How Green Is Cory Booker?

Booker gets mixed reviews from greens who watched him in action as Newark’s mayor. Now, as New Jersey’s new senator, will he step up?
Cory Booker

Tracie Van Auken/ZUMA

When Cory Booker’s name is mentioned in the same sentence with “green,” it’s usually in reference to the money he attracts. Still, in his six years as mayor of Newark, New Jersey, he’s been no slacker on the environmental front.

Tooting his own horn on his website, Booker credits himself with an impressive list of green achievements, among them creating “the largest parks and green-space expansion in Newark in over a century,” building hundreds of green affordable housing units, securing $1.5 million to reduce urban heat island effect, and creating “acres of urban farms” that benefit underserved neighborhoods.

Booker, who just trounced his tea party challenger, Steve Lonegan, in the race to succeed longtime Sen. Frank Lautenberg, now takes this experience, along with his state’s deep tradition of environmental justice advocacy, to Washington, DC. But when it comes to environmental policy, Booker has huge ECCO sandals to fill, and not everyone is as impressed with his green chops as he seems to be.

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The Climate Desk is a journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate. The partners are The Atlantic, Center for Investigative Reporting, Grist, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Slate, and Wired.