In the race for U.S. Senate in New Jersey, Cory Booker is putting childhood poverty and economic development at the top of his list of legislative priorities.
Booker's plan calls for raising the federal minimum wage, expanding affordable housing options and giving kids nationwide access to preschool.

He argues the federal government has been throwing good money after bad on the effects of childhood poverty.

"That's billions of dollars of wasted money on the cost of higher crime, billions on unnecessarily high health-care costs that lead to worse health outcomes," Booker said Monday during a stop in Edgewater.

Instead, Booker said he is pushing for increases in funds for social programs that lift families out of poverty. He says that's an investment with a pretty sizable return.

"But what's even more important to understand is that when you empower those children, it not only reduces government costs, but it makes them greater producers," he said.

Booker is vying against state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, U.S. Reps. Rush Holt and Frank Pallone for the Democratic nomination to run for the seat held by the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

Registered Republicans will choose between former Bogota Mayor Steven Lonegan, or the tea party embraced candidate Dr. Alieta Eck.

The primary election will be held Aug. 13.