(Gray News) - Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, announced Friday that he is running for president, releasing a video on the first day of Black History Month.
“The history of our nation is defined by collective action; by interwoven destinies of slaves and abolitionists; of those born here and those who chose America as home; of those who took up arms to defend our country, and those who linked arms to challenge and change it,” Booker said in the video.
“I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind; where parents can put food on the table; where there are good-paying jobs with good benefits in every neighborhood; where our criminal justice system keeps us safe, instead of shuffling more children into cages and coffins; where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame,” he added.
Booker, 49, is the second member of the Congressional Black Caucus to announce his candidacy, following Sen. Kamala Harris in January.
He was making calls Thursday to shore up support among Congressional Black Caucus members, The Hill reported, with Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-FL, confirming that he had called her and left a voice message.
Right out of the gate, though, Booker garnered the endorsement of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who said Booker “ran toward the toughest problems and has fought to build a more just and fair nation for everyone, from his days on the Newark City Council, as mayor, and as a U.S. Senator. He’ll make an amazing President.”
He will start outreach efforts Friday, the Associated Press reported, including an appearance on “The View,” with his mother in the audience. He also will make an appearance in Iowa over the weekend, the Des Moines Gazette reported.
A potential competitor, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, will also be Iowa on Friday as part of a listening tour as he considers a presidential run.
Other Democrats who have announced their candidacy include Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, South Bend, IN, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.
Booker was elected to the Senate in October 2013 as part of a special election to replace the late Frank Lautenberg, who died in June 2013. Booker became the first black man since Barack Obama to be elected to the Senate.
The senator serves on the Committee on Foreign Relations, Committee on the Judiciary, Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
On the Judiciary Committee, he caused fireworks by disclosing information considered committee confidential about Brett Kavanaugh during the highly explosive Supreme Court nomination hearings. Kavanaugh’s nomination was ultimately approved in a close vote despite the sexual assault allegations against him.
According to Booker’s official bio, Booker is also the ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, the Senate panel responsible for overseeing Amtrak and passenger rail in the U.S.
He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary and won re-election in 2014.
Booker was a former mayor of Newark, NJ, having served from 2006 to 2013. Before that, he served on the Newark City Council.
He graduated from Yale Law School with a juris doctorate. He got his undergraduate degree at Stanford University, where he played on the varsity football team. He also was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship at Stanford and went on to study at the University of Oxford where he received an honors degree in history.