Net Worth: $800,000
American politician Bernard Sanders, known best as 'Bernie', holds the record for spending the longest amount of time in office out of any political figure in U.S. congressional history. Being elected into the House of Representatives in 1991, he has been a big part of the Democratic party for many years. He's held the title as the junior United States Senator since 2007, and more recently in January 2015 became a ranking member for the Senate Budget Committee. He became known internationally in 2016 through his presidential campaign against Hilary Clinton, which raised the most money in small contributions than any other in American history.
Bernard Sanders was born in 1941 to his parents Elias Sanders and Dorothy Sanders, both of Jewish decent, in Brooklyn, New York City. Sanders became interested in politics at a tender age, being influenced by Adolf Hitler winning elections in 1932 and as a result of it 50 million people dying in the First World War, with 6 million of them being Jews. From then on he learned that politics is a vital to the way society lives. Larry, Sanders’ older brother, is a British politician and academic who is currently the spokesman of health for the leftist Green Party of England and Wales.
He lived on East 26th Street in Midwood, Brooklyn, attending elementary school at P.S. 197. Whilst at school, he joined the basketball team and went on to win the borough championship. Due to his Jewish religion, Sanders split his time between Hebrew school and as he got older celebrated his bar mitzvah in 1954. He later went on to attend James Madison high school and expressed further interest in sport, becoming the captain of the track team. It was also in high school that his political interest began to flourish. He took part in the school elections for the student body presidency and came third.
Soon after Sanders had graduated, his mom died at the young age of 46. Tragically, Bernie’s father died a few years after when he was just 57-years old. Despite the tough few years he’d been through, Bernie enrolled at Brooklyn College for the year 1959 to 1960, with him then transferring to University of Chicago where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1964. Even though he’d achieved a lot in his education, Sanders described himself as a ‘mediocre student’ as he found classroom learning boring and irrelevant. He began to realise that society and the community around him was what he could learn from best, which is when he embarked on his long career in politics.
While Bernie Sanders has spent much of his life working in politics, his path to national political prominence was somewhat atypical. The politician devoted much of his early adulthood to political activism and took a series of jobs including being a carpenter and freelance writer before making a name for himself in politics. While at the University of Chicago, Sanders was an active civil rights protester and organizer for the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee and Congress of Racial Equity. With CORE, Sanders was involved in a sit-in against off-campus housing segregation in 1962 and the next year he participated in the march on Washington. After his graduation and university studies Sanders lived in a Kibbutz in Israel before he decided to settle in Vermont.
He did several jobs like filmmaking, freelance writing, a teacher to poorer children and a psychiatric aid all whilst his political interests grew. He then began his career as a politician in the early ’80s where he served as a mayor of Burlington, Vermont. He served as the mayor of Vermont’s biggest city for seven years from 1981 to 1989. He then made another step in his political career by moving to the national political arena and winning a seat in the House of Representatives. From 1991 to 2007 Sanders distinguished himself as one of the nation’s few independent legislators. In 2007, Sanders also contested for the US Senate seat which he won and later got re-elected. In 2015, Sanders announced his plans to run for the Democratic presidential nominations. He defied all the expectations and drew an enormous progressive movement, grassroots financing during his campaign and avid supporters. But despite this, he lost the nominations to Hillary Clinton.
During the Vietnam War, Sanders made attempts in applying for conscientious objector status though eventually his request was denied because by then he was too old to be drafted. In the ’70s Sanders made more than one attempt to bid for public office, but they were all unsuccessful through the anti- war Liberty Union party which he remained a member of until 1979. His victory came in by a small margin in 1981 where he was elected as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont defeating his opponent by only 12 votes. Sanders achieved his win with the support of the progressive coalition which was a grass root organization. He was then re-elected three more times proving to people that he was a self-described democratic socialist who was capable of staying in power.
