By Dee Longfellow
For The Elmhurst Independent
- S. Senator Cory Booker, Democratic Candidate for President of the United States, came to visit Elmhurst last week to meet and greet friends he had known since his college days at Stanford University, where he graduated in 1991.
Cory Anthony Booker is an American elected official, serving as the junior U.S. Senator from New Jersey since 2013 and a member of the Democratic Party. The first African-American U.S. Senator from New Jersey, he was previously the 36th Mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013.
Booker’s visit was coordinated by Elmhurst residents and fellow Stanford grads Jill Hayes and Tom Lee, along with Jill Hennessy. It was held at Hayes home on the 200 block of E. Adams on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 17. The Independent caught with Hennessy to hear about the gathering.
“I am currently president of the Stanford Club of Chicago and Cory Booker was part of the class of 1991, which Tom Lee is also a member,” Hennessy said in an exclusive interview. “Tom flew out to New Jersey for an unrelated event a while back and got together with Cory and other friends and decided to get involved in Booker’s campaign for president. Tom had supported him when he originally ran for U.S. Senate.”
Hennessy was impressed with Booker and found his message “refreshing.”
“I can’t say enough good things about him,” she said. “He’s really a person who lives his message. His mission is to heal our country of its division, to reach across the aisle to work together to get things done.”
She said he also has good ideas on the issues.
“My son asked him a question about gun violence and Booker has a plan to combat gun violence,” Hennessy said. “He has real ideas on the issues. Booker also made the point that U.S. citizens need to play their part as well, that we must all be responsible, play our role and not to sit back. He noted that even small things you do have a ripple effect.”
Asked if he said anything about President Donald Trump, Hennessy said he did indeed.
“But he said it shouldn’t be our goal just to get [Trump] out of office, which is popular right now,” she said. “Booker said that is a shallow goal, that there’s much more to it than that. If that’s all we want is to get him out of office, then we’re not seeing the big picture.”
Overall, she said Booker was a positive person, a positive thinker, rather than negative. He seemed to strike a cord with the citizens gathered at the Hayes residence in Elmhurst.
“People really seemed to find the evening inspiring,” Hennessy said. “People were moved by his message, some, almost to tears. But he’s very real and down to earth.
“You know, he was mayor of Newark, which is not the nicest city. In fact, he’s witnessed shootings, he actually saw a young boy get shot and die right in front of him, so he knows the rough side of things and doesn’t separate himself from the issues, the ‘dark side.’ He still lives in Newark, so he’s still in the midst of it.”
She said Booker has a documentary called “Street Fight,” available on Amazon Prime that talks about his first run for mayor of Newark, when he was up against a corrupt mayor – and lost the first time.
“It’s a good way to get to know Booker for those who may be unfamiliar,” Hennessy said.
Beyond that, it’s always fun and interesting when someone from the national political stage comes to visit Elmhurst.
“I’d urge people to listen to his message,” she concluded. “We can get more done if we all get along and work together.”