Cory Booker believes that no one should have to leave their home to find economic opportunity in America. That’s why his plan to bring economic opportunity and justice to every community includes key provisions geared towards Indigenous communities so they too are empowered and able to thrive.
"No one and no community in America should be left on the sidelines of our economy, and that includes our Indigenous communities," said Cory Booker. "But while some cities have boomed, communities that have traditionally been left behind like Indigenous communities haven't been able to share the progress. As president, I will work to put differences aside to ensure that every community are places where real economic opportunity can be found."
Indigenous people face the consequences of historic injustices and exploitation. To build an economy in which everyone has a stake, Cory’s Opportunity and Justice for Every Community plan includes key provisions that will empower Indian Country:
- Launch the most far-reaching commitment to regional hubs of economic and cultural dynamism — empowering small- and medium-sized cities to spearhead our nation’s broader economic growth by 2030 and beyond. The City 2030 Project would initiate a national competition to designate at least 50 small- and medium-sized cities for major investment. In doing so, we can ensure that vibrant regional economic hubs bring jobs and opportunity to local residents and surrounding communities. Leveraging resources from across multiple federal agencies, investment in designated communities would be tailored to the assets and opportunities of each place — whether it is doubling down on a dynamic local food economy, investing in tech and R&D, or building on cultural inheritances like music or art; what works in Cedar Rapids may not work in Reno. By 2030, we will have a growing network of world-class cities — tightly connected to the rest of the country physically (by air, rail and other forms of public transportation), digitally (by high-speed broadband), and economically (access to capital and technical assistance for small business formation and other economic development). Just as importantly, through targeted investment and technical assistance, the City 2030 Project would lift quality of life for people in the entire region through an increasing array of amenities, including better education, health care, arts, and culture.
- Target federal resources to the communities that need them most. Every year, the federal government sends billions of dollars in loans and grants to communities and local organizations to support essential priorities, from economic development to access to health care to entrepreneurship. But often, the communities that need help the most — persistent poverty counties, rural communities, and Indian Country — aren’t competing on a level playing field with big cities and more affluent communities. Cory would sign into law his bill with Rep. Jim Clyburn that builds on the “10-20-30” framework and ensures that a major share of federal dollars go to communities in deep and persistent poverty.
- Build local capacity. Many low-income and rural communities struggle to compete for outside attention and investment, limiting their ability to realize their vision for economic growth. While affluent towns and cities are often boosted by active local partner organizations, engaged philanthropy, and professional grant writers, such assets are often non-existent elsewhere; in many rural places, for example, it is the part-time mayor tasked with filling out grant applications on her dining room table after work. While federal funding is important, so too is local capacity. Cory would invest in evidence-based interventions to empower communities to shape their own future, including through local planning grants, technical assistance to engage with philanthropy and other partners, and improvements to data systems to enhance implementation and track impact.
- Reimagine rural transit. We spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year massively subsidizing rural transit providers across the country — and still, public transportation is either non-existent or inadequate in rural areas, typically operating in a fixed loop far from where people live or requiring days of advance notice to schedule a ride. We can and must do better. Technology advances offer an opportunity to pilot new models of rural transit that provide better service at the same or lower cost — potentially transforming quality of life in rural America. As part of an unprecedented $2 trillion investment in infrastructure, with major investment in freight and passenger rail, Cory would test and scale new models of community-run ride-sharing to create a more dynamic and accessible rural transit system.
- Make high-speed broadband a reality for every community. In this, the year 2019, we simply cannot expect individuals, families, and entrepreneurs to thrive without one of the most basic needs in our economy today. Today, 30 percent of rural Americans still lack access to broadband. Cory would close the digital divide once and for all by making unprecedented federal investment for broadband in rural areas and Indian Country, automatically enrolling low-income families into the FCC Lifeline program, investing in rural cooperatives, and passing his Community Broadband Act to push back on efforts by internet service providers to restrict or prohibit municipal and cooperatively-owned broadband that could lower cost and improve access.
- Ensure low-income people can afford to live in their own communities. Nowadays, families can’t even afford to live in the communities where they work — pushed out by soaring rents and high costs of living. Making every community a vibrant community starts with making housing affordable. Cory’s housing plan would cap rental costs at 30 percent of household income, up to neighborhood fair market rate, to ensure families can stay in their communities. And he would get to work building more affordable housing units, including by fully funding the Housing Trust Fund with $40 billion each year to build, rehabilitate, and operate rental housing for low-income individuals. Finally, Cory would fight for manufactured and mobile homeowners, which make up 16 percent of owned units in rural areas, including by boosting protections for homeowners and incentivizing landlords to sell the underlying land to mobile park residents.
- Advance environmental justice. Cory sees environmental injustice firsthand in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, where high levels of lead were recently found in the water; where air pollution causes child asthma rates multiple times higher than in nearby towns; and where the soil is unsafe in parts of the city because of contamination from industrial pollution. And Newark isn’t alone. Americans across the country, especially those from low-income communities, communities of color, and Indigenous communities, have been left to bear the costs of decades of corporate pollution. As part of his comprehensive climate plan, Cory will send legislation to Congress creating the United States Environmental Justice Fund, charged with coordinating the most ambitious-ever federal effort to advance environmental justice and invest in communities long left behind, including the replacement of all residential, school, and daycare lead drinking water service lines in the country.
- Invest in historically-marginalized communities. Cory would create the Community Justice Fund, a historic new effort singularly focused on restoring wealth in historically marginalized communities. Just as federal policy and structural racism has stripped individuals and communities of opportunities to build wealth, the Community Justice Fund would do the reverse — empowering people in communities that were subjected to historic exploitation. Funding could be used for certain purposes like microgrants to entrepreneurs, home down payment assistance, and community planning grants and technical assistance.
- Close the capital gap by expanding access to capital in Indian Country. Cory would expand access to debt and venture capital by reauthorizing and expanding the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). Cory’s plan includes a $1.5 billion federal investment, matched dollar-for-dollar by states, to expand access to capital in underserved communities and among women and minority entrepreneurs. Building on evaluations of the Obama-era initiative, the program would unleash up to $30 billion in new small business credit for our economy.
- Supercharge entrepreneurial training for the next generation of American small businesses. Cory would launch the NextGen Entrepreneurs Apprenticeship Program, which would pair classroom-based training with experience embedded in successful startups and companies, empowering underrepresented aspiring entrepreneurs with business operation skills while still being able to draw an income. Additionally, Cory would expand Small Business Development Centers across the U.S, with a focus on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and other institutions across the country to train and counsel the next generation of diverse small business leaders.
To read Cory’s full plan for opportunity and justice for every community click here.