“I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind; where parents can put food on the table; where there are good-paying jobs with good benefits in every neighborhood; where our criminal justice system keeps us safe, instead of shuffling more children into cages and coffins; where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame,” Booker said in his announcement video, with a veiled knock at President Donald Trump.
“It is not a matter of can we, it’s a matter of do we have the collective will, the American will?” he added. “I believe we do.”
Booker enters what is shaping up to be a crowded presidential primary, with three of his fellow Democrat senators — Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York — already either declared or exploring a run.
However, he has spent months telegraphing his intentions to join the race, visiting the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina to build connections with key powerbrokers.
Booker, a former mayor of Newark, New Jersey’s largest city, won a special Senate election in 2013 to replace Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and then won a full Senate term in 2014.
He will be able to run for a second full Senate term in 2020 while running for president, due to to a law that New Jersey’s governor signed in November.