Key things to know about Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont

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Key things to know about independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is expected to enter the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign on Thursday, according to people familiar with his decision:

THE BRIEF

A self-described "democratic socialist" who says he likes Scandinavian-style government, Sanders was credited as mayor of Burlington in the 1980s with leading an urban rebirth in Vermont's largest city, then went on to serve eight terms in the U.S. House. He is in his second term in the U.S. Senate.

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RESUME REVIEW

Sanders was active in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while at the University of Chicago in the early 1960s. He joined the March on Washington, which featured the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech, in 1963. He later joined the influx of counterculture, back-to-the-land migrants to Vermont and held various jobs, including carpenter and filmmaker. He was an early member of the Vermont-based Liberty Union Party, but had more success running for office as an independent. Drawing on support from University of Vermont students and others, Sanders upset the longtime incumbent mayor of Burlington by 10 votes in 1981 and served the rest of the decade in that post. He won election to Vermont's lone congressional seat in 1990 and to the Senate in 2006. He has continued with the independent label, but he caucuses with Democrats and serves as ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.

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Bernie Sanders through the years
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Key things to know about Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during an event in Iowa Falls, Iowa, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. With a week to go until the Iowa caucuses and the Democratic presidential race there in a virtual dead heat, Hillary Clinton and Sanders are mapping out divergent paths toward winning the first votes of the nomination process. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bernie Sanders takes the oath of office as mayor in Burlington, Vt., April 6, 1981. Now in his eighth term in the U.S. House, the independent socialist who has carved out a career in Congress as a Congress-basher is setting his sights on the U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Donna Light, File)
Bernie Sanders holds a rally to kick off his run for U.S. Congress in Burlington, Vt. in this Sept. 16, 1988, file photo. Now in his eighth term in the U.S. House, the independent socialist who has carved out a career in Congress as a Congress-basher is setting his sights on the U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)
Bernie Sanders celebrates his victory in the race for U.S. Congress in Burlington, Vt., in this Nov. 6, 1990 photo. (AP Photo/Rob Swanson)
Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a news conference in Montpelier, Vt., Monday, Dec. 1, 2003. Sanders says Vermonters and all Americans need to know just how bad the new Medicare bill is that just passed Congress. Sanders says that the prescription drug portion of the bill will end up paying only about 20 percent of a senior citizen's drug costs. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT, left, takes the stage with Representative Bernie Sanders, I-VT, at the Vermont Democratic party election night headquarters Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2004, at the Wyndham Hotel in Burlington, Vt., after declaring victory. (AP Photo/Alden Pellett)
Washington, UNITED STATES: Newly-elected senators meet with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (R), D-NV, in Washington, DC 13 November 2006. From left are: Senator-elect James Webb, D-VA, Senator-elect Bernie Sanders, I-VT, Senator-elect Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, and Reid. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
Independent candidate for U.S. Senate Bernie Sanders smiles as he campaigns in Burlington, Vt., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
US Congressman Elliot Engel (L) takes pictures next to US Senator Bernie Sanders after being dressed as Bouale leaders by public notaries of the Kouadioyaokro village, 150 km from Abidjan, 09 November 2008. US Senators Tom Harkin and Bernie Sanders visit comes ahead of a July 2008 certification deadline to ensure cocoa heading to the United States -- the third largest importer of Ivorian cocoa -- has not been produced with child labour. AFP PHOTO/ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., left, confers with Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., center, and Senate subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Chairman Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, during a joint hearing to discuss Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) progress on implementing the Fukushima Near-Term Task Force recommendations and other safeguards related to nuclear facilities. (AP Photo)
Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald, second from left, speaks with Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., second from right, at Fort Belvoir, Va., Thursday, August 7, 2014, before the arrival of President Barack Obama to sign into law the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, a $16.3 billion measure allowing the Veterans Affairs Department to hire thousands of doctors, nurses and other health professionals at the VA's nearly 1,000 hospitals and outpatient clinics nationwide. At right is Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Barack Obama, flanked by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Md., right, signs H.R. 3230, the Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014, at the Wallace Theater in Fort Belvoir, Va. on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. The bill gives resources to the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve access and quality of care for veterans. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, to discuss Republican efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare and other programs that have an impact on working families. Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, became the ranking minority member on the Senate Budget Committee when the new GOP-controlled Congress began. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a luncheon at the National Press Club on Monday, March 9, 2015 in Washington. Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, is considering running for the 2016 Democratic nomination as a liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton, focusing on income inequality and climate change. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., center, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, to discuss the budget. From left are, Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill., Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., ranking member on the House Budget Committee, Sanders, Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
COLUMBIA, SC - APRIL 25: Potential Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (R) (I-VT) delivers remarks at the South Carolina Democratic Party state convention April 25, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Sanders joined former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Sen. Lincoln Chafee in speaking to the convention. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 20: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) participates in a 'Don't Trade Our Future' march organized by the group Campaign for America's Future April 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. The event was part of the Populism 2015 Conference which is conducting their conference with the theme 'Building a Movement for People and the Planet.' (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks with reporters after a town hall meeting at the Culinary Workers Union Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks with reporters after a town hall meeting at the Culinary Workers Union Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, greets supporters during a campaign rally in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Sanders said he had attracted 200,000 donors as of mid-June and his campaign had raised $8.3 million online through June 17, according to FEC filings by ActBlue, the fundraising platform that he and some other left-leaning candidates and causes use. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 6: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Cross Insurance Arena while campaigning in the Democratic presidential primary. (Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
Supporters hold up signs at a campaign rally for Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Sanders said he had attracted 200,000 donors as of mid-June and his campaign had raised $8.3 million online through June 17, according to FEC filings by ActBlue, the fundraising platform that he and some other left-leaning candidates and causes use. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., arrives with his wife Jane at a campaign rally, Monday, July 6, 2015, in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign rally, Monday, July 6, 2015, in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 6: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Cross Insurance Arena while campaigning in the Democratic presidential primary. Sen. Bernie Sanders greets supporters after speaking in Portland. (Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
Brandon McKenna, of Philadelphia, a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waits for the candidate to speak at a Netroots Nation town hall meeting, Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Darryl Sullivan shows his support for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., before a campaign rally, Sunday, July 19, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
Anna Sudderth, 18, shows her support for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., before a campaign rally, Sunday, July 19, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 18: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to the crowd at the Phoenix Convention Center July 18, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Democratic presidential candidate spoke on his central issues of income inequality, job creation, controlling climate change, quality affordable education and getting big money out of politics, to more than 11,000 people attending. (Photo by Charlie Leight/Getty Images)
Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. gestures as he speaks during a campaign stop, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Peterborough, N.H. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, has a selfie taken with an attendee during a campaign stop at Bedford High School, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, in Bedford. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., gestures towards Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton during the NBC, YouTube Democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., holds up a fist as he arrives to speak at a veterans forum at the Best Western Regency Inn in Marshalltown, Iowa, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., greats potential supporters during a campaign stop, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, meets students during a campaign stop at the Community College. Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a rally Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Sanders is scheduled to speak at the Fair Immigration Reform Movement presidential candidate forum on Monday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - October 13: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton pictured at the 2015 CNN Democratic Presidential Debate at Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, NV on October 13, 2015. Credit: Erik Kabik Photography/ MediaPunch/IPX
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders,of Vermont, speaks during a rally, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, waves during a campaign rally in Springfield, Mass., Saturday, Oct. 3, 2105. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a rally at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Rob Brown)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves as he marches with supporters in the Labor Day parade Monday, Sept. 7, 2015, in Milford, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., stands with demonstrators who want congressional intervention to stop pension cuts and who support 'Keep Our Pension Promises Act of 2015' Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Rob Brown)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during the opening of his Cedar Rapids field headquarters, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015, in Marion, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., greets people in the crowd at a rally Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in downtown Seattle. Two women took over the microphone just after Sanders began to speak and refused to relinquish it. Sanders eventually left the stage without speaking further and instead waded into the crowd to greet supporters. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders greets local residents while walking in a Fourth of July parade, Saturday, July 4, 2015, in Waukee, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign event Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in Iowa Falls, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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PERSONAL STORY

