Politics

Bernie Sanders’ early days in Vermont: His life, loves and circuitous route to politics

A photo of Bernie Sanders from an October, 1974 Liberty Union political party newsletter. Courtesy of the Liberty Union and UVM collections.
A photo of Bernie Sanders from an October, 1974 Liberty Union political party newsletter. Courtesy of the Liberty Union and UVM collections.
There is a period of time in Sen. Bernie Sanders’ life that has remained something of a mystery to the public for 50 years. When exactly did he come to Vermont? And where did he set roots before he settled in Burlington?

The 73-year-old senator with a Brooklyn accent is running for president, and his message of “truth” as supporters see it, has gained traction. His popularity has surprised everyone, even his devotees in Vermont.

As Sanders’ campaign gains steam, the national media has turned the spotlight on his personal life. Until now, Sanders has kept his private life very private, and reporters in Vermont tend to take a hands-off approach to the personal lives of political candidates.

In Sanders’ case, a Republican opposition research project about his early life in Vermont backfired during his 1996 campaign for Congress. The research, which was given to reporters, resulted in stories about … opposition research, not about where Sanders was and what he was doing during the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s when he was coming of age.

As national reporters scrutinize Sanders’ fitness as a candidate for president, that genteel respect for privacy that’s uniquely New England has gone by the wayside. The national press is analyzing every word the senator wrote as a young man and exhuming details of his personal and professional decisions.

One period of his life, the years from 1964 to 1971, however, has been left unexplained. In media profiles of the senator, Sanders is transported from graduation at the University of Chicago to his idealistic foray into politics with the Liberty Union party.

But what brought Bernie Sanders to Vermont, and made him the candidate he is now, wasn’t the hope of finding a home in politics. It was simply to find a home that happened to be about as different as one could imagine from the place he grew up: Brooklyn.

Sanders dreamed of owning a piece of land, and he shared that vision with his brother Larry, sources have said. But by the late 1960s his brother, who is eight years his senior, had moved to England, where he’s lived ever since.

Sanders didn’t let the dream die, though. Shortly after he graduated on June 13, 1964, with a B.A. from the University of Chicago in political science, he moved to Vermont.

News reports have pegged his move to Vermont to much later in the 1960s, and the locations cited are either Burlington, as the New York Times reported recently, or Middlesex, which is tied to the purchase of a piece of land with his then-wife Deborah as Mother Jones reported in May.

Both accounts are incorrect.

As is a story from the National Journal that reports Sanders lived in New York City immediately after graduation.

Though Sanders’ early days in Vermont have been portrayed as that of a revolutionary, his actual life in the late 1960s and early 1970s was like that of any 20-something.

Sanders came to Vermont with Deborah Messing, his college sweetheart, in 1964. Recently married, they bought 85 acres in central Vermont that August for $2,500. It’s been called the sugar shack in the press, and a love shack by locals in the town of Middlesex, but the small structure on Shady Rill Road wasn’t by any means a permanent residence. It had running water and no electricity. Messing and Sanders left Vermont and traveled through Europe, just as the war in Vietnam was escalating. About 18 months later, in 1966, they divorced.

Deborah married Bob Messing in 1967, and together they bought out Sanders’ share of the Middlesex property in 1968. The two had a daughter five years later.

An Bernie Sanders portrait from an undated Liberty Union party newsletter, touting his run for governor (he ran and lost in 1974 and 1976.) Courtesy of the Liberty Union and UVM collections.
A Bernie Sanders portrait from an undated Liberty Union party newsletter, touting his run for governor (he ran and lost in 1974 and 1976.) Courtesy of the Liberty Union and UVM collections.

Most biographical sketches of Sanders list his son Levi (for the record, pronounced LEH-vee) as a product of his first marriage. After Levi was born in 1969, so the story goes, the couple parted ways, and Sanders found a place for himself in the Liberty Union party, where he took “revolutionary” stances bucking the status quo.

Messing says the story that he came to Vermont “with his first wife, had a kid and moved to Stannard,” as cited by Wikipedia, is also incorrect. “I never moved to Stannard,” Messing says.

Messing said that version of the story is oft-repeated, and has perpetuated a major error: That she, Messing, is the mother of Levi Sanders. In fact, the mother of Sanders’ only biological son is Susan Glaeser. (She is listed on Levi’s birth certificate as both Susan Campbell Mott and Susan Sanders, which was also the name attributed to her in a local newspaper’s birth announcements.)

