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Sanders Says He's Working To Make The Democratic Party More Progressive

Sen. Bernie Sanders says he will announce his re-election plans on Monday
Sen. Bernie Sanders says he will announce his re-election plans on Monday

On Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders is expected to announce plans to seek a third term in the U.S. Senate. But Sanders says he also intends to actively campaign this summer and fall for a number of Democratic candidates across the country.

Sanders says it's part of his effort to transform the national Democratic Party into a more progressive organization.

Sanders says he still has many things to accomplish in the U.S. Senate and his planned announcement on Monday concerning his political future "will not come as a great surprise to anybody in the state of Vermont."

He says he's very proud to have represented Vermont for two terms in the U.S. Senate and that he wants to continue to serve in the Senate as a way to counter the policies of President Trump.

"I happen to believe — and I think Vermonters have heard me say this for a while — that we're in a pivotal moment in American history,” said Sanders. “We have an administration that in an awful and unprecedented way is trying to divide us up."    

Sanders is also the Communications Outreach Director for the Senate Democrats. And in that capacity he plans to actively campaign this year for a number of Democrats across the country who support his progressive agenda.

"I think the future of this country really to a significant degree has a lot to do with what happens in 2018 so I have been and will be involved in that," said Sanders.

In the last few weeks, a number of Democrats who are eyeing the 2020 presidential election have endorsed many of Sanders' domestic priorities.

These include proposals to ensure universal access to health care, raise the minimum wage, provide free college tuition and implement a massive public works initiative.

"Yeah, it has come to my attention,” said Sanders. “I think it is fair to say that from an ideological point of view, what the Democratic Party should stand for, we have kind of won that debate."

Sanders enter his re-election campaign in very strong financial shape.

According to the Federal Elections Committee, he has almost $7 million in his campaign account.

So far, one Republican has filed petitions to run against Sanders: Jasdeep Pannu of Essex.

Several independent candidates have also indicated they plan to seek Sanders' senate seat in November.

Copyright 2018 Vermont Public Radio