Bernard Sanders (born September 8, 1941) is an American politician and activist serving as the senior United States senator from Vermont. Sanders is the longest serving independent in U.S. congressional history but has a close relationship with the Democratic Party, having caucused with House and Senate Democrats for most of his congressional career and sought the party's presidential nomination in 2016 and 2020, coming second in both campaigns. He is often seen as a leader of the U.S. progressive movement. Born into a working-class Jewish family and raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, Sanders attended Brooklyn College before graduating from the University of Chicago in 1964. While a student, he was a protest organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the civil rights movement. After settling in Vermont in 1968, he ran unsuccessful third-party political campaigns in the early to mid-1970s. He was elected mayor of Burlington in 1981 as an independent and was reelected three times. He won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990, representing Vermont's at-large congressional district, later co-founding the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He served as a U.S. representative for 16 years before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006, notably becoming the first non-Republican elected to the seat in 152 years. Sanders was reelected to the Senate in 2012 and 2018.
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