Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders fills a stadium at his rally in Madison, Wisconsin.
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★ About Bernie:
Bernie Sanders is a Democratic candidate for President of the United States. He is serving his second term in the U.S. Senate after winning re-election in 2012 with 71 percent of the vote. Sanders previously served as mayor of Vermont’s largest city for eight years before defeating an incumbent Republican to be the sole congressperson for the state in the U.S. House of Representatives. He lives in Burlington, Vermont with his wife Jane and has four children and seven grandchildren.
Bernard “Bernie” Sanders was born in Brooklyn, New York, to immigrant parents and grew up in a small, rent-controlled apartment. His father came to the United States from Poland at the age of 17 without much money or a formal education. While attending the University of Chicago, a 20-year-old Sanders led students in a multi-week sit-in to oppose segregation in off-campus housing owned by the university as a Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) officer. In August of 1963, Sanders took an overnight bus as an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to hear Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech firsthand at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
After graduation, Bernie moved to Vermont where he worked as a carpenter and documentary filmmaker. In 1981, he was elected as mayor of Burlington as an Independent by a mere 10 votes, shocking the city’s political establishment by defeating a six-term, local machine mayor. In 1983, Bernie was re-elected by a 21 point margin with a record amount of voter turnout. Under his administration, the city made major strides in affordable housing, progressive taxation, environmental protection, child care, women’s rights, youth programs and the arts. In 1990, Sanders was elected to the House of Representatives as the first Independent in 40 years and joined the Democratic caucus. He was re-elected for eight terms, during which he voted against the deregulation of Wall Street, the Patriot Act, and the invasion of Iraq.
In 2006, Sanders defeated the richest man in Vermont to win a seat in the U.S. Senate as an Independent. Known as a “practical and successful legislator,” Sanders served as chairman of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs where he authored and passed the most significant veteran health care reform bill in recent history. While in the Senate, Sanders has fought tirelessly for working class Americans against the influence of big money in politics. In 2010, he gave an eight-and-a-half hour filibuster-like speech on the Senate floor in opposition to extending Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthy. In 2015, the Democratic leadership tapped Bernie to serve as the caucus’ ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.
Known for his consistency on the issues, Senator Sanders has supported the working class, women, communities of color, and the LGBT community throughout his career. He is an advocate for the environment, unions, and immigrants. He voted against Keystone XL, opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, wants to expand the Voting Rights Act, and pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
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