Sanders was born and raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, and attended Brooklyn College before graduating from the University of Chicago in 1964. While a student he was an active protest organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the civil rights movement. After settling in Vermont in 1968, Sanders ran unsuccessful third-party political campaigns in the early to mid-1970s. As an independent, he was elected mayor of Burlington in 1981 by a margin of ten votes. He was reelected three times. He won election to the U. S. House of Representatives in 1990, representing Vermont's at-large congressional district; he later co-founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Sanders served as a U. S. Representative for 16 years before being elected to the U. S. Senate in 2006. He was reelected to the Senate in 2012 and 2018. Sanders is the longest-serving independent politician in congressional history, although he caucuses with the Democratic Party.