Sanders moved to Stannard with his girlfriend, Susan Mott, in 1968, and his son was born in March 1969. They lived together in the tiny Northeast Kingdom town until 1971 when Mott and Sanders split up. Sanders moved to Burlington, and Mott later married Hendrik Glaeser, a fellow Stannard resident.

Neither Messing or Glaeser has been previously identified in news reports.

In an interview with VTDigger, Messing, 70, who is retired and volunteers with 350 Vermont, a local climate change organization, talked about her move to Vermont with Sanders, who introduced her to the state she’s called home for decades. She declined to comment about her personal relationship with the senator.

“I consider him a friend, and support his efforts for the presidential candidacy,” she said from her home in Montpelier.

BirthAnnounce
The two birth notices published in a the Caledonian Record in 1969 for Bernie Sanders’ son.

After Sanders became mayor in 1981, she saw a news story that mistakenly pegged his first wife as Levi’s mother.

“I noticed that after the mayoral certification,” she said, when she saw a profile on him in the paper. “I wondered about it. It is just really weird,” she said. “And irrelevant. Then suddenly it’s important when you’re running for president.”

She wasn’t named in the story, and Messing never publicly brought the error to light.

“It was just that it was not a big deal,” she said. “And I assumed it was somebody’s mistake and it had just fallen through the cracks.”

VTDigger asked Bernie Sanders’ campaign office for a comment about why Sanders didn’t correct the record at some point over the past 35 years. The campaign did not respond to the request before publication of this story.

Susan Glaeser, who now lives in Burlington, declined to comment except to say she didn’t “really know him anymore.”

When pressed further about who he might have spent time with or what kind of a person he was, she said: “I don’t know, I don’t keep track of him. I don’t know.”

Hendrik Glaeser, who owns a sign-making shop in the South End, said, “We like to keep the family stuff private” when asked about his wife’s relationship with the senator.

Martha Abbott, a founder of the Liberty Union party and longtime political ally, recalls that Sanders was devoted to Levi. He had partial custody of his son, and as a single father he struggled to make ends meet — he wrote freelance articles for publications and was for a time unemployed.

“He was very committed to being a parent,” Abbott said. “And he scraped together the money to take care of him.”

Sanders was very employable at the time, she says, but for a few years “he was trying out different things.”

“He wanted to do more writing, and I think he wanted to be there for Levi and spend time with him, and there were some choices involved,” Abbott said.


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  • Wendy Wilton

    Thank you VTDigger for doing the research on this time in Bernie’s life. The question I have is did he support his son financially, or was that up to the mother and/or the state of VT during the years he was ‘trying to find himself’? To me that’s a big difference. You can be as ‘committed’ to spending time with your child as anyone else, but if you have no commitment to support your child’s housing, food and clothing needs then that speaks to personal responsibility…just sayin’…
    But then, I suppose a true socialist might think that’s OK. I believe most people I know would not agree that’s acceptable.

    • Jess Wisloski

      Hi Wendy,

      We have asked these questions of the family, other sources, and Sanders, and will continue reporting on this.

    • Kathy Callaghan

      “He was very committed to being a parent,” Abbott said. “And he scraped together the money to take care of him.”

    • Ron Pulcer

      Wendy,

      So, Bernie’s family history in his 20’s – 30’s decades are a little bit “complicated”, or “unclear”. That is what VTDigger is trying to find out.

      Rather than casting judgment, compare Bernie to a prior Presidential Primary candidate in 2012:

      The difference between Bernie Sanders and Newt Gingrich is that despite Newt’s even more complicated family history, Newt Gingrich went about casting judgement on others like Bill Clinton in the 1990s, and young unemployed African Americans in 2012.

      Bernie Sanders may be very critical of Wendy’s party cohorts, but it is about the “policy” and not the personality. You may disagree with Bernie (and I don’t always agree with everything he says), but he is trying to focus on discussing the “issues” that confront our country.

      Wendy, remember the recent headlines about the former Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert (Illinois), and Sen. Norm McAllister (Franklin County)?

      Now, can we get back to discussing the real “ISSUES” please?

      • Wendy Wilton

        For me this is a real issue. I would have the same concerns about a Republican or independent running for higher office if it appeared they did not assume responsibility for a child. It speaks to character and ethics.

