2020 Democratic candidate Cory Booker is making the environment one of the central pillars of his campaign.
But when he was the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, he was at the center of a water scandal that is coming back to haunt him.
ABC News reports:
For Cory Booker, water crisis awakens ghosts of past Newark water scandal
As a presidential candidate, Cory Booker has made environmental protections a central tenet of his social justice platform. As a United States senator, he emerged as a leading voice on the front lines of safe water for urban-dwellers.
But a growing water quality crisis gripping Newark, New Jersey, is bringing fresh attention and scrutiny of Booker’s own record when he was that city’s mayor — at a time when the water system was marred by scandal.
The two crises may be separated by time, but as images spread of Newark officials handing out bottled water to residents grappling with dangerous water pollution, ongoing water problems could prove increasingly uncomfortable for his 2020 presidential campaign.
“This is something that he will have to answer for,” said Krista Jenkins, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “As with anyone who is a chief executive of a large city, everything that happened under his or her watch is going to become fodder for any of his or her rivals.”
This could be a big problem for his campaign, which is already struggling.
Former mayor Cory Booker shares in blame for Newark, NJ’s water crisis, critics say: ‘He left a mess’
As thousands of residents of New Jersey’s largest city are provided with bottled water amid a contamination crisis, its former mayor – Democratic presidential contender, Sen. Cory Booker – is facing renewed backlash from critics who claim he mismanaged the city’s water commission during his time at City Hall.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency urged local officials last Saturday to administer free water bottles to Newark residents after nationally certified filters in two of three homes tested showed they were not removing lead from drinking water.
Officials handed out 38,000 filters last year to Newark residents who were potentially at risk of having contaminated drinking water due to outdated lead piping in the city’s water system…
“Booker has no credibility, especially on water,” Brendan O’Flaherty, an economics professor at Columbia University who put together a 2011 report on the commission, told the Washington Times. “He did not leave a legacy of a well-functioning water treatment plant and engineering corps. He left a mess,” O’Flaherty said.
Will he be asked about this in the next debate?