Bernie Sanders is an American politician who has been serving as the junior United States Senator from Vermont since 2007. He is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history. Sanders ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States in 2016 and 2020.
Early Life And Education
Bernie Sanders was born on September 8, 1941, in Brooklyn, New York City. His parents, Elias and Dorothy Sanders, were immigrants from Poland and Russia. He has a younger brother, Larry. Sanders attended public schools in Brooklyn, and then went on to attend James Madison High School. He then studied at Brooklyn College for a year before transferring to the University of Chicago, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1964.
After graduating from college, Sanders moved to Vermont. He was a member of the Liberty Union Party from 1971 to 1979. He ran unsuccessfully for several offices, including governor of Vermont and senator, before being elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, in 1981. He was reelected to three more two-year terms before retiring in 1989. While serving as mayor, Sanders founded the Vermont Youth Orchestra and championed the city’s community land trust, which continues to this day.
U.S. House of Representatives
In 1990, Sanders ran for Vermont’s at-large congressional district and defeated Republican incumbent Peter Smith in a landslide. He was subsequently reelected to the House four more times. During his time in the House, Sanders was a member of the Democratic caucus, but he caucused with the Congressional Progressive Caucus and was their ranking member from 2003 to 2007.
In 2006, Sanders defeated incumbent Republican Richard Tarrant and became the first independent elected to the U.S. Senate from Vermont. He was reelected to the Senate in 2012 and 2018. In the Senate, Sanders is a member of the Democratic caucus and chairs the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. He is also a member of the Senate Budget Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Sanders declared his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2016 election on April 30, 2015. He received significant support from small donors and achieved major victories in the New Hampshire and Michigan primaries. However, he ultimately lost the nomination to Hillary Clinton.
In February 2019, Sanders announced his candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. He won the popular vote in the New Hampshire primary, making him the oldest person to ever win a presidential primary. Once again, he ultimately lost the nomination to Joe Biden.
Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist and progressive. On economic issues, he advocates for a mixed economy that would be supported by both the public and private sectors. He calls for universal healthcare, paid parental leave, tuition-free public colleges and universities, and a federal jobs guarantee. He also calls for a gradual transition to renewable energy and the decriminalization of marijuana. On foreign policy, Sanders has called for reducing military spending, withdrawing the United States from various trade agreements, and normalizing relations with Iran.
Sanders has been married twice. His first wife, Deborah Shiling, with whom he has one son, Levi, died in 2016. Sanders married Jane O’Meara Driscoll, the former president of Burlington College, in 1988. They have three children: sons David and Daniel, and daughter-in-law Rachel.
In recent years, Sanders has emerged as one of the most popular politicians in the United States. He is widely respected for his principled stands on issues and his tireless work ethic. Sanders has been an influential voice in the Democratic Party, and he is sure to continue to be a major force in American politics for years to come.
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