On May 8, 2024

Bernie Sanders announces run forre-election to U.S. Senate

Dear Editor,

Editor’s note: Senator Bernie Sanders, 82, (I-Vermont) announced May 6 that he will seek a fourth term to the U.S. Senate. His time in the Senate, along with his previous 16 years in the House of Representatives, makes him the longest-serving independent Member of Congress in American history. What follows is an excerpt from a video Monday, May 6, announcing his run.

Let me thank the people of Vermont, from the bottom of my heart, for giving me the opportunity to serve in the United States Senate. It has been the honor of my life. 

As the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; as part of the U.S. Senate Democratic Leadership team; as a senior member of the Veterans Committee, the Budget Committee, and the Environment and Public Works Committee, I have been, and will be if re-elected, in a strong position to provide the kind of help that Vermonters need in these difficult times. 

In recent years, working together, we have made important progress in addressing some very serious challenges. But much, much more needs to be done if we are to become the state, and the nation, that our people deserve.

Together, we have made Vermont the leading state in the country in terms of per

capita utilization of community health centers. That means that up to 190,000 Vermonters every year are receiving their primary health care, their dental care, their mental health counseling, and lower-cost prescription drugs at these centers. But that’s not enough. In my view, the United States must join every other major country on earth in guaranteeing health care to all of our people as a human right, not a privilege. That’s a fight we must continue to wage.
Together, we have begun the process of lowering the cost of prescription drugs. We’re making insulin more affordable to seniors and all those struggling with diabetes. We’re lowering the cost of inhalers for those with asthma and COPD. We’re finally beginning to negotiate prices with the big drug companies. But that’s not enough. We need to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and end the absurdity of Americans paying, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. 
Earlier this year, we saw devastating flooding across our state, further illustrating the deadly effect of climate change. And I will tell you that visiting the communities impacted in Barre, in Montpelier, in Weston, Ludlow and other towns, and talking with Vermonters who had lost their homes and businesses — that was a painful experience. Together, we must continue to combat climate change by transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel, and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy. I’m proud that I was able to bring $62 million into Vermont to help our people afford solar panels for their rooftops, and additional money for heat pumps. But that’s not enough. This is a global crisis. We must work with every country on earth to cut carbon emissions and save the planet for our kids and future generations.
As the former Chair of the Veterans Committee, I’m proud of the role my office has played in making sure that veterans in our state get the quality health care they deserve, whether it’s at the White River Junction Medical Center or community-based outpatient clinics around the state. And I’m excited about major new VA health clinics that will be built both in Chittenden County and for Vermont veterans in the southern part of our state. But that’s not enough. We must vigorously oppose those who want to privatize the VA and make sure that every veteran gets the quality care and benefits they have earned.
I’m proud of my 100% lifetime voting record in defense of women’s rights and the absolute need for women to control their own bodies. And I am proud of Vermont for becoming the first state to enshrine abortion rights in our constitution. But that’s not enough. We must codify Roe v. Wade into national law and do everything possible to oppose the well-funded right-wing effort to roll back the gains that women have achieved after decades of struggle. No more second-class citizenship for the women of Vermont or America. 
I’m proud of the role my office has played in canceling student debt for millions of Americans, including nearly 6,500 here in Vermont. But that’s not enough. In a highly competitive global economy, we need to make sure that all public colleges and universities are tuition free, and that every Vermonter, regardless of income, can get the higher education they need to pursue their dreams. Further, we need to break our dependence on the regressive property tax in the funding of local schools.
I am proud of my leadership role in defending Social Security and Medicare from those who would cut benefits for our seniors. No. We don’t need to cut benefits. We need to expand them. And we can do that by demanding that the very wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes into the Social Security Trust Fund. 
I’m proud of some of the innovative housing programs we’ve introduced over the years and the millions of housing dollars we’ve brought into the state. This includes the National Housing Trust Fund — a national program modeled after the Burlington Community Land Trust, now the Champlain Housing Trust — which puts federal funds to work to create safe, perpetually affordable housing. But that’s not enough. We have a major housing crisis today that must be addressed. No Vermonter should be paying 40% or 50% of his or her income to put a roof over their head. 
And there is one other issue that I know is very much on the minds of Vermonters. On October 7th, 2023, Hamas — a terrorist organization — began the war in Gaza with a horrific attack on Israel that killed 1,200 men, women, and children and took more than 230 hostages, some of whom remain in captivity today. Israel had the absolute right to defend itself against this terrorist attack, but it did not and does not have the right to go to war against the entire Palestinian people, which is exactly what it is doing. 
34,000 Palestinians have already been killed and 77,000 have been wounded — 70% of whom are women and children. According to humanitarian organizations, famine and starvation are now imminent. In my view, U.S. tax dollars should not be going to the extremist Netanyahu government to continue its devastating war against the Palestinian people.
Let me conclude by telling you what you already know: These are very difficult times for our country and the world. And, in many ways, this 2024 election is the most consequential election in our lifetimes. Will the United States continue to even function as a democracy, or will we move to an authoritarian form of government? Will we reverse the unprecedented level of income and wealth inequality that now exists, or will we continue to see billionaires get richer while working families struggle to put food on the table? Can we create a government that works for all of us, or will our political system continue to be dominated by wealthy campaign contributors?
These are just some of the questions that, together, we need to answer, and that I look forward to discussing with you on the campaign trail. 
Once again: Thank you very much for the support that many of you have given me in the past. As I enter this campaign, I look forward to your continued support.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Burlington

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

The magical mythical equalized pupil

May 15, 2024
By Tom Evslin Editor’s note: Tom Evslin, of Stowe, is a retired high-tech entrepreneur. He served as transportation secretary for Gov. Richard Snelling and stimulus czar for Gov. Jim Douglas. The Vermont Legislature is playing an expensive shell game — and planning worse. The “equalized pupil” is the shell under which the pea is hidden.…

Tell the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to protect the Connecticut River

May 15, 2024
Dear Editor, It has been 12 years since the relicensing process began for five hydroelectric facilities on the Connecticut River, and until May 22, there is an opportunity to comment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  The last time these hydro facilities were licensed was in 1979, and once the new licenses are issued,…

UVM, don’t punish student protesters

May 15, 2024
Dear Editor, As a pastor, I feel it is my professional and moral responsibility to speak to the crisis of conscience facing our nation and state. As of this writing, the civilian death toll in Gaza stands at around 34,654 according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health. A third of these casualties are children. I do…

H.289: Good intentions on renewables but one big flaw

May 8, 2024
By David Bittersdorf Editor’s note: Dave Blittersdorf is the president of All Earth Renewables in Bristol. The Vermont General Assembly — in attempt to move the state to 100% renewable energy — is making changes to how the state’s utilities buy energy. Within the next couple of weeks, the Senate Natural Resources Committee will consider…