I first heard about Cory Booker, the current mayor of Newark, when Hurricane Sandy hit. As the head of a city clear across the country from me, he hadn’t really been on my radar, though he’s been touted in the last few years as a rapidly rising star of the Democratic party. Part of the reason he gets so much notice is his insane use of Twitter. It actually wouldn’t be that crazy… if he was, say, a teenager avoiding his homework or an athlete during his offseason. But for an acting chief executive of a busy city, his sheer number of tweets per day are almost unimaginable. This would hardly be cause for celebration if he was chatting about his lunch or talking trash about celebrities (you know, the stuff the rest of us tweet about) — but of course, Booker is so awesome because he uses Twitter to truly be a public servant.
During the terrible storm that devastated his city, Booker was absolutely tireless in personally going to people in trouble, trying to get municipal services to those in need, bringing folks food, and (SERIOUSLY) inviting those who had lost power to his house, where they could eat, rest, and charge their phones while he was out helping the rest of the city. The more cynical among us could talk about how politicians don’t do a thing if they aren’t guaranteed media attention, and it certainly is a good storyline: the photogenic, (relatively) young, dynamic, funny Twitter mayor. But the thing is, he DOES what he says he’s going to do, and more. He’s responsive to almost anyone who contacts him, even people who call their mayor “nigga” and demand Hot Pockets!!
Booker’s currently making news because he was having a political conversation (over Twitter, natch) about public nutrition with folks who held different views, and it spurred him and one of his challengers to live off $30 worth of food (the value of a week of food stamps) for one week. Mayor Booker began his week of eating as if he was on food stamps today, and will be live-tweeting the experience.
Anyway, the man is amazing and has all of my support, which doesn’t mean a lot right now, as I’m not one of his constituents. I believe Cory Booker will eventually do great things in service of our country though, and I can’t wait to see what that is.
(Photo courtesy of PAPER Magazine)