        • Peter Liston

          It only ‘appears’ that way to you. And this line of attack speaks volumes to why the Republican party is in the minority in Vermont.

          • Barry Kade

            Ms. Wilton’s suspicion’s are 100% correct. Had Bernie chosen to be a responsible parent he would have done what the past 3 Republican candidates for president have done, inherit a fortune.

          • Joan Bingham

            Yes it does. What is your point?

        • This is a very important issue to me as well. It goes to character.

  • With all due respect, Ms. Wilton, your ‘conclusion’ demonstrates your willingness to interpret any information so as to cast aspersions on a foe.

    Accepting responsibility, including financial responsibility, for one’s child, is universal – while differing from culture to culture.

    A “true socialist” – What?

    DID Bernie accept full responsibility as a father?

    My bet is that he did.

    • Patrick Leonardo

      By having a child out of wedlock, denying a constant mother and father relationship that’s mistake number 1. But just a mistake. The question is legitimate, how much material provisions did Sanders provide his son. It’s good that the socialist bought acres of private property, but did he adequately provide for his own. Or, in line with his party’s ideology, did he at least align, or coerce, the resources of his affluent neighbor’s and his city’s to provide for his son if he was busy figuring out life?

    • Anne Spanier

      A good question and lots of speculation. Why don’t some of the Bernie supporters simply say I dont know, which is the truth.

  • Ann Meade

    “He was very committed to being a parent,” Abbott said. “And he scraped together the money to take care of him.”
    Just sayn’. Are you trying to say that Ms. Abbott is lying? Otherwise, just looks like pot stirring.

    • “Pot stirring” – a good old fashioned term.

      So, Bernie’s not your guy, Ms. Wilton, are you pot stirring as Ms. Meade asks?

      One unusual thing about Bernie is that the more the pot is stirred, the better Bernie looks. Most unusual.

      Effective pot stirring may be a lost art. Thank you for keeping it alive.

    • Wendy Wilton

      Ms. Abbott’s comment appears to be a way to make light of what is possibly a serious issue in his past and her best effort to cover for him. How would she know if he paid child support, or not? Even if she were a close friend at the time it seems unlikely she would would know his personal finances in detail.

      Also, If Bernie was committed to being a parent why did he not mention this son Levi or be seen with him during his long career in public life? Did he live with his father at some point, even in Bernie’s early days in Burlington?

      Most Divorced parents seem to make extra efforts to be with their children during the formative years and are proud of them. This whole aspect of Bernie’s life seems so odd.

      • mary e. smith

        I have to agree. I never knew he even HAD a son! Where is this (not young, more like middle-aged) man? What is his story? What is he doing for a living? People do want to know about the families of candidates–it’s normal, expected, and candidates should be prepared for this kind of curiosity. It’s not just about “the issues.” It’s about the whole package, and that includes things like personality, “likeability” and family ties/stories.

        • Ann Meade

          It’s fine to want to learn more but why assume the absolute worst? There is no doubt that the media will poke and prod. But why not make it about the issues? I couldn’t care less who Bill Clinton sleeps with or if Bernie has a kid not interested in the limelight.

    • Anne Spanier

      It seems telling that the mother of Bernie’s child makes the comments she does. Read them again and let’s hear some really good rationalizations.

  • I graduated from college just about the same time as Bernie did in the mid 1960s.

    After college, Bernie went off to tour Europe just as the Vietnam war was escalation. Meanwhile I and just about every other guy of our age went into the military to serve our country.

    Regardless of what one may have thought of the Vietnam war, how did Bernie get out of serving his country when it was calling all young men?

    • Lee Madden

      “…just about about every other guy…” except: Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Donald Trump, Tom Delay, Rick Santorum, Paul Wolfowitz, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Dennis Hastert, et al (http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=364×1440824)

      • Andi Rosin

        Thank you. I was going to post the same thing. You forgot Rush Limbaugh. I thought we were past criticizing people who did not serve, esp. since so many of the people in the Bush Adm. advocating for war never served. Peter Yankowski’s post (in my opinion) was irrelevant to the story.

      • robert bristow-johnson

        ” “…just about about every other guy…” except: …”

        Woot!

        as Fred sez: ” the more the pot is stirred, the better Bernie looks.”

    • Genevieve Cseh

      I’ve seen reports that he applied as a conscientious objector and by the time the application was rejected he was too old to be drafted. He’s been very involved in veterans’ rights projects so to act like he has no interest in the rights of veterans of war is rather unfair.

