Booker joins Senate transportation committee

Newly-minted Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is joining the Senate committee that deals with transportation and commerce issues.

Booker, who was sworn-in by Vice President Biden at noon on Thursday, will become a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, according to the panel's chairman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).

Rockefeller said Booker brought expertise to all three areas of the committee's jurisdiction. 

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“I’m delighted to welcome Senator Cory Booker to the Commerce Committee," Rockefeller said in a statement. "He brings to this role a keen understanding of several key issues before the committee, such as the fundamental role communications networks, technological advances, and transportation systems play in people’s lives. These objectives are a perfect fit for a senator with more than a million Twitter followers."

Rockefeller said Booker's experience with the Port of Newark as the city's former mayor would be particularly helpful to the panel.

“We will soon rely on his experience with the successful expansion of the Port of Newark as we work to make the tough decisions about how to make smart, strategic investments in our transportation infrastructure," Rockefeller said. "I look forward to working with Senator Booker to improve the experience of our nation’s students, consumers and passengers.”

The Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over policies affecting the technology industry, such as online privacy, cybersecurity and communications regulation.

Booker has close ties to Silicon Valley dating back to his days at Stanford University.

He launched a start-up called Waywire, with millions of dollars in backing from major investors including Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Many of those investors were also major donors to Booker's campaign, according a New York Times report.

Booker cut his ties with Waywire last month after people questioned his prominent role in a company while also serving as mayor of Newark.  

-Brendan Sasso contributed to this report.