Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Sworn-In Booker 'To Start Sprinting'

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Sworn-In Booker 'To Start Sprinting'

Article excerpt

After being sworn in Thursday as New Jersey's first African- American member of the U.S. Senate, Cory Booker said he was humbled by the challenge ahead and grateful to the civil rights pioneers who preceded him.

Booker promised to get to work helping other parts of the state implement solutions he used as mayor of Newark, including raising cash bounties for tips that lead to the seizure of illegal guns, and opening tax centers that maximize federal refunds for the working poor.

He said he already had met with Senate ethics lawyers Wednesday to learn the rules governing the solicitation of philanthropic donations, with an eye toward addressing problems around New Jersey.

"A lot of what people are going to see in my first six months is me going out to places where they haven't had those kind of partnerships with an official that could help convene people, bring them together to get things done," Booker said. "I'm just ready, now that I finally swore that oath, to start sprinting."

Vice President Joseph Biden swore in Booker at noon, and then the Senate immediately took procedural votes on the nominations of Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., to run the agency that regulates the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and appellate lawyer Patricia Millett to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Booker voted for both nominees, but even with the added Democratic support he provided, each motion fell short of the 60 votes needed.

Booker, 44, grew up in Harrington Park after his parents worked with housing advocates to break racial barriers in the northern Bergen County suburbs. His father, Cary Booker, died just days before Booker won the Oct. 16 special election to fill the remainder of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg's term.

He started Thursday joining his mother, Carolyn Booker, for what he said was a humbling visit that almost brought him to tears in the office of Rep. …

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