    • Nick Monsarrat

      Bernie in 1964, like me in 1963 when I graduated from college, probably lost his student deferment status upon graduation. In my case I became 1A and was drafted four months later while I was in Paris (my parents forwarded the draft notice to me and I returned to the U.S. to join the Air Force.) The question Bernie should answer is what his draft status was after he graduated in 1964 from the University of Chicago, and if he had another sort of deferment thereafter, which could well be. Back then, many sought deferments and received them for a variety of reasons (some legitimate, some sketchy, a la Bill Clinton and other well-connected people)

    • Darren Allen

      It took me about five minutes searching through Google. Here’s the answer, from the Army Times (about as pro-military as you can get):

      “He never served in the military because he was too old to be drafted when his draft number came up. He protested the Vietnam War as a University of Chicago student in the 1960s and stressed his opposition to the war during his failed Senate bid in 1971.”

      In other words, luck of the draw.

      Full article here: http://archive.armytimes.com/article/20130308/NEWS/303080307/Vietnam-protester-Sanders-now-battles-vets

      • Stephen McClellan

        Sen. Sanders graduated from U. Chicago in 1964 at which time he would have lost his student deferment. The draft was held in Dec. 1969 and the results were used to select draftees starting in 1970. The question is how did he avoid being drafted during the period 1964 to 1970.

        • Adam Fuller

          And the answer is “luck of the draw”.

    • Walter Carpenter

      “a la Bill Clinton and other well-connected people)”

      Like George W. Bush (who hid out in the Texas air guard and even went awol), Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, and numerous other war hawks of today, who have no problem sending other people’s kids to wars they start to further their own ends.

    • mary e. smith

      If your “bet is that he did” then you shouldn’t get your knickers in a twist if VT DIGGER does some research into these questions, then. There is nothing “wrong” with getting it all out there. If this research doesn’t happen now, it will happen later. The “Nothing to see here, move along” approach to full disclosure never works. Let’s hear it all–the good, the bad, the salacious, even. George Bush was busted for cocaine, went AWOL from the Nattional Guard and got a DWI in Maine. Should that have been swept under the rug, too? They sure tried, and the lies were worse than just getting the truth out there. Our past informs our present.

  • Dan Woodbury

    Thank you Jess Wiloski and VTDigger for your unbiased, even-handed, no-jumping-to-conclusions reporting. I wish the national media would pick up this piece.

    • Jess Wisloski

      You’re welcome, and thanks for the compliment – blame the genteel nature of our area. As for getting this story out there, you can help – there’s email, Twitter, Reddit, Facebook – please do share it socially!

  • Bonnie MacBrien

    For shame Wendy Wilton. Guess you are ignoring the part of the article that says “He had partial custody of his son, and as a single father he struggled to make ends meet — he wrote freelance articles for publications and was for a time unemployed. “He was very committed to being a parent,” Abbott said. “And he scraped together the money to take care of him.” In your zeal to cast aspersions on someone you don’t agree with politically, you resort to nasty innuendo and character assassination.
    Cheap shot is the nicest way that can be described and you have a long track record of that type of behavior when commenting on someone who has different political/social beliefs that you. That reveals much more about your character than Mr. Sanders.

  • Gary Murdock

    This is all so unnecessary, but thanks to Bernie his past remains a mystery. Is he hiding something, or does he do this to amuse himself ? Bernie has made the conscious decision to enter the national spotlight, and if there is one thing in national politics that is truly bi partisan, it’s the critique of a candidates past. Even the most ardent Bernie supporter cant deny that absolute fact: it’s undeniable. Would you really trust a man to be president of the United States when he wont even answer the most basic of questions about his past? This soap opera exposes a serious flaw in the mans character, if his supporters cant see it then they are truly blind.

    • Fred Woogmaster

      It depends, Mr. Murdock.

      If one chooses to not talk about his/her past in order to protect the privacy of those who would be impacted, and who have nothing to do with the present, that is one choice, and – I would surmise – Bernie’s choice.

      Dodging the issue, which by the way is not Bernie’s style, by not discussing it – is another matter entirely.

      I see no more flaw in this “man’s character” than I do in the character of any other; less than many.

    • H. Brooke Paige

      Isn’t this ability to deflect questions about one’s past how we wound up with our current man of mystery “Barry O”, who has hidden every document relating to his life in Hawaii, Chicago and Boston.

