View from the Press Box at the Debate. (Northern Review photo / Kayla Fisher)

Otterbein University held the Democratic Presidential Debate on October 15, 2019. 12 candidates crowded the stage for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Cory Booker, Senator and former Mayor declared his candidacy on February 1, 2019.

Booker previously served as mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He engaged his constituency by doing small civic tasks such as shovelling driveway and saving a neighborhood from a house fire. However, he also struggled with high levels of corruption, crime, and unemployment during his term. He is currently serving as a United States senator for New Jersey.

The debate covered quite a few topics, including a few in which Booker did not have an opportunity to respond. However, he was able to weigh in on the majority of issues most discussed by the public prior to the debate such as gun violence, abortion, impeachment, and the current economic and employment struggles.

On the highly controversial issue of gun violence, Booker supports universal background checks, regulations on gun manufacturers, require handgun microstamping, and a universal ban on assault-style weapons, high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks.

On abortion, another highly controversial issue, Booker supports codifying the protections guaranteed by Roe v. Wade, provide access to employer-provided contraceptive care, replace abstinence-only programs with evidence-based guidelines for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, and plan to rescind Trump’s administration’s refusal rules allowing healthcare providers to deny healthcare on the basis of personal beliefs.

With other issues, Booker supports expanding the pathway to citizenship and creating a new asylum process, guaranteed early childhood education, funding special education, accelerate an end to fossil fuels, invest to transition to a carbon-neutral economy, fully fund IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), and further support the Equality Act, and end the ban on transgenders serving in the military.

While Booker did not have many opportunities to speak during the debate, he found a way to incorporate his beliefs into the questions he was given the chance to answer. When asked about jobs, he answered the question and proceeded to go back to the healthcare argument to comment on women’s reproductive rights.

Booker’s performance at the debate was one of intelligence and genuine care and respect for candidacy, as well as the other candidates on stage.

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