Sanders has said he grew up "solidly lower middle class" in a Jewish family in Brooklyn, and still carries that New York borough's thick accent. His father, an immigrant from Poland, sold paint for a living -and Sanders' views about the distribution of wealth were formed early. "A lack of money in my family was a very significant aspect of my growing up," he said in December. "Kids in my class would have new jackets, new coats, and I would get hand-me-downs."

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CALLING CARD MOMENT

Sanders took to the Senate floor in December 2010 and thundered for more than eight hours about a tax-cut package and Congress' failure to provide enough money, in his view, for education and social programs. With his trademark sarcasm, he mocked the rich, yelling: "How can I get by on one house? I need five houses, 10 houses! I need three jet planes to take me all over the world!" The speech was so popular it crashed the Senate video server. It was later printed in a small book.

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EARLY CAMPAIGN ACTION

Tad Devine, a longtime Democratic strategist who worked on Sanders' campaigns in the 1990s, has signed on as an adviser. The senator has been traveling the country in recent months, especially to the early caucus and primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, drawing big and enthusiastic crowds as he speaks about wealth inequality and the need to get serious about climate change. Even so, he's considered a longshot in a nomination contest dominated by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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ONLINE AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/senatorsanders

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sensanders

Check in on how the Democratic race is shaping up:

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2016 Democratic candidates Clinton, etc
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Key things to know about Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton formally declared she's a candidate for 2016 in April, launching her second attempt to become the first female president of the United States. 

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Sen. Bernie Sanders is technically an Independent, but the Vermonter caucuses with Democrats in the Senate. He has flirted with a 2016 run, but may be seen as too extreme for some, as he openly calls himself a socialist. He became the ranking minority member on the Senate Budget Committee when the new GOP-controlled Congress began.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Lincoln Chafee told CNN in April that he was running. His spokeswoman quickly countered he's not officially in the race, but noted that he has formed an exploratory committee. The former Rhode Island governor was a Republican before becoming an Independent and then a Democrat. 

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said he will announce whether or not he plans to run in Baltimore in late May. 

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb has significant defense experience, and was the first Democrat to form an exploratory committee.

(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

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