How Did Bernie Sanders & His Wife, Jane, Meet? The Adorable Couple's Connection Was Pure Fate
Bernie Sanders has made a name for himself on the campaign trail, and his potential future first lady and wife of almost 30 years, Jane O'Meara Sanders, is one of his closest political advisers. They've been a team for longer than many of his political supporters have been alive, but how did Bernie Sanders meet his wife? The winding journey toward their marriage and partnership is fateful and adorable.
Bernie and Jane have been circling each others' lives for a long time — since the very beginning in fact. They grew up just a few blocks apart from one another in Brooklyn — Sanders in a Jewish neighborhood, and O'Meara in a Catholic one. O'Meara moved to Vermont in the '70s, at which time Sanders was just starting to become involved in the political scene. In 1981, O'Meara went to a town hall meeting about an increase in taxes and grilled the incumbent mayor on how the new taxes would hurt the lower income citizens of Burlington. As she sat down, the person next to her said "You sound like Bernie Sanders," to which she replied, "Who is Bernie Sanders?" It wasn't too long before she knew the answer.
Sanders was technically O'Meara's boss when they met. O'Meara was working for the Burlington Police Department Juvenile Division and volunteering at local youth centers, and through her work, was appointed to a "task force on youth" that Sanders created to brainstorm how to better support Burlington's families and children. They didn't actually meet until the night Sanders was elected as the mayor of Burlington, but it seems fate had been pulling them together for a long time.
O'Meara helped organize the mayoral debate in 1981 that helped Sanders win the election and jump start his political career. "He was so inspiring. He embodied everything I believe in," O'Meara told Yahoo! Politics in an interview earlier this year. On election night (during which Sanders secured the mayorship by a razor-thin margin of only 10 votes), Sanders and O'Meara finally met face to face. "We met at the victory party, and that was the beginning of forever."
Sanders and O'Meara have spent the last 35 years raising their blended family, including Sanders' son Levi, O'Meara's children Heather, Carina, and Dave, and O'Meara's ex-husband's daughter, Nicole. The Sanders' five children and seven grandchildren, "no halves or steps about it," O'Meara insists, could be the next First Family.
Sanders and O'Meara's family life is only complemented by their political partnership. The couple shares an office at their campaign headquarters in Vermont, and she is already being compared to Eleanor Roosevelt in her potential role as First Lady. In the remaining months before the Democratic National Convention in July, the Sanders will be a united political team, just like they have been for the last 35 years.