×

Booker says he would choose a female running mate if he wins Democratic nomination 

  • Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., speaks with a packed crowd at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon, N.H., on March 15, 2019. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Paige Bissaillon, of Sharon, Vt., asks Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., a question during a campaign event at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon, N.H., on March 15, 2019. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., takes some height when fielding questions from the crowd in Lebanon, N.H., on March 15, 2019 during a campaign event. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., campaigns at an early-morning event on March 15, 2019, in Lebanon, N.H. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Campaign volunteer Jeremy Grabiner, of Chattanooga, Tenn., removes Cory Booker signs from the windows at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon, N.H., after an apperance by the presidental candidate on March 15, 2019. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, March 15, 2019

LEBANON — Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Cory Booker said on Friday he would appoint a woman as his vice president if he wins his party nomination.

“I’m looking you in the eye and saying this: There will be a woman on the ticket,” the New Jersey Democrat told the crowd in a campaign appearance on Friday morning in Lebanon. “I don’t know if it’s in the vice president’s position or the president’s position, but if I get my way, there will be a woman on the ticket, all right?”

That got applause from an audience of more than 200 at Salt hill Pub. Booker went on to talk about gender inequality on a national level.

“I believe, fundamentally, that we must make sure that when a woman does the same job as a man, she gets the same pay,” he said. “We have a nation right now that is not doing what it must do to make sure there is equity everywhere.”

Equity was one of the central aspects of Booker’s speech, along with bringing people together as a community to tackle such issues as inequalities in public schools and wages.

“We’re now at a point that a lot of folks are losing faith in our country’s ability to get things done,” he said. “There are more and more people who are feeling left out, left behind.”

He pointed to his family’s story as an example of what can happen when a community comes together.

His parents, both African-Americans, were trying to buy a house in Bergen County, N.J., in 1969. Oftentimes, they were told houses already had been sold. But with a group of lawyers and other volunteers, they were able to show housing discrimination and eventually purchase a house in the county, Booker said.

“If we stand with each other and be there for each other, then we will rise together,” Booker said.

Some audience members had questions for Booker about how this approach would translate should Booker get the presidential nomination and face President Donald Trump in the general election.

“Although I do think it’s good to bring America together, one thing that’s really on my mind is beating Donald Trump,” said Paige Bissaillon, of Sharon, a student at the University of Vermont and first-time presidential voter.

“I know there’s some ‘fight fire with fire’ people out there, and if they become the nominee, I’m behind them,” Booker said. “But I’m willing to die on this hill because I believe that when we Americans extend grace to each other, we’re not weaker, we’re stronger. That when campaigns are aspirational and call all Americans to join together, that reach out to independents, that reach out to Republicans because they’re suffering with the opioid crisis, inadequate healthcare, a starved public education: They’re suffering too. Unity is strength.”

Booker also said he would support whoever wins the Democratic nomination if it’s not him.

Another audience member wanted to know what Booker’s plan is for rural Americans.

He talked about creating a rural infrastructure plan, and in the time he’s spent in Iowa and New Hampshire, he’s “stunned from the water quality issues, and no access to broadband.”

Booker, who stayed for an hour after the event and posed for dozens of selfies with attendees, later held a campaign event in Claremont and mentioned bringing more investment to rural areas and focusing on rural education.

“If you have a rural school, you’re really struggling,” he said. “The federal government does not fulfill its share of special needs funding. If we as a federal government just funded special needs education fully, at the 40 percent level we’re supposed to, that would be money for rural education that would be really important.”

After the Lebanon event, Upper Valley residents said they liked Booker’s ability to connect with his audience.

Grantham resident Brittany Pye, who serves on the School Board and came to the event with her young son, said she liked that Booker wove issues together, like public education, criminal justice and the opioid crisis.

“Those are just things we can’t keep separate,” she said. “He even talked about how that goes into our schools and how that impacts our kids and seeing that those things overlap and that those aren’t just issues you tackle individually one at a time, but those things all come together.”

Lebanon resident Jabeen Ahmad said she wanted to hear more about what Booker would do with Obamacare, and how he’d improve health care access for rural communities.

“Vermont and New Hampshire are very rural. How do you make sure they’re part of the conversation?” she said.

Among the already crowded field of Democratic candidates, Booker is one of six U.S. senators in the field, including four women.

Asked by reporters about his pledge to choose a female running mate, Booker made a passing reference to the 2016 election, where Democrat Hillary Clinton won 2.9 million more votes than Trump but lost the Electoral College vote.

“I wish there was a woman president right now. Should I be a nominee, you can be sure that I’ll look to have gender diversity on my ticket,” Booker said.

Dean Spiliotes is a political scientist and teaches at Southern New Hampshire University. He said Booker’s vow reflects criticisms of the current administration’s lack of women and minorities in high positions in the White House and what people in the Democratic Party want to see in 2020.

“There’s been a lot of discussion among Democrats at the grassroots level that there be a ticket that reflects the diversity of the party,” Spiliotes said.

Daniela Vidal Allee can be reached at dallee@vnews.com or 603-727-3211.