Sean Casten
Official portrait of Casten from the 116th Congress. Sitting in front of an American flag, he wears a dark suit, a light blue shirt, and a blue striped tie.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 6th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded byPeter Roskam
Personal details
Born
Sean Thomas Casten

(1971-11-23) November 23, 1971 (age 50)
Dublin, Ireland
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse
Kara
(m. 2000)
Children2 (1 deceased)
RelativesTom Casten (father)
EducationMiddlebury College (BA)
Dartmouth College (MSEM, MS)
WebsiteHouse website

Sean Thomas Casten (born November 23, 1971) is an American businessman and politician serving as the U.S. representative for Illinois's 6th congressional district. The district covers portions of five counties in Chicago's western suburbs, including Wheaton, Palatine, and Barrington. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Due to redistricting as a result of the 2020 United States Census, Casten and fellow Democrat Marie Newman contended to represent the same district in the 2022 Democratic primary election. Casten defeated Newman in the primary election on June 28, 2022. He won the general election, beating the Republican nominee Orland Park mayor Keith Pekau on Novmeber 8, 2022.[1]

Early life and education

Born in Dublin, Ireland, to American parents,[2] and raised in Hartsdale, New York, Casten earned a Bachelor of Arts in molecular biology and biochemistry from Middlebury College in 1993. He then worked for two years as a scientist at the Tufts University School of Medicine. In 1998, he earned a Master of Engineering Management and a Master of Science in biochemical engineering from the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College.[3]

Business career

Casten began his career working at consultancy Arthur D. Little, where he did fuel chain analyses for the company's chemical engineering group.[4] From 2000 to 2007, he served as the president and CEO of Turbosteam Corporation, which converted emissions from power plants into energy.[5]

In 2007, Casten and his father, Tom Casten, founded Recycled Energy Development (RED). RED focused on recycling wasted energy and converting energy facilities to cleaner, more economic uses.[6][7][8] RED attempted to make profitable use of waste heat capturing technology, an avenue of electricity generation that attracted interest from a number of startup companies looking to find a "breakthrough" in the technology.[9][10] In 2015, an investor in RED sued the company, alleging mismanagement by Casten. Casten settled the lawsuit and sold the company in 2016; he said the allegations against him were untrue and were part of a hostile takeover attempt.[5][11]

Casten was a founding chairman of the Northeast CHP Initiative,[12] a nonprofit advocacy organization with a mission to advance policies that favor energy efficiency in the northeast United States.[citation needed] He also participated in crafting the bill that became the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a program in the northeast United States that attempts to use market forces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.[13]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2018

Main article: 2018 United States House of Representatives elections in Illinois § District 6

Casten announced his candidacy for the United States House of Representatives in Illinois's 6th congressional district in September 2017.[3] He defeated six other contenders in the 2018 Democratic primary to become the party's nominee against six-term incumbent Republican Peter Roskam.[14]

On November 6, 2018, Casten won the election, defeating Roskam by a margin of seven points.[15]

This race was viewed as one that Democrats needed to win in order to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time since the 2010 elections.[16] Illinois's 6th congressional district supported Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by about 7 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.[17] This was one of 25 GOP-held seats in the U.S. Representatives that Clinton carried in 2016;[18] Democrats flipped 23 of them in 2018.[19][20] Upon his swearing-in, Casten became the first Democrat to represent this district since it assumed its present configuration in 1949. The district had been numbered as the 10th from 1949 to 1967, and has been the 6th since 1967.[citation needed]

2020

Main article: 2020 United States House of Representatives elections in Illinois § District 6

Casten was reelected in 2020, defeating former state legislator and gubernatorial primary candidate Jeanne Ives by seven points.[citation needed]

2022

Main article: 2022 United States House of Representatives elections in Illinois § District 6

In 2022, Casten faced fellow incumbent Democrat Marie Newman from Illinois's 3rd congressional district in the Democratic primary. The 2022 reapportionment merged a large slice of Newman's district into Casten's district. Although it retained Casten's district number, it was geographically more Newman's district than Casten's. According to calculations by Daily Kos, Newman retained 41% of her constituents and Casten retained 23% of his.[21] Nevertheless, Casten won the nomination.

Tenure

As of October 2022, Casten had voted in line with President Joe Biden's stated position 99% of the time during the 117th Congress.[22]

Climate change and energy

Casten says his number one issue in Congress is energy policy and climate change.[23][24][25] He is a member of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.[26] Of working with Congress on clean energy policy, Casten has said, "[T]he folks who really understand the energy system tend to be Republicans, and the folks who really understand environmental science tend to be Democrats. And there’s a gap in talking to each other".[25] "We have a PhD-level problem. And Congress is at a 6th-grade reading level", he has said.[24]

Casten has introduced several bills related to energy policy, among them the Climate Risk Disclosure Act and the End Oil and Gas Subsidies Act.[27][28] The Clean Industrial Technology Act of 2019 would have established a program to incentivize innovation in greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing.[29]

Reparations

Casten is a sponsor of the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. The bill would allow history books to go into more depth on African American struggles and set up a reparations commission for those with enslaved ancestors.[30][31]

Voting rights

Casten voted for Ayanna Pressley's amendment to H.R. 1, the Voting Rights Act, which would lower the voting age to 16.[32]

Abortion

Following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision, Casten voted for H.R.8296, the Women's Health Protection Act of 2022.[33] The bill would protect a person's ability to end a pregnancy and a healthcare provider's ability to provide abortion services. Casten said he would continue defending "every woman's right to make health care decisions against radical, anti-choice politicians."[34]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

