Cory Booker - Mayor of Newark

Cory Booker Mayor of Newark political phenom is trying to give New Jersey's most populous city a shot at redemption Michael Christopher Brown
Michael Christopher Brown for TIME

Booker, seen here taking an early morning run through the city, grew up in a posh Bergen County suburb, the son of two civil rights activists. He arrived in Newark after playing football at Stanford, earning a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford and attending law school at Yale. Passing up more lucrative careers, he moved into a decrepit Newark public-housing project and fought for tenant rights. He won a seat on the Newark city council at age 29.

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