- Bernie Sanders
Infobox Senator | name=Bernie Sanders
Caucused with Democrats in Senate
January 3, 2007
date of birth=birth date and age|1941|09|8
place of birth=
New York City, New York
University of Chicago
January 3, 1991
January 3, 2007
Peter P. Smith
Bernard "Bernie" Sanders (born
September 8, 1941) is the junior United States Senator from Vermont, elected on November 7, 2006. Before becoming Senator, Sanders represented Vermont's at-large district in the United States House of Representativesfor 16 years.
Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist, but because he does not belong to a formal political party he appears as an independent on the ballot. Sanders caucuses with the Democratic Party and is counted as a Democrat for the purposes of committee assignments. He was the only independent member of the House during much of his service there and is one of two independent Senators in the 110th Congress, along with
Joe Lieberman. Sanders is the first self-described socialist to be elected to the U.S. Senate.cite news| url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1942041,00.html |title=Democrats pile pressure on Bush as glitches hit US poll |work=Guardian |date=2006-11-08 |last=Borger |first=Julian |accessdate=2006-11-08] Sanders left the House in order to run in the 2006 election for the Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Jim Jeffordsand won the election with 65% of the vote.cite web|url=http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006/pages/results/states/VT/S/01/index.html |title=U.S. Senate / Vermont |work=America Votes 2006 |publisher=CNN |accessdate=2006-11-09]
Sanders, the son of
Jewish-Polish immigrants to the United States was born in Brooklyn. He graduated from James Madison High School in Brooklyn and later attended the University of Chicago, graduating with a Bachelor of Sciencedegree in 1964.cite web
last = Leibovich
first = Mark
The New York Times Magazine
title = The Socialist Senator
The New York Times
url = http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/21/magazine/21Sanders.t.html
accessdate = 2007-07-18 ] Sanders moved to Vermont in 1964. He worked as a carpenter and journalist.
Early political career
Sanders' political career began in 1971, when he joined the anti-Vietnam War
Liberty Union Partyin Vermont. Sanders was an unsuccessful Liberty Union candidate for election to the Senate in 1972 and 1974, as well as for governor of Vermont in 1972, 1976 and 1986. In his initial campaign Sanders received only two percent of the vote, but in subsequent races for Senate and Governor were slightly more successful, with Sanders' highest vote tally being six percent.
In 1977, Sanders resigned from the Liberty Union party and worked as a writer and the director of the non-profit American People's Historical Society. In 1981, at the suggestion of his friend Richard Sugarman, a religion professor at the
University of Vermont, Sanders ran for mayor of Burlington and defeated six-term Democratic incumbent Gordon Paquetteby 12 votes, in a four-way contest. (An independent candidate, Richard Bove, split the Democratic vote after losing the primary to Paquette).
Increasingly popular because of his successful revitalization of Burlington's downtown area, Sanders won three more terms, defeating both Democratic and Republican candidates. In his last run for mayor, in 1987, he defeated a candidate endorsed by both major parties.
During his first term, supporters of Sanders formed the Progressive Coalition, forerunner of the
Vermont Progressive Party. The Progressives never held more than six seats on the 13-member city council, but held enough votes to keep the council from overriding Sanders' vetoes. Under Sanders, Burlington became the first city in the country to fund community-trust housing. His administration also sued the local cable televisionprovider, and won considerably reduced rates and a substantial cash settlement.
Sanders ran for governor for the third time in 1986. He finished third with 14.5 percent of the vote, which was enough to deny incumbent Democrat
Madeleine Kunina majority; she was then elected by the state legislature pursuant to Vermont law. In 1988, when six-term incumbent Representative Jim Jeffordsmade a successful run for the Senate, Sanders ran for Jeffords' vacated seat in the House. Sanders narrowly lost to Peter P. Smith, the former lieutenant governor and the 1986 Republican candidate for governor. Sanders again ran against Smith in 1990. In one of the biggest upsets in recent political history, he took 56 percent of the vote and defeated Smith by 16 points, becoming the first independent member of the House since 1950.
Sanders taught at
Harvard Universityin 1989 and Hamilton Collegein 1991.
In the House of Representatives
Although relations between Sanders and House Democratic leadership were not always smooth, the Democrats have not actively campaigned against Sanders since his first run for Congress as an independent. While Democratic candidates ran against him in every election except
1994(when Sanders managed to win the Democrats' endorsement), they received little financial support.
