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No. 8: Ras Baraka

Power 100

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka

Although e-commerce giant Amazon passed over Newark for the location of its second North America headquarters, the fact that the city made it to Amazon’s final list of contenders meant one thing: Newark is on the rise and open for business.

Following Cory Booker’s ascension from Newark mayor to New Jersey’s representative in the U.S. Senate – and  now to the presidential campaign trail – Baraka has helped continue Newark’s upward trajectory. With billions of dollars worth of construction underway, Newark’s financial and economic woes look like a thing of the past.

Baraka’s cultivation of relationships with different businesses prompted mega-corporations to expand their presences in Newark. Last year, the city became one of the key filming sites for Warner Brothers’ rendition of The Joker, set in 1980s Gotham City.

Baraka, along with officials and community advocates, wants to make sure the prosperity is fairly and equitably spread to all of the city’s roughly 285,000 residents and avoid the kind of gentrification that could push many Newark residents out of their long-time neighborhoods. It’s a challenge, but the mayor and his allies are apparently up to it.

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