Bernie Sanders was elected to the Senate in 2006 after 16 years serving Vermont as its sole Congressman in the House of Representatives. Bernie is the longest serving independent in American Congressional history.Born in Brooklyn, New York, Bernie attended James Madison High School and Brooklyn College before moving west for school at the University of Chicago. After graduating, he moved to Vermont where he worked as a carpenter and documentary filmmaker. In 1981, he was elected as mayor of Burlington, the state’s largest city, by a mere 10 votes.
As Mayor, Bernie helped make Burlington one of the most exciting and livable small cities in America. Under his administration the city made major strides forward in affordable housing, progressive taxation, environmental protection, childcare, women’s needs, youth programs, the arts and in creating a people-oriented waterfront. The Sanders administration also created sister-city programs in the former Soviet Union and Nicaragua. Politically, with Sanders as Mayor, Burlingtonians created the Progressive Coalition that became the third political force in the city. The Progressive Coalition became the forerunner of the Progressive Party of Vermont, currently the state’s third major party.
In Congress, Bernie has fought tirelessly for working families, focusing on the shrinking middle class and growing gap between the rich and poor. The Almanac of American Politics calls him a “practical and successful legislator.” As chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Bernie worked across the aisle to “bridge Washington’s toxic partisan divide and cut one of the most significant deals in years,” according to Congressional Quarterly. In 2015, Bernie was tapped to serve as the Democratic Caucus’ ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee.
Bernie lives in Burlington, Vermont with his wife Jane. He has four children and seven grandchildren.