Cory Booker on Technology

Mayor of Newark; N.J. Senator; 2020 presidential contender (withdrawn)


Prison construction draws resources from other priorities

The astonishing rate of prison construction between 1990 & 2005 draws precious public resources away from other priorities. America--which once had the top-ranked infrastructure, from roads to bridges to airports, seaports, and electrical grids-- has slipped to 12th place. Our global competitors outpace us in infrastructure investment, devoting it to more than double the percentage of GDP that we do. We are the land of the free, but these other countries enjoy a liberty dividend that we do not.
Source: United, by Senator Cory Booker, 166 , Feb 16, 2016

We can't afford to ignore aging infrastructure anymore

Officials highlighted the planned extension of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) as a catalyst for job creation, economic growth and improved quality of life.

"Even in a divided Washington, infrastructure investment shouldn't be a partisan issue," said Sen. Booker. "I believe we can unite Republicans and Democrats around this issue and get something done. We can't afford to ignore the aging infrastructure of our country and our state anymore. Failing to make the necessary developments in infrastructure is not only crippling our competitiveness in a global economy, it's crippling hard-working New Jerseyans' opportunities to excel here at home. I will continue to work for long-term investment in infrastructure that creates jobs, stimulates economic growth, and improves the quality of our public transportation."

The federal lawmakers also urged their colleagues in Washington to pass a long-term fix to fully fund the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which will go bankrupt in this summer.

Source: Press Release from New Jersey congressional delegation , Mar 13, 2015

Fix crumbling rail & road with National Infrastructure Bank

The 2012 federal transportation bill notes, "the condition and capacity of the highway system has failed to keep up with the growth in freight movement and is hampering the ability of businesses to efficiently transport goods due to congestion."

American rail infrastructure, once considered the best in the world, now ranks eighteenth, plagued by congested choke points and crossings that force trains to travel at inefficient low speeds.

This has real economic consequences: a weak national infrastructure not only raises production costs and reduces productivity for American businesses, but also discourages foreign investment and development. We can create jobs and strengthen our infrastructure for decades to come by creating a national infrastructure bank that leverages public funding to increase private investment in American roads, bridges, airports, marine ports and other assets

Source: 2014 New Jersey Senate campaign website CoryBooker.com , Jul 1, 2014

Invest in Next-Gen air traffic; broadband, and smart grid

Source: 2014 New Jersey Senate campaign website CoryBooker.com , Jul 1, 2014

Protect critical infrastructure from cyberattack

America's critical infrastructure--our power plants, oil pipelines, and water systems--are at serious risk of cyber attack. The vast majority of this critical infrastructure is privately owned. Yet today, if a major cyber attack took place on a telecom company or financial institution, that company wouldn't even know who to call to report it.

We need new ways to protect the computer-connected systems that keep lights on and banks open. Years ago we decided that physical security--fences and cameras -- around sensitive sites like power plants was essential. Yet there is no requirement, or even voluntary standard, for putting virtual fences around the computers that run these facilities.

When critical infrastructure is attacked or essential data is stolen, companies need a clear way to report it to civilian authorities so that government has a picture of the threats and other companies can protect themselves from similar attacks.

Source: 2013-2014 New Jersey Senate campaign web CoryBooker.com , Nov 3, 2013

Technology empowers individuals but creates diverse threats

The world is changing. A hyper-connected, interdependent world economy and new technologies have empowered people and organizations. That means both individual activists in repressive countries have more power to seek freedom, and that groups like al Qaeda can wreak more havoc. This has made the work of ensuring American security more difficult. Gone are the days when we worried principally about a single geopolitical foe. Instead, American security concerns now range from nuclear proliferation and cyber terrorism to plots hatched in distant countries by small bands of radicals and managing a scale down of forces in Afghanistan in a responsible and safe manner. We face new, diverse threats, and we must meet them with a smart, principled strategy that recognizes, rather than ignores, how our world is changing.
Source: 2013-2014 New Jersey Senate campaign web CoryBooker.com , Nov 3, 2013

Millionaire from Silicon Valley-funded tech startup

Booker's donations from Silicon Valley go beyond campaign support: Various tech bigwigs have invested in Booker's dubious tech startup. The startup helped make Booker a millionaire; he also made over $1 million for speaking appearances. Critics charge he's used his connections to enrich himself. Without those endeavors, his circumstances would be relatively modest for a political star with degrees from Stanford and Yale. (His salary as mayor, which he has cut twice while in office, was $174,000.)
Source: The Atlantic, "Why Do Liberals Hate Booker," by Molly Ball, , Aug 23, 2013

Businesses realize a return on our infrastructure investment

But we all know--it's common sense--that for an economy built to last we must invest in what will fuel us for generations to come. This is our history--from the Transcontinental Railroad to the Hoover Dam, to the dredging of our ports and building of our most historic bridges--our American ancestors prioritized growth and investment in our nation's infrastructure.

And today our businesses, industries, entrepreneurs and economy realize a return on those investments. Let us not fall prey to rhetoric that seeks to gut investment and starve our nation of critical, common-sense building for our future. And investment must include the real engine of job growth in America: the American small business.

Source: 2012 Democratic National Convention speech , Sep 4, 2012

Teach City Council to read spreadsheets, then pass budget

Government services became a primary component of the Booker platform. In 2002, Booker tried to run on the same plank, noting that none of his then council colleagues could read spreadsheets, thus making it difficult for them to do their main job of passing the city's budget (which never was passed on time). Booker also observed that in 2002, residents should be able to pay their bills and fines online, in an effort to streamline government services and make them easy to use.
Source: The New Black Politician, by Andra Gillespie, p. 89-90 , May 7, 2012

Support Lifeline program for low-income broadband.

Booker signed supporting Lifeline program for low-income broadband

Excerpts from Letter to FCC chairman from 15 Senators: We write to express how deeply troubled we are that one of your first actions as FCC Chairman has been to undermine the Lifeline program and make it more difficult for low-income people to access affordable broadband. Lifeline is a critical tool for closing the digital divide--a problem you pledged to prioritize. Abruptly revoking the recognition of nine companies as Lifeline broadband providers does nothing but create a chilling effect on potential provider participation, and unfairly punish low-income consumers.

Last year, the FCC modernized the Lifeline program, rightfully refocusing its support on broadband, which helps end the cruel "homework gap" for the five million out of the 28 million households in this country with school-aged children who lack access to broadband.

By statute, the FCC has an obligation to ensure "consumers in all regions of the country, including low-income consumers" have access to "advanced telecommunications services."

Opposing argument: (Heritage Budget Book, "Cut Universal Service Subsidies"): Heritage Recommendation: Eliminate telecommunications subsidies for rural areas, phase out the schools and libraries subsidy program, and reduce spending on the Lifeline program by reducing fraud and waste. The "Lifeline" fund, while well-intended, has been plagued by fraud and abuse, as costs tripled from under $600 million in 2001 to almost $1.8 billion in the 2013 funding year.

Supporting argument: (ACLU, "Task Force Letter"): The ACLU, a co-chair of the Leadership Conference Media Task Force, joined this letter to the FCC Chairman in response to his decisions to revoke the Lifeline Broadband Provider designations for nine providers. The ACLU has long supported expansion of the Lifeline program, which provides access to phone and broadband services for lower income families.

Source: Letter on low-income broadband 17LTR-FCC on Feb 10, 2017

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