Cory Booker is passionate about his Newark, New Jersey neighborhood and during the initial Democratic debate, he spoke about his firsthand experience with gun violence. While Booker grew up in a more affluent area, he chose to move to the inner-city Newark neighborhood after graduating from Yale Law School.
Politico detailed the area where Booker now has a modest townhome.
Just down the block, Booker pointed out a drug treatment center called Integrity House that shaped his views on criminal justice reform. “Talk about the opioid epidemic: You can talk to fellas in there who had their addictions treated with jail a dozen times,” he said. “We spend millions of dollars, for what?”
There’s another landmark across the street from Integrity House: the modest beige-brick townhouse where Booker lives today, a few hundred feet from the site of the notorious project where he made his name in politics. Booker now spends his weekdays in Washington, and last year he spent his weekends campaigning for Democrats in 24 states, but he’s still a resident of a census tract where more than half his neighbors live below the poverty line; in the video announcing his campaign for the White House, he called himself “the only senator who goes home to a low-income inner-city community.”
Despite his address, Booker has had to respond to critics who imply that his residence is a publicity stunt used for political gain.
Booker Denied a 2013 Report That Claimed He Did Not Live in Newark
Booker has defended himself against opponents who claimed that his Newark home was inauthentic. Booker denied a 2013 report that he did not live in Newark.
“Cory Booker has lived for 16 years in some of Newark’s toughest neighborhoods, including for seven years on Hawthorne Avenue, fighting every day to make the city a better place for its residents,” Booker’s former communications director Kevin Griffis told Buzz Feed. “Steve Lonegan showed up there for an hour today to pull another laughable, desperate stunt to distract people from his extreme positions, which would make everything that’s wrong with Washington worse.”
Booker often speaks about how his neighborhood has not only informed his stance on gun reform but his overall values that help shape his policies.
“You can’t live in a community like this and not live with a sense of urgency,” Booker explained to Politico. “And this is not the exception in America. This is the reality.”
After Receiving an Ivy League Education, Booker Chose to Live in a Public Housing Project
Booker received an education at some of the top schools in the world with stops at Stanford University, the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship and Yale Law School. Booker’s website detailed his decision to move into a public housing project after graduating from Yale.
Instead of going to work for a big law firm after leaving Yale, Cory moved into a public housing project in Newark, where he teamed up with the other tenants to take on a slumlord accused of intentional neglect of the property and won. As a city council member, he drew attention to the violence that plagued the city and called for efficiency and transparency in City Hall. In 2006, he was elected mayor with 72 percent of the vote.
Two decades later, Cory still lives in Newark’s Central Ward.
According to Forbes, Booker’s Newark home is worth an estimated $435,377. The house has gone up in value 154 percent since Booker purchased it in 2011.