      Are we ready for four more years of endless questions about yet another questionable fellow?

      Let’s get it all out now so we don’t get a bunch of big surprises later !

      Yet to be l discussed is Bernie’s time “teaching” at Goddard College in Plainfield where he “took up with” Jane O’Meara Driscoll (Sanders), then an administrator at Goddard.

      More pulp for another story !

    • Denise Myers

      It’s sad that when there’s no fire there are still people who demand to fan SOMETHING to make any piece of non-issue come up. Why do people, in general, crave drama?

      If after all of the digging has been done there is nothing aghast about someone, why not let that be? If YOU find something, please let us know. Because for now, the media seems to come up empty.

      But you keep searching for that evidence. The rest of us will look at the issues of this country and see if we can’t piece together a decent America. 🙂

  • Kathy Callaghan

    While we’re setting the record straight on who did not serve…

    Republicans

    Spencer Abraham: Did not serve
    Eliot Abrams: Did not serve
    Richard Armitage: Navy, three tours in Vietnam
    John Ashcroft: Did not serve
    Roy Blunt: Did not serve
    Michael Bloomberg: Did not serve
    George W. Bush: Texas Air Nat. Guard; skipped duty; didn’t take physical; suspended from flying
    Jeb Bush: Did not serve
    Saxby Chambliss: Did not serve. Attacked Cleland’s patriotism
    Dick Cheney: Did not serve
    Christopher Cox: Did not serve
    Tom DeLay: Did not serve
    John Engler: Did not serve
    Douglas Feith: Did not serve
    Bill Frist: Did not serve
    Newt Gingrich: Did not serve
    Rudy Giuliani: Did not serve
    Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer
    Phil Gramm: Did not serve
    Dennis Hastert: Did not serve
    Tim Hutchison: Did not serve
    Jack Kemp: Did not serve. “Knee problem,” continued in NFL for 8 years
    Jon Kyl: Did not serve
    Trent Lott: Did not serve
    John McCain: POW in Vietnam, Legion of Merit, Silver star, DFC, many more
    Mitch McConnell: Did not serve
    John McHugh: Did not serve
    George Pataki: Did not serve
    Richard Perle: Did not serve
    Colin Powell: 35 years in Army, 4-star general
    Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard
    Dana Rohrabacher: Did not serve
    Karl Rove: Did not serve
    Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor
    Rick Santorum: Did not serve
    Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base
    Richard Shelby: Did not serve
    JC Watts: Did not serve
    Vin Weber: Did not serve
    Paul Wolfowitz: Did not serve
    Andy Card – no service
    Condi Rice – no service
    John Bolton – no service
    Don Nichols – no service
    David Dreier – no service

    • Jamie Carter

      I don’t see any Democrats in there. Do all democrats serve? Hillary?

      On another note, many of these people are not of the age where they would have been called upon to serve.

      It’s unfortunate that partisianship has reached a level whereby this is the level that discourse devolves too.

      • Andi Rosin

        Jamie, It was someone in an earlier post who brought up Bernie not having served. It was irrelevant to the article, and served no purpose other than to try to insult him.

        So your valid gripe about this being a low level of partisanship should be directed to the person who chose to post about Bernie never having served.

        Hence, it was well within the right of others to point out many others who did not serve. And I think if you look at the list posted above, most were of age to serve and did not.

        • So Andi Rosin now ups the charges from “irrelevant” to “insult” based on my observation relating to Jess Wiloski’s and Anne Galloway’s words in this article:

          “…..Sanders left Vermont and traveled through Europe, just as the war in Vietnam was escalating.”

          Maybe, Mr. Rosin’s angst should be focused on why this particular fact about Bernie was initially reported in the first place. Based on Presidential campaigns dating back generations to Eisenhower and JFK and before, candidates have taken serving their country in the military as a badge of honor.

          This is an honor that Bernie cannot claim as pointed out by the authors of the article. A fact that has apparently proven to be painful to some.

          The American people can decide among military heroes Ike and JFK or European tourist Bernie Sanders.

          • Fred Woogmaster

            Fortunately or unfortunately, Mr. Yankowski, we have neither JFK nor Ike to vote for present day.

            The ‘playing field’ is tilted, uneven and rigged. Bernie has been saying so for years and represents the greatest hope for serious reform.

            As a veteran, I have no problem with Sanders’ lack of military experience. He is one of many thousands from that era with similar draft experiences. His is not unusual.

