By Matthew Orso
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (D) will give the commencement address to graduating William Paterson University students on May 20 at the Prudential Center in Newark.
“I’m thrilled and honored to be participating in such a special moment in one’s lives,” said Booker in an interview with the Pioneer Times. “I’m really psyched and appreciate the opportunity.”
Booker served as the mayor of Newark from 2006-2013 before winning the 2013 U.S. Senate race in New Jersey after the death of former Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
During his time in the Senate, Booker has brought forth legislation to simplify the financial aid process for college students. Booker noted that rising student loans and debts is one of the greater challenges facing the country.
“Students are saddled and crushed by debt,” said Booker. “What young college students are going through is unconscionable.”
The Yale University Law School graduate has been a rising star in the Democratic Party. A recent New York Times article listed Booker as a potential candidate to replace former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. However, Booker has not heard from President Barack Obama about any nomination.
“The only black robes I plan to wear in the foreseeable future will be the ones at the William Paterson commencement,” he said.
Booker came down hard on his Republican colleagues, believing the Senate has a responsibility to vote on any Supreme Court justice the president chooses to nominate.
“I believe in a fair reading of the Constitution as indicated,” he said. “The Senate shall advise and consent.”
He has similar thoughts when it comes to his political future, citing that life is about purpose, not position, and has no plans to run for president himself in the future.
Booker also touched upon the 2016 presidential campaign. While he has no plans to run for president in the future, in this election cycle, Booker has endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. However, the junior senator would “wholeheartedly” support Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) for president, should he be the democratic nominee.
But, what about Donald Trump?
“I would vote for Trump in a reality show,” Booker joked when the GOP front-runner’s name was mentioned. “But, not for president.”
Sen. Booker speaking to his colleagues (Courtesy of booker.senate.gov)