Booker tours Coast Guard base, Washington Mall in visit to Cape May

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 Booker tours Coast Guard base, Washington Mall in visit to Cape May Booker tours Coast Guard base, Washington Mall in visit to Cape May  CAPE MAY – The state’s freshman senator spent eight hours here last Saturday completing an introductory course on all things Cape May.

“Sen. Cory Booker’s visit to Cape May went very well,” Mayor Ed Mahaney said. “He and his staff learned about the elements that make up the economics of Cape May – the Coast Guard base, the tourism industry and commercial fishing.

“I had very good exchanges with the senator and his staff. It was good to meet him so early in his senate career. Sen. Booker was eager to learn about the South Jersey Cape and see how the ‘Cape Mays’ work together.”

The event was also attended by West Cape May Mayor Pam Kaithern and Cape May Point Mayor Anita VanHeeswyk.

Booker was elected in an October special election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Until the election, the senate seat had been filled by Jeffrey Chiesa, who was appointed by Governor Chris Christie. The term expires on Jan. 3, 2015.

He has been named to serve on the U.S. Senate Committees on Commerce, Science and Transportation – which oversees issues including the Coast Guard, fisheries, tourism and economic development; on Small Business and Entrepreneurship; and Environment and Public Works.

Booker started his day in Cape May at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center, completing a run with Coast Guard recruits and base commanding officer Capt. Todd Prestidge and touring the facility.

In addition to the training command, Cape May is homeport to Coast Guard cutters Vigorous, Dependable, Finback, Mako and Ibis. Booker toured the base with U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, (R-2nd), Mahaney and county freeholder director Gerald Thornton.

Booker then walked the Washington Street Mall, where he met with residents, visitors and merchants.

“More than half of the stores on the mall were open,” Mahaney said. The group also toured Congress Hall.

“The senator said he had been to Cape May as a one- or two-year-old, with his parents,” Mahaney said. “So, he really was being introduced to our area for the first time.”

Booker, mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013, grew up in Bergen County.

Booker met with local commercial fishing representatives from Atlantic Cape Fisheries, Cold Spring Dock and Lund’s Fisheries.

“These eight hours gave him an opportunity to view the three aspects of our local economy, and understand how they work together to keep us sustainable as a community,” Mahaney said.

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