Known for his untamed mane and rumpled clothes, Sanders made an unlikely aspirant for national office, but that political underdog got a score of 1990 to win a seat in the US House of Representatives. Sanders found himself in a dilemma as an independent because he had to find political allies who would assist him to advance his issues and legislations. He told the Progressive that working with Republicans to him was ‘unthinkable’, but he did caucus with the Democrats in spite of opposition from some of the conservative Democrats. Because of his outspoken nature, Sanders criticized both parties when he felt that they were both wrong. He was considered a vocal oppose during the Iraq war because he was more concerned with the social and financial impact that the war could cause in return. In one of his addresses to the house he said that ‘as a caring nation, we should do everything we can to prevent the horrible suffering that a war will cause’. He further went on to question the timing of the military action because at that time the country had a $6 trillion national debt and a growing deficit.
In 2006, Sanders decided to switch to the Senate and he ran against Republican and businessman Richard Tarrant. He was able to beat Tarrant despite the latter’s more substantial funding as a self-described democratic socialist. It is said that Tarrant spent $7 million from his personal wealth in the election battle. Senator Sanders made news against the extension of Bush-era cuts for the wealthy with his more than eight-hour long filibuster. He saw that the legislation was a tax agreement that was terrible between the Republican legislators and the President. He later wrote a speech and entitled ‘A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class’. He ended his time on the floor pleading with the legislative colleagues to devise a better proposal which would cater the needs of the middle class and working families of the country and most importantly the children of the country.
In his time in the Senate, Sanders served on several committees about critical issues to him. He is also a member of the Senate Budget Committee, the Committee on Veterans Affairs, the Joint Economic Committee, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Furthermore, he champions campaign reform and advocates for an amendment to overturn the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United. Sanders has played an important part in advocating for the expansion of the voting rights and opposed the Supreme Court in the disbandment of a part of the landmark voting rights act. In addition to this, Sanders has also advocated for a universal single payer healthcare system. Also having a mind to protect the environment, Sanders has been driven to address issues of climate change and interest in renewable energy; for this, he is a member of the US Senate committee on Environment and Public Works and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Endorsing Hillary Clinton:
Sanders made headlines in March 2016 as the first presidential candidate and the only Jewish one. He won the Democrats Abroad international primary by 69%. More than 34,000 American citizens cast their votes from 38 countries with 13 delegates for the taking. Sanders chose to work with the Democrat party because for him it made sense to work within the democratic primary system which he considered to be easier to get on the ballot and have a chance to debate the other aspirants. Sanders made great strides to challenge Clinton during the presidential primaries and gained favour in the polls. His platform focused on issues of inequalities in the country. He supports tax reforms that seek to increase the rates for the wealthy economically. It also aims to have a bigger governmental oversight of the Wall Street and the balancing of the disparity between wages of women and men. He also believes in a state-administered health care system also to mention a more affordable higher education which includes free tuition for both public and private universities. Despite having these real agendas, he lost the Democratic presidential nominations to Hillary Clinton. His campaigns came to a close, and the senator used his political clout to advance the DNC platform and there after putting his support behind Clinton.
Visit to the Vatican:
Sanders made history because he was the only presidential candidate ever to be invited to give a talk on environmental, moral and economic issues. Sanders flew out to Rome for a short visit to a conference on social sciences in April 2016 amid a contentious New York primary. Pope Francis and Sanders have been said to have similar moral anthems when it comes to the economy and the environment. Though Sanders was supposed to meet the Pope, he stressed later the meet and greet was mainly out of courtesy and it should not be politicized.
In 1964, Sanders married Deborah Shilling his college sweetheart but they divorced two years later. In 1968, he met Susan Mott and had a son called Levi with her in 1969. Then Sanders met his second wife Jane O’Meara just before becoming the Mayor of Burlington Vermont in 1981. Jane was a long time educator who would later become the president of Burlington College. The two married in 1988. Jane had three children from a previous marriage. Between the two, the couple were blessed to have four children and seven grandchildren.
- Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In by Bernie Sanders
- The Speech: On Corporate Greed and Decline of our Middle Class by Bernie Sanders
- Outsider in the White House by Bernie Sanders
- The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class by Bernie Sanders
- Milk Money: Cash, Cows, and the Death of the American Dairy Farm by Bernie Sanders
- Acrylic Painting: What You Need To Know When Learning How to Paint With Acrylics by Bernie Sanders