Newark residents mixed on whether Booker would make a good president

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Sen. Cory Booker announced Friday that he will run for president in 2020, and the announcement is sparking mixed reactions among residents of Newark, the city where Booker was mayor.

Booker served two terms as mayor of the Brick City, from 2006 until 2013. He was seen as a polarizing figure at the time, a feeling that still hasn’t changed since he became a United States senator.

Newark resident Carla Shaw says that she does not think that the former mayor would make a good president.

“When he was mayor, he didn’t do nothing (sic),” she says. “What makes you think he’ll do something as president?”

But Valerie Moore says that she will vote for the senator.

“I think he’s strong, he’s honest, he’s dependable and he built Newark up a lot,” she says.

RELATED: Sen. Cory Booker launches 2020 presidential bid 

When Booker took office as mayor, he ousted five-term former Mayor Sharpe James. Booker was known to have energy and ideas, but was also seen as an outsider – a reputation which remains to this day.

“I don’t think he was really for Newark,” says Newark resident Lucien Maignan. “I think he was using it as a platform just to be a senator and it worked.”

Maignan says that he is a supporter of President Donald Trump, but he does commend Booker for improving investment in Newark. Panasonic moved its headquarters to McCarter Highway and Prudential expanded. Booker also fostered millions of dollars on private-public deals, including a $100 million donation from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. He also started Newark Now, a nonprofit that improves neighborhoods.

But people wonder if his notoriety and skills will transfer to a national stage.

“I have family in Florida, family in Texas – I don’t know anybody outside of New Jersey that knows him. So I think he’s going to waste a lot of money and waste a lot of time, and I wouldn’t vote for him,” says Maignan.

But for the mayor who has rescued a woman from a burning house next door and helped shovel driveways, there are intangibles that others Newark residents say they like.

“He was always in the street. He was always with the constituents,” says William Roberts.

Booker will now have to hit the streets on a national scale.

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