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Welcome to Washington, Cory Booker

The current mayor of Newark and senator-elect said he can start making changes today.
/ Source: MSNBC TV

The current mayor of Newark and senator-elect said he can start making changes today.

Fresh off his win in the New Jersey Senate election, Cory Booker found a silver lining in the political gridlock that led to record levels of disappointment in Congress.

"In this country I think everybody feels this fatigue and frustration with how things are, which creates a great climate for change," Booker said during his appearance on Tuesday's Morning Joe. "Before you can have great victory, often you have to have great frustration."

On Wednesday, just hours after the government voted to end a 16-day shutdown, Booker beat Republican Steve Lonegan and was declared the champion of the New Jersey special Senate election.

That made Booker the first African-American elected to the Senate since Barack Obama, and the first elected to a statewide office in the deep blue state.

He said he received an “incredibly encouraging” message on his voicemail from President Obama after his win on Wednesday night. Obama endorsed Booker in August.

Booker will now finish the term of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died in office earlier this year in June. If he chooses to run again, which he likely will, he will face voters in 2014. 

The mayor said he hopes to make a "dramatic, definitive difference" for people in New Jersey during his remaining days in office, including trying to raise the minimum wage.

“Every single day we are presented with opportunities to make a difference,” Booker said. “Every day every American citizen can do something to make things better.”