Fresh off an exhausting but inspiring presidential run, Sen. Cory Booker is focused on serving his constituents in New Jersey.
In an exclusive interview with theGrio on Thursday, the 51-year-old senator revealed that he is not planning on accepting a position in the Joe Biden administration if the former vice president wins in November.
“My thoughts and focus are being a United States senator,” Booker said. “I’m up in New Jersey on the November ballot. I really want another six years in the Senate because I know as a United States senator, with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the White House and Democrats in the majority, that the reasons I came to the Senate and have been fighting so hard…”
“I’ve made some good progress on everything from being involved in the criminal justice reform bill and other critical bills that have helped my state and helped my country,” he continued. “But this could be a period where we get so much done, for our nation and for my state.”
Booker, who’s been serving as a New Jersey senator since 2013, has been suggested as a possible cabinet member by several outlets, including USA Today and the Washington Post, who speculated that he could serve as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
While he is flattered to have his name mentioned, Booker is devoted to making a change through his work in the Senate, which includes “massive infrastructure investments, educational resources, tax relief, national mobilization around the COVID-19 pandemic” and working on passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The police reform bill, spearheaded by Booker, Sen. Harris and Rep. Karen Bass, stalled in a Republican-controlled Senate in June.
“There’s just so much good work that we can do that would benefit New Jersey and the nation that I’m really not focused on a potential cabinet seat. I’m just excited about getting another six years in the Senate,” Booker explained.
“We are going to do everything we can in Congress to get [the police reform bill] done and whether if it fails in our negotiations now, I’m really hoping that this election will bring Joe Biden and Kamala Harris into the White House and change the control of the United States Senate,” he said. “So we can do common sense police reform that actually creates real accountability for when police do things that are terribly wrong or prevents them from doing those things that are wrong in the first place.”
“Seeing the work right now that’s going on of the peaceful protesters, of the WNBA, the NBA and so many others that are not just letting this go by as business as usual,” he began. “Who are not just accepting the normal course of events, but are doing things to stop normalcy and to call out the injustices that are persisting. [Who] are trying to do things that force people to pay attention, to take action, to understand that we all are responsible for this going on. I see those things as a fundamentally necessary ingredients to ultimately changing this horrific reality.”
A former championship basketball player himself, Booker understands the intersection of sports and politics. He said that he believes the mass strikes of professional athletes can bring awareness and influence those in power to act.
“They are acting in a way that, to me, is one of the great traditions of athletes and artists who understand that they are a powerful part of our culture,” the senator explained. “We know from Arthur Ashe to Muhammad Ali, from Olympic athletes in the great 1968 Olympics, who took time to protest, all the way to people like Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who spoke out, who used their positions of privilege and power — not just for their own benefit — but to try to change society and change culture, and literally put their own careers at risk.”