Cory Booker In Cape May

Cape May, NJ – On a foggy January morning in Cape May, Cory Booker, New Jersey’s political all star and new U.S. Senator, donned sweat pants and a Coast Guard sweat shirt and limbered up with the Coast Guard.

Then he ran a mile with the Coasties along Pennsylvania and Delaware Avenues, all the while listening to his new constituents’ concerns.

The senator now serves as a member of the Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard subcommittee, something not lost on the local officials who waited to greet him later at Congress Hall.

Booker gained a national reputation as a hands on Newark Mayor.  Saturday, Cape May got to see a little of the Booker style in action.

After his Coast Guard run, Booker toured Congress Hall with owner Curtis Bashaw, listening intently to stories of Bashaw’s grandfather, Carl McIntire and Cape May’s history.  Booker said Bashaw represented the best of business today.

Despite the rain, the Senator good naturedly took to the Washington Street Mall, stopping in on the small businesses that were open this time of year. Booker now serves on the Senate’s Small Business Committee.

He and State Senator Jeff Van Drew bought fudge and salt water taffy at Fralingers.  He said to one of his aides,  “Don’t you have a girlfriend you should be buying candy for?

Booker also popped in on Vince Casale at Casale’s shoes and at the Whales Tale, where, like thousands of visitors before him, the Senator said, ” I just have to buy something here.”

He posed for a photo with longtime Whales Tale owners Hilary and Church Pritchard.

Booker made it clear in his visit that he intends to be a hands on promoter of New Jersey tourism.

“I will not forget South Jersey.” he told local officials. “Make me your partner.”

He even offered to help promote events like West Cape May’s Christmas Parade on his extensive Twitter network, @CoryBooker.

The mayors of Cape May, West Cape May and Cape May Point were impressed.

I don’t think we’ve had a U.S. Senator visit Cape May in 20 years, one official exclaimed. Not since the days of Bill Bradley’s famous beach walks from Cape May Point to Sandy Hook. Bradley made the annual trek ever summer.

Come back, they urged Booker, when it’s warmer.


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About Jane Kashlak

Jane Kashlak - a journalist, gardener and Cape Island resident - is writing a book.