American Federation for Children Congratulates Mayor Cory Booker

Longtime Champion for Educational Choice Advances in New Jersey Senate Race

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 13, 2013) – The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, congratulated educational choice champion Newark Mayor Cory Booker for winning today’s special Democratic primary election to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate. Booker spoke at the 2012 AFC National Policy Summit, where he delivered a stirring address in support of educational choice and its importance to New Jersey’s parents and children.

“Cory Booker is a strong advocate for commonsense education reform and ensuring children have access to high-quality educational options,” said Kevin P. Chavous, executive counsel to the American Federation for Children. “On behalf of our board at the American Federation for Children and students across the nation in need of quality educational options, we congratulate our good friend Cory on his primary win.”

Booker defeated Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. and Rush D. Holt, as well as State Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver, for the Democratic nomination to fill the vacant seat following the death of longtime Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

Among the education reforms Mayor Booker supported was the New Jersey Opportunity Scholarship Act. The bill, which had bipartisan sponsorship in the New Jersey legislature and support from Gov. Chris Christie, would have created a scholarship tax credit program for New Jersey children from low-income families. As a previous board member of AFC’s partner organization, the Alliance for School Choice, Booker also supported the successful Washington, D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides high-quality educational options to thousands of young people in the District of Columbia, and which enjoys the support of Democratic leaders such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA).

In his 2012 address to the American Federation for Children’s annual policy summit, Booker declared his support for educational choice and how it made a powerful impact in his own life:

“I cannot ever stand up and stand against a parent having options, because I have benefited from my parents having an option.

“We cannot have a leading democracy if we have a lagging school system… I stand here today as a guy who does not accept that we will not be the leading nation on the globe.”

During the primary, Booker was attacked by some fellow Democrats for his support for educational choice, to no avail, as Booker posted a convincing win and is part of a significant contingent of prominent Democratic leaders who embraced the New Jersey’s school choice legislation, including State Senator Ray Lesniak, Assemblyman Angel Fuentes and business leader George Norcross.

Booker will now face Republican nominee Steven M. Lonegan, a former mayor of Bogota, N.J., in a special election in October.

The American Federation for Children is the nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization and works in states across the country to help secure additional, high-quality educational options for families.