By Ethyln Harris | The Grio
Cory Booker took office as mayor of Newark, N.J., in 2006. Booker's political career began eight years earlier, when he was elected as a Newark city councilman. That same year, the Rhodes Scholar, Yale graduate and son of two IBM executives moved into a troubled public-housing project in the “Brick City's” crime-ridden Central Ward.
Booker stayed for eight years in an effort to help tenants fight for better conditions, and he was one of the last residents to move out before the site was torn down.
In his 2006 bid for mayor, Booker ran on a campaign of increasing public safety and getting tougher on crime. Once elected, he brought in the same top cop who worked to cut New York City's crime rate in the early 2000s. Together, they reproduced the same success in Newark; figures for 2006 to 2008 show murders down 36 percent, shootings 41 percent lower and rapes down 30 percent.