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Booker calls lead in water a national problem, talks Newark lead crisis during Democratic presidential debate

Posted at 10:36 PM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-12 22:42:08-04

HOUSTON, TX — Newark’s lead crisis was front-and-center for Sen. Cory Booker during Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate.

Candidates were discussing education plans when Booker brought up what Newark’s children are facing: lead in the water.

“My kids are not only struggling with racial segregation and housing and the challenges of underfunded schools, but they’re also struggling with environmental injustice,” he said. “If you’ve talked to a parent of a child who’s had permanent brain damage because of lead, you’ll know this is a national problem because there’s over 3,000 jurisdictions in America where children have more than twice the blood lead levels of Flint, Michigan.”

He said he considers dealing with environmental injustice to be a major pillar of his plans.

During the discussion on education, several candidates, including Pete Buttigieg , Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, advocated for raising teacher salaries — something Booker noted that “we actually did it” as mayor of Newark, New Jersey.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.