U.S. Senator Bernard Sanders Speech at The Brookings Institution
Washington, D.C. February 9, 2015
Let me thank The Brookings Institution for hosting this event, E.J. Dionne for moderating it, and all of you for coming out this morning. I appreciate your being here very much.
Before I begin my remarks let me say a few words about myself and how I got here, because my journey here has been, to say the least, a little bit different than many others who have been on this platform.
I was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1941. My father came to this country from Poland at the age of 17 without a penny in his pocket and without much of an education. My mother graduated high school in New York City. My family was never really poor, but we never had much money. My father was a paint salesman and we were solidly lower-middle class. My parents, brother and I lived in a small rent-controlled apartment. As a kid, I learned what lack of money means to a family. That's a lesson I have never forgotten.
My wife Jane and I have been married for 27 years. We have four kids and seven grandchildren. And, without trying to be overly dramatic about it, what motivates me politically is the question of what kind of country and world they will live in.
As the longest serving Independent in American congressional history, let me briefly describe to you my political journey.
In 1971, in a special election held to fill the seat of deceased senator, I ran for the U.S. Senate on a small third party in Vermont called the Liberty Union. I received 2 percent of the vote. A year later, in the general election, I ran for governor of Vermont. I received 1 percent of the vote. Two years later, in 1974, I ran for the Senate again and received 4 percent of the vote. Two years after that I ran for governor and received 6 percent of the vote.