Sanders was reelected six times and was the longest-serving independent member of the House. Despite his independent status, he only faced one difficult contest. That came in 1994, in the midst of the
Republican Revolutionthat swept Republicans into control of the Congress. In a year when many marginal seats fell to Republicans, Sanders managed a narrow three-point victory. In every other election, he has won at least 55 percent of the vote. In his last House campaign in 2004, Sanders took 69 percent to Republican Greg Parke's 24 percent and Democrat Larry Drown's 7 percent.
Sanders' lifetime legislative score from the
AFL-CIOis 100 percent. As of 2006, he has a grade of "C-" from the National Rifle Association(NRA). Sanders voted against the Brady Billand in favor of an NRA-supported bill to restrict lawsuits against gun manufacturers in 2005. [cite web
title =Final Vote Results for Roll Call 534
publisher = Office of the clerk,
US House of Representatives
url = http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2005/roll534.xml
accessdate = 2007-07-18 ] Sanders voted to abolish the so-called "marriage penalty" and also for a bill that sought to ban
human cloning. Sanders has endorsed every Democratic nominee for president of the United Statessince 1992. Sanders is a co-founder of the House Progressive Caucus and chaired the grouping of mostly left-wing Democrats for its first eight years.
Sanders voted against both resolutions authorizing the use of force against Iraq in 1991 and 2002, and opposed the
2003 invasion of Iraq. He later joined almost all of his colleagues in voting for a non-binding resolutionexpressing support for U.S. troops at the outset of the invasion, although he gave a floor speech criticizing the partisan nature of the resolution and the Bush administration's actions in the run-up to the war. In relation to the leak investigation involving Valerie Plame, on April 7, 2006, Sanders said, "The revelation that the president authorized the release of classified information in order to discredit an Iraq war critic should tell every member of Congress that the time is now for a serious investigation of how we got into the war in Iraq, and why Congress can no longer act as a rubber stamp for the president." [cite web
last = Yost
first = Pete
title =Libby: Bush, Cheney OK’d leak campaign
The Associated Press
url = http://bernie.org/?p=169
accessdate = 2007-07-18 ] Sanders supports
universal health careand opposes what he terms "unfettered" free trade[http://bernie.house.gov/trade.asp] , which he argues deprives American workers of their jobs while exploiting foreign workers in sweatshopfactories.
An amendment Sanders offered in June 2005 to limit provisions giving the government power to obtain individuals' library and book-buying records passed the House by a bipartisan majority, but was removed on
November 4of that year by House-Senate negotiators, and never became law. [ [https://lists.wisc.edu/read/messages?id=495733 Message ] ] Sanders followed this vote on November 5, 2005, by voting against the Online Freedom of Speech Act, which would have exempted the Internetfrom the restrictions of the McCain-Feingold Bill.
In March 2006, Sanders stated it would be impractical, given the "reality that the Republicans control the House and the Senate," to impeach
George W. Bushafter a series of resolutions calling for him to bring articles of impeachmentagainst the president passed in various towns in Vermont. Still, Sanders makes no secret of his opposition to the Bush Administration, which he has regularly attacked for cuts in social programs he supports. [http://bernie.house.gov/documents/releases/20040520150051.asp] ] [http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/6/24/155932/073] [http://bernie.house.gov/multimedia/video.asp?video='4791']
Sanders has also criticized
Alan Greenspan. In June 2003, during a question-and-answer discussion with then- Federal Reservechairman, Sanders told Greenspan that he was concerned that Greenspan was "way out of touch" and "that you see your major function in your position as the need to represent the wealthy and large corporations." [http://bernie.house.gov/statements/20030716135257.asp]
Republicans have attacked Sanders as "an ineffective extremist" for passing only one law and fifteen amendments in his eight terms in the House. [ [http://www.gopsenators.com/newsdesk/document.aspx?ID=238 National Republican Senatorial Committee ] ] [http://www.nrsc.org/newsdesk/document.aspx?ID=214] Sanders responded by saying that he had passed "the most floor amendments of any member of the House since 1996." [ [http://bernie.org/?p=53 » Bernie on GOP Hit List ] ]
Democratic National Committeechair Howard Deanhas stated that "Bernie Sanders votes with the Democrats 98 percent of the time." [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7924139 Transcript for May 22 - Meet the Press, online at MSNBC - MSNBC.com ] ]
Sanders had mentioned on several occasions that he would run for the Senate if Jeffords (with whom he has a longstanding friendship) were ever to retire, and entered the race on
April 21, 2005, following Jeffords's announcement that he would not seek a fourth term. New YorkSen. Chuck Schumer, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, endorsed Sanders; Schumer's backing was critical, as it meant that any Democrat running against Sanders could not expect to receive any significant financial help on a national level.
