivoting from a fair examination of the facts to misrepresentations of an industry or firm. President Obama after my appearance on MTP (and before) was brilliant on this point when interviewed. He made this distinction time and time again saying he wasn't attacking private equity, but he was shining light on the Romney record.

HugoOBravo50 karma

Big fan of your politics and what you've done for the city and NJ in general. Also, I heard you're a superhero and sci-fi fanboy. Can you confirm?

corybooker204 karma

Thanks, I am a HUGE Sci-fi fan. My father and I used to watch the original Star Trek and I was hooked. They are some of my greatest memories with my dad. So right now I'm ticked off that Eureka is being canceled, think that JJ Abrams is one of God's great gifts and would be married now if Nichelle Nichols would remove the restraining order and allow me to propose.

billlwoo37 karma

NJ resident here. Love what you do on twitter, it's pretty revolutionary in my opinion. but anyway, your thoughts on the nets leaving NJ?

corybooker111 karma

Really sad the Nets are leaving. It is a long shot but I am working with others to bring NBA back to Newark. Our state should have a team and there is a fan base to support it. I was gung-ho to start a campaign for a team named The Brick City Bricks but I was quickly reminded by my friends that this would not be a good name for an NBA team. That aside, I hope we can get a team to our area in Newark.

callmeprufrock34 karma

Hi Mayor Booker - if you weren't in politics, what kind of work do you think you would be doing?

corybooker68 karma

Political office has only taken 10 years of my life (approximately 25% of my years). We are all so much more than a job, title, or occupation and those will change over and over again. So I believe ultimately life is about a purpose and not a position. Whatever I do, I want it to resonate with my purpose, my mission. So with 2 years left on this term as mayor, I want to ensure that no matter what happens electorally I can stay on mission. And for me that mission is service. This is perhaps why I did something very unorthodox earlier this month: as a sitting elected official I convened a rather impressive group of Millennials and X-geners and we launched a company (#waywire with a mission to empower others to learn, serve, be heard, and make an impact on the world around them. So who knows what I would be doing if I wasn't mayor - right now I have my dream job - but now and in the future I want thoroughly use every element of my being to serve the highest ideals and aspirations I have for Newark, my Nation and our human family.

[deleted]33 karma


corybooker60 karma

1st of all thank you for your service and sacrifice. We have been at war for some time and less than 1% of Americans are carrying the load for us all. More should be sharing in the sacrifice, if not going to war, then doing more to help those that come home.

In Newark we have stepped up to help our veterans in a number of ways. Here are 3.

  1. We created our State's first one-stop office to support veterans with resources and connections to important services, information and support. It is run by a phenomenal partner the GiGo Fund. They are a great group of people and the founders are real heroes in my book.

  2. Veterans Courts: We created the State's first Veteran's Court to give special support and consideration to veterans caught up in the court system.

  3. Veterans Housing: We have done a lot in partnership with The GiGo Fund to work with homeless veterans but I am particularly proud of the new disabled veterans housing we created in partnership with Help USA and others. This housing is Platinum LEED certified, has roof gardens for free veggies, and was built by newark residents. I am so proud that we have actually made Newark a better "Home of the Brave"

Thanks again for your service to our Nation. Thanks for your heroism.

Faraazn14 karma

As a student who is extremely passionate about the progression of mankind I am curious to see how #Waywire is going to be different then other Social Media Websites? I realize that you have integrated the ability for students to put video responses rather than just text, but how does that address the issue of not having a voice?

corybooker30 karma

Thanks for this question. I too believe that social media has profound potential to shape and advance our world. It is such a strong democratizing force. I have long believed that "the power of the people is greater than the people in power." So when people can better organize, lift their voices above the oligarchy that can control media, and connect with one another over the typical geography and other factors that can divide, powerful things can happen.

I helped found #waywire because of this strong belief. As mayor there are so many issues affecting people in my community and the community of others that are not a part of the national dialogue. I believe that if more people can amplify their voices, engage in the national conversation, offer up everything from ideas to creative calls to the moral imagination of the world then - change will happen more rapidly.

#waywire will not only be a network for people to find out what is happening in the world (a video-driven network to consume news and information) but it will create new social streams crafted by users themselves that will elevate and add force to their voices, ideas, creativity, and convictions. Users will not only be able to create their own "wire service" drawing down relevant news and information from the ocean of noise out there, but most importantly, they will be able to drive information, ideas, creativity into existing social streams and communities (like Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit). Users will be able to create information that the larger community can amplify, and embolden critical voices once too often left out of the discussion now can't be ignored.

My vision is that this will be a platform for people passionate about moving our globe forward, it will be a way for them to learn and be informed but also actually affect the world around them, make news, and generate change from their local level to the global level.

I can't wait until my team launches this site and . . . I hope you all will follow me not just on Twitter or Facebook but I hope you will follow my wire as I hope to follow that of others.

We welcome your ideas or input. If you have ideas for my #waywire team send them to [email protected] - also if you want to register to for the site which is not launched yet sign up at