Cory Booker joins members at town hall

Cory Booker listens to a question from SEA member Regina Flynn at a members-only meeting on Saturday, Nov. 23 in Concord.

On Saturday, dozens of SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members greeted presidential candidate Cory Booker. The event was the fourth in a series of members-only forums with presidential hopefuls.

Booker, the junior senator from New Jersey, started by explaining how his family story led him where he is.

“My father would tell me he is who he because of a conspiracy of love,” Booker said. “Because people who were not related to him and often didn’t look like him were willing to fight for him.”

In the late 1960s, Booker said his parents were moving to New York, but found they were unable to find a home due to ”red lining,” the practice of segregating neighborhoods through loan rejections and outright deception. With the help of white civil rights activists, they were able to buy the house Booker grew up in.

“I moved into one of the poorest neighborhoods in my state to do what? To be a tenants’ rights lawyer,” Booker said. “Because people fought for my housing rights, I decided to fight for other people. I still live in that neighborhood.”

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 President Rich Gulla kicked off the Q&A, asking Booker what he’d do “to ensure labor has a seat at the table.” Booker noted that attacks on workers’ rights, civil rights and voting rights must be combatted through the legislative process.

“We have to pass two big pieces of legislation: the PRO Act and the Freedom to Negotiate Act,” Booker said, acknowledging that the president alone can’t do this. “We do this by making sure we create a wave election where we win up and down the ticket. … We need to create a nation-wide movement.”

You can find more information on the presidential race on our Primary 2020 page. You can watch the full video of the Cory Booker event below:

Published Nov. 25, 2019

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