Sanders was also endorsed by Senate Minority Leader
Harry Reidof Nevada, and Democratic National Committeechairman and former Vermont governor Howard Dean. Dean said in May 2005 that he considered Sanders an ally who voted with House Democrats. Sen. Barack Obamaalso campaigned for Sanders in Vermont. Sanders entered into an agreement with the Democratic Party to be listed in their primary but to decline the nomination should he win, which he did easily. [cite news| url=http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060912/NEWS/60913001 |title=U.S. Senate: Tarrant-Sanders duel set |work=Burlington Free Press |date=2006-09-12 |accessdate=2006-11-08]
Speculation abounded that the state's popular Republican governor,
Jim Douglas, would enter the race as well. Many pundits believed Douglas was the only Republican who could possibly defeat Sanders. However, on April 30, Douglas announced he would seek a third term as governor. In the view of many pundits, this effectively handed the open seat to Sanders.
Sanders consistently led his Republican challenger, businessman
Richard Tarrant, by wide margins in polling. In the most expensive political campaign in Vermont's history,cite news |url=http://www.boston.com/news/local/vermont/articles/2006/11/07/sanders_welch_are_winners_in_vermont/ |title=Sanders, Welch are winners in Vermont |last=Ring |first=Wilson |work= Boston Globe|publisher=Associated Press |date= 2006-11-07|accessdate=2007-01-25] Sanders defeated Tarrant by an approximately 2-to-1 margin in the 2006 midterm election. Many national media outlets (including CNN) projected Sanders the winner before any returns came in.
Sanders is only the third Senator from Vermont to caucus with the Democrats — following Jeffords and
Patrick Leahy. Sanders made a deal with the Democratic leadership similar to the one Jeffords made after Jeffords became an independent. In exchange for receiving the committee seats that would be available to him as a Democrat, Sanders votes with the Democrats on all procedural matters unless he asks permission of Majority Whip Richard Durbin. However, such a request is almost never made and is almost never granted. He is free to vote as he pleases on policy matters, but almost always votes with the Democrats.
Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act of 2007was introduced by Senators Sanders and Barbara Boxer(D-CA) on January 15, 2007. The measure would provide funding for R&D on geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide, set emissions standards for new vehicles and a renewable fuels requirement for gasoline beginning in 2016, establish energy efficiency and renewable portfolio standards beginning in 2008 and low-carbon electric generation standards beginning in 2016 for electric utilities, and require periodic evaluations by the National Academy of Sciences to determine whether emissions targets are adequate. [ [http://www.environmentaldefense.org/page.cfm?tagID=1075 Climate Change Bills of the 110th Congress] "Environmental Defense", May 29, 2007.]
*Committee on Environment and Public Works
**Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety
**Subcommittee on Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection
**Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure
*Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
**Subcommittee on Energy
**Subcommittee on National Parks
**Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests
*Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
**Subcommittee on Children and Families
**Subcommittee on Retirement and Aging
*Committee on Veterans' Affairs
*Committee on the Budget
Personal life and trivia
Larry Sanders, is a Green Party politician in the county of Oxfordshirein England. His nephew, Jacob, is a former Oxford city councillor for the Greens.
*Bernie Sanders has regular guest appearances on the
Thom Hartmannradio program for the Friday segment "Brunch with Bernie."
*He is married to
Jane O'Meara, president of Burlington College, and has one son, Levi Sanders, from a previous marriage. [http://www.vote-smart.org/bio.php?can_id=H4042103]
*Bernie is one of three sitting US Senators who went to James Madison High School in Brooklyn.
