Senator Bernie Sanders is serving his second term in the U.S. Senate after winning re-election in 2012 with 71 percent of the vote. His previous 16 years in the House of Representatives make him the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. Born in 1941 in Brooklyn, Sanders attended James Madison High School, Brooklyn College and the University of Chicago. After graduating in 1964, he moved to Vermont. In 1981, he was elected (by 10 votes) to the first of four terms as mayor of Burlington. Sanders lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and at Hamilton College in upstate New York before his 1990 election as Vermont's at-large member in Congress.
Sanders' campaign against Hillary Clinton for the party's 2016 U.S. presidential nomination raised more money in small, individual contributions than any other in American history, and helped Sanders to rise to international recognition. This was the only time in Sanders' career that he publicly identified as a Democrat, and he has since announced he will return to the Senate as an independent.