Brakkton Booker

Brakkton Booker is a producer/reporter for NPR's political unit. He has spent most of the 2016 presidential cycle covering the race for the GOP nomination.

When he's not on the campaign trail, Booker produces pieces from the White House, Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court and other federal agencies for NPR News magazines including Morning Edition and All Things Considered. He previously served as the network's lead producer from the Louisville campaign headquarters of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. Booker served in a similar capacity during the 2012 presidential campaign producing pieces from the Republican and Democratic National conventions as well as from President Obama's reelection site in Chicago.

In the summer of 2014, Booker took a break from the politics grind to report on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Booker earned a bachelor's degree from Howard University and is was a 2015 Kiplinger Fellow. When he's not working he enjoys discovering new brands of whiskey and playing golf.

Three months ago the students from South Florida established themselves as a potent force in the gun debate with the March For Our Lives rally. This summer they're hitting the road with a new mission: turn the wave of young activism they helped spark into an energized voting bloc for the November mid-term elections.

At the annual end-of-year peace march in Chicago, organized by St. Sabina Catholic Church, Grammy-winners Chance the Rapper and Jennifer Hudson, along with former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, joined the Parkland survivors to launch a bus tour called Road to Change.

Comedian Dave Chappelle was the star attraction at a campaign event in suburban Washington on Friday, where he took part in a rally for longtime friend and Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous.

"So you know, I'm out of my element," the stand-up comic told an enthusiastic crowd at Olde Towne Inn in Largo, Md., a short drive from Washington, D.C. "You know politics has never been my thing."

The Trump administration's school safety commission held its first public listening session Wednesday, a day after the panel's chair, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the commission wouldn't focus on guns.

Alessia Modjarrad, a graduating high school senior from Montgomery County, Md., spoke at the day-long event at the Education Department in D.C. She said the few solutions being offered by the administration were "misguided and insufficient."

High school seniors who survived the deadly shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, just two weeks ago, graduated Friday.

On Sunday, the 2018 class at a Parkland, Fla. high school, where a gunman killed 17 people, will also receive their diplomas.

It was in the days after that Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that survivors-turned-advocates became a national force in calling for tighter gun regulation in the U.S.

And for students, it's also been a lesson in patience.

The United States does not stack up favorably when compared to other nations with advanced economies when it comes to childhood poverty worldwide, according to a new report, which considered factors such as the lack of access to quality food, high adolescent birth rates and a child dropping out of school.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa resigned Tuesday, days after federal prosecutors charged him with failing to file three years of federal tax returns.

Mayor Catherine Pugh announced that she has accepted De Sousa's resignation and launched a national search to find a replacement. She also told residents that De Sousa's departure, just a few months after he started in that position, will not deter the city from fighting crime.

Thousands of low-wage workers, faith leaders and civil rights advocates are expected to descend on more than 30 state capitals and Washington, D.C. today to relaunch a fight against poverty, war and income inequality that first took root half a century ago.

The original 1968 Poor People's Campaign was a multicultural, multi-faith coalition planned by Martin Luther King. It brought thousands of Americans living in poverty to the national mall to demand better living conditions and higher wages.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

If Republicans in Congress have their way, millions of people who get food aid through the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) will have to find a job or attend job training classes for about 20 hours each week, or lose their benefits.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Editor's note: This story contains language some may find offensive.

After the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s murder in Memphis 50 years ago this week, protests and civil unrest erupted in some 125 cities across the nation. Baltimore though was eerily calm in the first two days following the civil rights leader's assassination, before mournful tranquility gave way to anger and resentment.

For more than a week, hundreds of homes and businesses were torched and more than 5,000 National Guard troops were deployed to restore order.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

NPR's Brakkton Booker was at the marquee event here in Washington. It featured emotional speeches from students and survivors of gun violence.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS #2: (Chanting) Guns in schools - we say no. NRA has got to go.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Some Washington, D.C.-area residents have created a free home-share network to provide lodging for hundreds of students traveling to the nation's capital on Saturday to demand action to end gun violence.

The "March for Our Lives" rally was spearheaded by student survivors in the immediate aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month in Parkland, Fla, where 17 people were killed.

Newly released footage captured by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School security cameras show a Broward sheriff's deputy go toward a building at the time a gunman was shooting inside, but the officer stayed outside with his handgun drawn.

The video, released Thursday by the Broward Sheriff's office, sheds more light on the actions of former deputy Scot Peterson, during the Feb. 14 rampage in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 students and school staff dead, and another 17 people injured.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Now to Florida. This afternoon in Tallahassee, Governor Rick Scott met with loved ones of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month. Scott also signed legislation tightening gun restrictions in the state.

The Broward Sheriff's Office has come under scrutiny for the handling of its response to a gunman who opened fire at a South Florida high school last month, leaving 17 dead.

Gov. Rick Scott has called on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate local authorities' reaction to the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

And, after numerous calls from the media and others to release 911 tapes from the Feb. 14 rampage, the Broward Sheriff's Office did so on Thursday.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to start this morning with this historic change in Florida, where the state legislature has passed new gun restrictions for the first time in 20 years.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

Florida lawmakers have approved a package of gun control measures designed to prevent another mass shooting like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last month.

The state House voted 67-50 to approve changes such as raising the legal age for buying rifles and imposing a three-day waiting period for all gun sales. The measure also allows for the arming of some school personnel.

Updated at 10 p.m. ET

The chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent a letter to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson Wednesday requesting "all documents and communications" related to the redecorating of his office and HUD's handling of a whistleblower.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Teenagers led a protest on the steps of the old state house in Florida's capital yesterday. Survivors from the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School organized this rally to urge state lawmakers to pass stricter gun laws. NPR's Brakkton Booker was there.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and former governor of Massachusetts, officially announced Friday morning that he is running for the Senate seat being vacated by seven-term GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.

Romney tweeted a video announcement, after delaying a planned launch on Thursday in the wake of the deadly mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Romney, who spoke out forcefully against Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, blasted Washington and took veiled swipes at the president in the video.

The White House's Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal, released Monday, calls for work requirements for those who receive public housing subsidies and slashes funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development by $8.8 billion.

Updated 8:26 p.m. ET

House Democrats went on the offensive Saturday amidst a controversy surrounding a memo released a day earlier that argues the Justice Department and the FBI abused their surveillance authority.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, released a 6-page rebuttal memo he's circulated to his colleagues and given to the media, including NPR.

Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III, seen as a rising political star with a famous last name, will deliver the Democratic response to President Trump's State of the Union on Tuesday.

Top Democratic leaders in Congress made the announcement Thursday evening, calling Kennedy a "relentless fighter for working Americans." Kennedy is the grandson of the late Robert Kennedy, the former U.S. attorney general and New York senator who was assassinated in 1968. He is also the great nephew of both the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and the late president John F. Kennedy.

Pages