Bernard Sanders is an American politician serving as the senior United States senator from Vermont, a seat he has held since 2007. He was the U.S. representative for the state's at-large congressional district from 1991 to 2007. Sanders is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history. He has a close relationship with the Democratic Party, having caucused with House and Senate Democrats for most of his congressional career. A self-described democratic socialist, he is often seen as a leader of the progressive movement in the United States. Sanders unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party nomination for president of the United States in 2016 and 2020, finishing in second place in both campaigns. Before his election to Congress, he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Born into a working-class Jewish family and raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, Sanders attended Brooklyn College before graduating from the University of Chicago in 1964.