The Bernard Sanders Mayoral Papers housed in Special Collections are now open for research.
Bernie Sanders was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981. As a self-styled socialist, he did not identify with any formal political party and ran as an independent. Sanders won the office over the Democratic incumbent, Gordon Paquette, by a margin of ten votes to become Burlington’s first independent mayor. He served as mayor from 1981 until 1989.
The Sanders Mayoral Papers include correspondence, memos, meeting minutes and agendas, election campaign material, reports, financial documents, clippings, photographs, speeches, notes, legislation, press releases, proclamations, newsletters, flyers, publications, and ephemera that document issues and accomplishments of the Sanders’ administration. During his tenure, Burlington successfully tackled taxation reform, health care, and lower utility rates and started new programs in the arts, youth, women’s rights, affordable housing, and environmental protection.
Some noteworthy projects represented in the collection include the Southern Connector; the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont; healthcare costs; the Burlington International Airport; utility rates (including cable television, telephone service, and heat); and Central America (including Burlington’s sister city in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua). The papers include much material related to development projects in Burlington during the 1980s, particularly plans for the Burlington waterfront.
To learn more about the Sanders Mayoral Papers, consult the collection inventory.
Bailey/Howe Library also has books about Mayor Sanders and reports issued during the his administration. Check the library catalog for a complete list.
The socialist mayor : Bernard Sanders in Burlington, Vermont
The people’s republic : Vermont and the Sanders revolution
Challenging the boundaries of reform : socialism in Burlington
Health care in crisis : new directions for Vermont and the Nation / report of Mayor Bernard Sanders’ Task Force on Health Care
Seven myths about the city of Burlington : an analysis of trends in local finances