Levi Sanders, Bernie Sanders‘ son, ran for political office in New Hampshire in 2018. He didn’t win, but he definitely has his father’s political “gene.” His platform was quite similar to his dad’s platform as he runs for President, and Levi still helps out a lot with his father’s campaign. His beloved wife, Raine Riggs, passed away shortly after a cancer diagnosis on the same day that Bernie Sanders was released from the hospital. Here’s what you need to know about Levi Sanders.
1. Levi Sanders’ Wife Was a Neuropsychologist Who Died from Cancer in October 2019
Levi Sanders was married to Raine Riggs, a neuropsychologist whose studies include researching psychiatric syndromes connected to cancer diagnoses.
Riggs died on the same day that Bernie Sanders was released from the hospital after having a heart attack. It was a heartbreaking and unexpected death that happened just days after she was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer.
Riggs’ obituary says, “this world lost one of its most beautiful people…. our beloved mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece and cousin… Dr. Rainè Riggs.”
Raine met Levi when they worked at an emergency food shelter. She helped at Ground Zero by providing counseling for survivors and first responders, her obituary said.
2. Levi Sanders Has Three Children Adopted from China
Levi Sanders and Raine Riggs adopted three children from China. Levi lives in New Hampshire with his children.
In 2015, Bernie proudly shared this photo on Instagram, showing him trick-or-treating with two of Levi’s children in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Levi wasn’t far behind.
Their children are Sunnee Riggs Sanders, Ryleigh Riggs Sanders, and Grayson Riggs Sanders.
Raine Riggs’ obituary reads: “From the first moment she held them in her arms, her entire world changed. Rainè’s every thought was of her children. She truly strived to make every day of their lives special.”
Riggs’ last words to her children were that she was sorry she got sick, People shared.
3. Levi Is a Senior Advisor for His Dad’s Campaign & Tweets Great Stories from His Dad’s Life
Levi is a political and legal analyst. He was the senior policy strategist for his dad’s presidential campaign in 2016, helping his dad every step of the way. Now he’s a senior advisor for his dad’s campaign for the 2020 presidency.
If you want to see entertaining stories about Bernie Sanders’ personal life, just follow his son Levi’s Twitter.
4. Levi’s Been Part of Bernie’s Campaign Life Since He Was Two & Helped Him Make a Low Budget Film in 1987
Levi has been part of Bernie’s campaign world since he was two-years-old and sitting on Bernie’s lap when his dad first raised his hand to run for office, The New York Times reported. When Bernie had to sell low-budget films to support himself while campaigning, he sometimes used Levi’s toy robot for sound effects. Then in 1987, when Bernie had a cable access show called Bernie Speaks, Levi even returned for the season finale, holding the mic in freezing rain.
Levi is a big supporter of his dad, saying: “He is someone who gives hope that things can change. I could go on and on.”
5. Levi Has Spent Much of His Career Advocating for Clients Who Needed Social Security Benefits
For nearly 18 years, Levi has worked at Cambridge & Somerville Legal Services as a Social Security Senior Legal Analyst, according to his LinkedIn. He represents clients in cases at initial denial, reconsideration, and the administration law level. He’s an agency-wide advocate for all health and disability cases, seeking to help disabled people and others after they’ve been turned down by the system.
From 1994 to 2000, he was the general manager of Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf in the Vermont area. The video above was taken when he was assistant manager at the Burlington Emergency Food Shelf and was interviewed for a 2001 documentary. Levi has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon.
Just one glance at his Facebook page or Twitter account will reveal that Levi Sanders cares about animal welfare. Many of his posts and tweets involve petitions or stories seeking to bring to light a case where animals are not being treated ethically.
Levi doesn’t eat meat and once said the biggest difference from his platform and his dad’s was that Levi’s a vegetarian.
He once posted a petition seeking to boycott Larson Dairy for the inhumane treatment of animals, writing: “I was really disgusted at how these cows were treated. There is no excuse for this type of behavior.” He also once wrote: “We need to demand that animals be treated with respect and cared for, not abused.” He’s passionate about rallying other people to help stop the abuse and make permanent changes.