          • Doug Hoffer

            Mr. Yankowski

            There are many ways to serve. “European tourist Bernie Sanders” has been elected by and served the people of Vermont for 34 years.

          • Let’s say that Bernie continues to build up political steam to a point that gets irksome to Hillary Clinton and her attack team.

            Based on the no holds barred, destroy the enemy/opponent at any cost history the Clintons have developed over the past 25 years, what do you think Bernie can expect?

            Once Hillary gets done with Bernie, my observation on his non-military service will look like the good old days.

            Bernie supporters better toughen up because things could get a whole worse if your favorite son gets anywhere near the brass ring and the Clinton attack dogs have to be unleashed.

          • Thank you Mr. Hoffer for pointing out that there are many ways to serve our country.

            Folks forget that Hillary Clinton has also served her country for many years, 8 years as First Lady, 8 years as my Senator from my native New York State.

            Indeed, military service does not define whether one has served their country. I was prevented from serving in the military because of a heart defect that has been repaired twice though I serve my country today in my herculean efforts for justice and my continued efforts to recover millions for the State of Vermont and the U.S. Treasury which all Vermonter’s and American’s are on the hook for whenever anyone embezzles public resources.

            Bravo Mr. Hoffer for your innate ability to cut to the chase.

            Thomas Joseph
            http://www.brattlebororetreat.info
            Twitter: relator_joseph

          • Patrick Cashman

            Doug,
            The topic is military service, so no, there aren’t “many ways”. The question was; when his country was at war, what was Bernie doing? The answer appears to be indulging his petty whims and wishes. We may understand how he avoided the draft, but that certainly didn’t prevent him from volunteering like so many others.
            And by the way, the idea that you would equate being pampered at the tax payer expense with willfully risking your all for your nation during a time of war is ridiculous.

          • Fred Woogmaster

            This article, Mr. Yankowski, illustrates some of what you say:

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/h-a-goodman/bernie-sanders-hillary-clinton_b_7761072.html

          • Andi Rosin

            Mr. Yankowski,
            I really have no desire to get into a long term back and forth about this, as my experience shows that back and firths like this often end up becoming antagonistic. But, I would like to clear up a couple of things.

            1. I know you have no way of knowing this, but just to let you know, I am a female, not a male.

            2. I find it very strange that you brought up Bernie was never in the military, when, as several others have pointed out, neither did most were most of the people in the Bush Adm. who had no problem sending other people’s children to a war that never should have happened. Cheney’s reason for not being drafted was, “he had better things to do”. Does that bother you at all? The list of people of both parties who never served is quite long, so it seems a disingenuous for you to single out Bernie.

            However, since Bernie’s military service is really not an indicator of his fitness to be president. And as someone else has commented, Bernie has been one of the most ardent supporters of veterans issues.

            So, now can we turn the conversation to the actual issues facing this country?

    • David Dempsey

      Katy,
      You have done a lot of research to come up with your list of people who haven’t been in the service. The service records of these people must be public information. Is your point that these people are bad because they haven’t served or is it that Bernies service record doesn’t need to be public information because these other people admitted they were never in the service.

  • Bill Olenick

    Watching Mr.Sanders serge in the polls is no surprise as the voters have had enough and will flock to straight talkers and shooters.
    Even though I disagree with both men in various degrees I think that the most electable ticket would be a Rand Paul/Bernie Sanders ticket as both men are well known for straightforwardness and speaking their minds, agree with them or not, and people have had enough of slick, meaningless, self serving fast talk, and a ticket such as this would show a united effort between the 2 major parties to work together for the betterment of our nation; so were this the ticket they would get elected in a landslide…food for thought for the RNC and the DNC.

  • Kevin

    So, first this article says that Mother Jones got it wrong when they reported Bernie moved to Middlesex; then it says Bernie moved to Middlesex (linking to the same incorrect Mother Jones article). What gives?

    • Jess Wisloski

      Thanks for noting that potential haziness for readers, Kevin. As our article originally stated, the late 60s is when the magazine’s story credited the move; in fact, it was 1964. We added “much later” to that sentence to make our findings *much* clearer.

