During superstorm Sandy, Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker responded to a Twitter follower who complained that he was running low on Hot Pockets with “I believe in you. I know this is a problem you can handle.”
The popular and hands-on politician might need similar encouragement from his followers while living on food stamps — a plan he announced yesterday on the social networking site in response to a critic who doubted that there were any families “too poor” to afford breakfast, and criticized Booker’s support of school meal programs.
“[Let’s] you and I try to live on food stamps in New Jersey (high cost of living) and feed a family for a week or month,” the mayor wrote. “U game?”
The user, “TwitWit,” replied, “Sure, Mayor, I’m game.”
“Great. Let’s do this,” Booker wrote. “I hope you live in New Jersey. Let’s film it and see how we do.”
Booker added that they would have to get a referee.
Read the full exchange here.
The mayor’s office told The Root that the food stamp challenge will in fact take place over a week, not a month.
Other mayors who have tried similar experiments include Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. Booker himself once launched a 10-day hunger strike and lived in a tent in front of Newark’s worst housing project in protest against the city government’s apparent negligence. Many would argue that his commitment to highlighting economic inequality, even more than the time he rescued a neighbor from a burning home, is what makes this politician a hero.