Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A Year in, Booker Sees a Way out of Gridlock

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A Year in, Booker Sees a Way out of Gridlock

Article excerpt

Despite the gridlock and inaction, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker said he is encouraged after spending a year in Washington and is willing to bet Democrats and Republicans will eventually be able to work together on issues such as tax reform.

"There's a way to break through things and get big things done," Booker said at a meeting Tuesday with The Record's editorial board.

Booker, a Democrat from Newark, won a special election last year to fill the unexpired term of Frank Lautenberg, who died in office after a long career in the Senate. This year, Booker is running for a full six-year term. His opponent is Republican Jeffrey Bell, a former aide to President Reagan who campaigned with Governor Christie in Morristown on Monday.

Booker said he has spent much time the past year with Republicans in the Senate, eating meals and even taking cellphone selfies with them, all in an effort to find common ground on key issues.

"I'm going to bet on a theory that this pendulum has swung too far and is going to come back, and I want to be a part of that zeitgeist," Booker said.

He said most of the country opposes gridlock and wants lawmakers to work together. Enacting tax reform and working to close corporate loopholes could be the issue that unites the two parties, he said.

"The key is to lower the tax rate and eliminate a lot of the loopholes, which would put different sectors of our economy on fair footing," Booker said. "We need to start leveling the playing field and lowering the tax rate, and you can talk to conservatives or liberals, you're going to have a big boon to our economy.

"It's going to be an area that I'm going to start talking about a lot more loudly," he said.

Every public opinion poll thus far has indicated that Booker is comfortably ahead of Bell, and the results of the latest survey released Tuesday by Fairleigh Dickinson University showed Booker leading Bell by 56 percent to 40 percent. The poll of 525 likely voters conducted Oct. 13-19 had a margin of error of 4. …

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