  • Yes, the above comments are all pretty political! As a friend of Deborah Messing, I am so glad she has now had a chance to clear her name and the name of the real mother of Levi.
    I first met Bernie when during my first week as a General Assistance worker for the State of VT in Burlington when the legislature had just cut all able bodied GA receivers off benefits, much to my surprise! Bernie was there advocating for two immigrant single parents, and did he advocate! This was about 1973, as I recall. Needless to say, I did not last much longer at this position which forced me to say “NO” to everyone who was applying for benefits. Yes, Bernie, I remember those days! And I am a proud supporter of Bernie for President…

  • Patty Howe Willey

    So, BS, came to VT sometime between college graduation and 1980. He apparently spent some time as a bartender in a bar called Tuners, in St, Albans. These were the real Hippie days when trust funded city people invaded VT to “live off the land”. From Franklin County to the Northeast Kingdom of VT, They came with booze and pot to share with interested locals. This prompted St, Albans to hire a former police chief from Vergennes, VT to come in and clean up the local drug culture. A number of people were arrested, some wrongfully, but obviously the problem did not go away. Bernie went South, apparently, where he made a name for himself and ousted some of the more competent Irish Democrats with his Progressive agenda. He has proudly made it Clear that he is a Socialist which came as no surprise. He has the gift of gab and as we all know, has been serving as a US senator from VT. If you agree that wealthy people should pay 90% of their incomes in taxes so the rest of us can move a little closer to the top, I guess he’s your man. His claim to fame here in VT seems to be that he got a bill giving 7 million $ to VT to build a Rail Trail. If anyone knows of other contributions he has made to our State, please let us know.

  • Michael Badamo

    I’d like to see Bernie pick Elizabeth Warren for VP. That would be my dream team. However, my first thought when he announced his candidacy was that if he won only one primary it would be a victory. I’m sorry I have such low expectations these days.

  • Paul Richards

    Due to the events leading up to the current President being elected (twice) it has been proven beyond any doubt that a person’s past and a person’s accomplishments have absolutely no bearing on their electability. Vetting is no longer required. One’s past history, upbringing, educational prowess, political beliefs, respect for traditional American values or lifetime accomplishments are no longer required information for American voters. All it takes is a slick tongue, a whole lot of promises and a compliant media to be elected. Bernie should have no problem.

    • Howard Tepper

      Gee Paul, I hope you’re right about Bernie. It seemed to work very well for twice elected GWB.

  • Joshua Brennig

    Thank you for clearing up the draft dodging accusation- if he wasn’t drafted, he certainly didn’t dodge and I will correct people who claim otherwise. By all accounts, Bernie was a great dad and well loved by his son and stepkids, so I see no problem there. My concern is the 85 acres of land he owned when he first started out. I read in other bios that Bernie inherited the land. This is important because one of the main accusations against his rival Hillary Clinton is that she started out with a financial advantage (she actually didn’t), while Bernie came from humble beginnings. Can you substantiate the purchase of the 85 acres in Vermont? Please try to find out about that. Thank you.

    • Karen McCartney

      Bernie, his brother and his wife put their money together, to buy the land in VT.

      • Colette Newton

        Bernie and his brother used inherited money and I believe his first wife’s family were well off financially

  • kathryn sullivan

    Do we know where his son is now?

    • Sonia Fradkin

      Yes, he has a home in Claremont, N.H. and Boston where he works.

  • Beatrice Scheinbaum

    My dislike for Donald Trump is ample…His policies (if you can call them that), his tone, his bullying, his narcissism. However, his three children who on occasion appear in his campaign are his best credentials. He obviously must have done something very right. With Bernie Sanders, the corollary is true. What I know of his policies I like. I’m an advocate but what I know of his personal life raises serious doubts. He seems to be a man looking for a life raft. He seems to have had a part-time life, a part-time commitment to just about everything of consequence. The fact that his one biological child seems to to be nowhere in sight is a serious red flag (as importantly, I’ve never heard Sanders refer to his son. He’s quoted as referring that his many step children are “like his own.” The problem is, they are NOT his own and I doubt that he supported any of them. But his DOES have his own. Where is he? Just as it is for any of us, genuinely knowing our children without the editing will tell you more about us as people than anything else. Until I hear from Sander’s one son, I can only see his as an “as if” candidate with an “as-if” life.

  • I’m from the south so maybe these are cultural differences but I’m perplexed why the ladies involved didn’t get the official bio corrected, pronto, a Long time ago. And, the Sanders and Glaesers live in the same town AND share grandkids but they don’t keep up contact with each other?? Hmmm. Sure not my experience. Haha.