*At one point before becoming a member of the
US House of Representatives, Bernie's roommate was Richard I. Sugarman, a professor at the University of Vermont. Coincidentally, the only other Independent currently serving in the US Senate, Joe Lieberman(I-CT) shared a suite with Prof. Sugarman when the two attended Yale in the 1960s. [cite news| url=http://www.projo.com/extra/election/content/projo_20060806_lieber5.1eef2ef.html| publisher=" The Providence Journal"| title=The fight of his life| date=2006-08-06| author=Scott MacKay]
*On April 21, 2008, Bernie appeared on "
The Colbert Report" as the featured guest. He has also appeared on " Real Time with Bill Maher".
2006 Vermont United States Senatorial Election
* [http://www.sanders.senate.gov United States Senator Bernie Sanders] , Senate site
* [http://bernie.org/ Bernie Sanders Election 2006] , Campaign site
* [http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/05/06/int05025.html Interview with Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders]
* [http://progressive.org/mag_intv1205 Bernie Sanders Interview with the Progressive Magazine]
* [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/11/08/1457245 Interview with Democracy Now! a few days before 2006 midterm elections]
* [http://www.motherjones.com/washington_dispatch/2006/11/bernie_sanders.html A Socialist in the Millionaires' Club: An Interview with Bernie Sanders]
;Articles by Sanders
* [http://www.alternet.org/workplace/101224/bailout_passes_senate%3B_9_reasons_that%27s_bad_news_for_you/?page=1 Bailout Passes Senate; 9 Reasons That's Bad News for You] by Bernie Sanders
* [http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0310-11.htm How a Bad Bill Becomes Law] by Bernie Sanders
* [http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0904-01.htm The Collapse of the Middle Class] by Bernie Sanders
* [http://www.commondreams.org/views03/1015-01.htm Free Trade Means America’s Biggest Export is its Jobs] by Bernie Sanders
* [http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0120-36.htm Ground Control to Mr. Bush] by Bernie Sanders
* [http://www.commondreams.org/views/021200-101.htm Falling Behind In Boom Times] by Bernie Sanders
* [http://www.commondreams.org/views01/1224-06.htm A Year of Contrasts: Courage, Sacrifice and...Corporate Greed] by Bernie Sanders
* [http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0515-09.htm The Export-Import Bank: Corporate Welfare At Its Worst] by Bernie Sanders
* [http://www.commondreams.org/views01/0817-05.htm U.S. Needs A Political Revolution] by Bernie Sanders
* [http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0510-26.htm Remote Control] by Bernie Sanders
* [http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0217-32.htm Censorship of the Media Creating Insidious Chill on Free Expression on our Airwaves] by Bernie Sanders
* [http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0119-03.htm The USA Patriot Act: What Are You Reading?] by Bernie Sanders
* [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN1859848710&id=F3OIZHfRhfgC&pg=PP1&lpg=PP1&ots=oQef9lRqWC&dq=outsider+in+the+house+by+Bernard+Sanders&sig=rUQropGu419QrA9oVQk7BoMAUrM Google Books Link to "Outsider In The House"] by Bernie Sanders
;Articles about Sanders
* [http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061217/NEWS/612170367/1024/NEWS04 Is Bernie the next Aiken?]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6173577.stm The first socialist senator in US history is set to stir things up]
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/midterms2006/story/0,,1937064,00.html Vermont poised to elect America's first socialist senator]
* [http://www.thenation.com/doc/20050815/nichols Being Like Bernie] by John Nichols
*Geoffrey Norman, "
National Review", "Get Ready for Senator Bernie" ( 10 April 2006)
* [http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0512-25.htm A Socialist in the Senate?] by Matthew Rothschild
* [http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0716-13.htm Rep. Bernie Sanders vs. Chairman Alan Greenspan]
* [http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0615-03.htm Congress Can No Longer Ignore Corporate Control of the Media]
* [http://www.dartmouth.edu/~thepress/read.php?id=565 Bernie Sanders: Alone in the House]
* [http://vermont-archives.org/govhistory/elect/results3/rep1.htm Vermont Election Results — U. S. House of Representatives, 1791–2004]
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/04/AR2006110401124.html Exceedingly Social, But Doesn't Like Parties — Washington Post]
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/21/magazine/21Sanders.t.html The Socialist Senator — New York Times Sunday Magazine,
21 January 2007]
* [http://www.uniteforlife.org/sandersblind.pdf Sanders Turns Blind Eye To Victims, Sponsors Deadly MOTHERS Act]
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