But not everyone agrees with Booker's assessment of how Newark has done with him at the helm. An article titled "Promise vs. Reality in Newark on Mayor's Watch" in The New York Times at the end of last year pointed out the challenges that still remain there.
Taxes have risen more than 20 percent over the past three years, even after the city laid off about 1,100 workers, including more than 160 police officers. Crime has risen, and unemployment is up. Schools remain under state control, and the city's finances remain so troubled that it cannot borrow to fix its antiquated water system. While new restaurants have risen near the Prudential Center downtown, those in the outer wards were placed under a curfew this year because of shootings and drug dealing.
The article also quoted a Democratic state lawmaker who said Booker is out of town too much to focus on the day-to-day running of the city.
For his part, Booker told CNBC, "I love being the mayor. It's a job of my dreams." He said people used to ask him: "Why would you want to go to city government in Newark, New Jersey. It's so screwed up. It was." After seven years as mayor, he reflected: "So what people told me not to do or was impossible to do, we've now done, creating more opportunity for our residents."
Booker said that type of opportunity awaits an "under-performing" America and that's why he's considering a Senate run. "We could be doing so much better, but we just desperately need good people to stand up and do something about it. And never accept the impossible."