Bernard "Bernie" Sanders was born September 8, 1941 to a Jewish family in New York; his father was a survivor of the Holocaust. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1964. As a student, Sanders was active in the Civil Rights movement and already interested in politics. Sanders moved to Vermont, shortly after graduation, continued his political activism, and was a political candidate for small progressive parties as well as working in the nonprofit sector. He was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981 and served through 1989, and was responsible for implementing a downtown revitalization plan that led Burlington to win several awards for being one of the most livable small cities in the United States.
In 1991, Sanders was elected to the House of Representatives as a independent. In his tenure at the house, he co-founded and chaired the Congressional Progressive Caucus. In 2006 he was elected to the Senate; although he ran as an Independent, he was endorsed by the Democratic Party in Vermont, and thus was not opposed by them in the election. He has continued to serve in the Senate. On April 30, 2015, he announced that he would campaign to be the Democratic candidate for President in the 2016 election.