Bernard "Bernie" Sanders (born September 8, 1941) is the junior United States Senator from Vermont. He previously represented Vermont's at-large district in the United States House of Representatives. Sanders also served as mayor of Burlington, Vermont.
Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist, and has praised European social democracy. He is the first person elected to the U.S. Senate to identify as a socialist. Sanders caucuses with the Democratic Party and is counted as a Democrat for the purposes of committee assignments, but because he does not belong to a formal political party, he appears as an independent on the ballot. He was also the only independent member of the House during much of his service there.