Illinois 6th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2018[37]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sean Casten 19,774 29.51
Democratic Kelly Mazeski 17,984 26.84
Democratic Carole Cheney 11,663 17.40
Democratic Amanda Howland 8,483 12.66
Democratic Becky Anderson Wilkins 4,001 5.97
Democratic Jennifer Zordani 2,743 4.09
Democratic Ryan Huffman 2,365 3.53
Total votes 67,013 100.0
Illinois 6th Congressional District General Election, 2018[38]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sean Casten 169,001 53.58
Republican Peter J. Roskam (incumbent) 146,445 46.42
Total votes 315,446 100.0
Illinois 6th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2020[39]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sean Casten (incumbent) 82,909 100.00
Total votes 82,909 100.00
Illinois 6th Congressional District General Election, 2020[40]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sean Casten (incumbent) 213,777 52.82
Republican Jeanne Ives 183,891 45.43
Libertarian Bill Redpath 7,079 1.75
Total votes 404,747 100.00

Personal life

Casten and his wife, Kara, live in Downers Grove, Illinois.[41]

On June 13, 2022, Casten's daughter Gwen died at the age of 17 from sudden cardiac arrest.[42][43] According to Casten, his daughter had been in good health, and was fully vaccinated against COVID-19.[43]

Casten's father is businessman Tom Casten, with whom he has worked.[5]

References

  1. ^ Jordan, Karen; Wade, Stephanie (November 8, 2022). "Rep. Sean Casten Claims Victory, Says Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau Conceded IL 6th District Race". ABC News. Retrieved November 16, 2022.
  2. ^ Stolberg, Sheryl Gay; Fadulu, Lola (July 16, 2019). "5% of Congress Was Born Abroad. Those Members Show What It Means to Be American. (Published 2019)". The New York Times. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Hegarty, Erin (September 7, 2017). "Downers Grove scientist is ninth Democrat to announce run for Roskam's seat". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  4. ^ Sobczyk, Nick; Friday, E. News reporterPublished (June 5, 2020). "NEWSMAKER: This moderate Dem just might be the Hill's top climate nerd". www.eenews.net. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c O'Connell, Patrick M. (October 19, 2018). "Democrat Sean Casten's business background under microscope in 6th Congressional District race". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  6. ^ Van, Jon. "Cash infusion heats up prospects for recycled-energy business". www.chicagotribune.com/.
  7. ^ Lydersen, Kari (June 6, 2014). "Q&A: Why combined heat and power is a 'no-brainer'". energynews.us.
  8. ^ Kanellos, Michael (January 24, 2009). "Will Waste Heat Be Bigger Than Solar?". www.greentechmedia.com.
  9. ^ Garthwaite, Josie (August 25, 2010). "Tapping into the Electric Power of Heat". National Geographic. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  10. ^ Fehrenbacher, Katie (July 20, 2016). "This Startup Is Using Tiny Antennas To Capture Waste Heat". Fortune. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  11. ^ "Joint Stipulation of Dismissal". September 28, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ "Sean Casten | Corporate Collaboration Council | Dartmouth MEM". mem.dartmouth.edu. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  13. ^ Romm, Joe (October 19, 2017). "Progressive candidates are embracing clean energy as a campaign issue". ThinkProgress. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  14. ^ Burnett, Sara; Zimmerman, Sarah (March 20, 2018). "Democrats turn out in big numbers for Illinois primary". Chicago Tribune.
  15. ^ "Illinois Election Results: Sixth House District". The New York Times. January 28, 2019. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  16. ^ Sweet, Lynn (November 3, 2018). "Will Democrats Casten, Underwood beat Republicans Roskam, Hultgren?". Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  17. ^ Brufke, Julie-Grace (November 7, 2018). "Dem Casten upsets Roskam to flip Illinois House seat".
  18. ^ Lee, Jasmine C. (March 26, 2018). "To Reclaim the House, Democrats Need to Flip 24 G.O.P. Seats. 25 Are in Clinton Territory". The New York Times. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  19. ^ Bowman, Bridget (November 16, 2018). "The Survivors: Three Republicans in Clinton Districts Hang On". Roll Call. FiscalNote. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  20. ^ Nagourney, Adam (December 6, 2018). "David Valadao Concedes House Race in Another Setback for California Republicans". The New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  21. ^ Daily Kos Elections (@DKElections) (October 29, 2021). "We calculated that Marie Newman represents 41% of the new 6th District's residents vs. just 23% for Sean Casten. There's no requirement that members live in their congressional district, so just because Newman's home was drawn out of the district doesn't mean she can't win #IL06". Twitter. Archived from the original on February 1, 2022.
  22. ^ Wiederkehr, Anna; Bycoffe, Aaron (July 12, 2022). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  23. ^ Sobczyk, Nick (June 5, 2020). "This moderate Dem just might be the Hill's top climate nerd". E&E News. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  24. ^ a b Catherine, Morehouse (November 30, 2020). "Taking Charge: Rep. Sean Casten on being the energy 'nerd' in Congress and prioritizing science over politics". Utility Dive. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  25. ^ a b Saksa, Jim (February 2, 2022). "How Rep. Sean Casten went from 'Licensed to Ill' to climate policy pragmatist". Roll Call. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  26. ^ "House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis". Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  27. ^ Joselow, Maxine (May 5, 2022). "Analysis | In key House race in Illinois, climate change is on the ballot". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  28. ^ Schoeff Jr., Mark (May 13, 2021). "Rep. Casten pushes climate disclosure bill to strengthen SEC's hand". InvestmentNews. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  29. ^ "Bipartisan Bill Aims to Boost Manufacturers' Carbon-Cutting". Bloomberg Law. August 25, 2019. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  30. ^ Olson, Laura (February 18, 2021). "Biden backs reparations study, as House Dems push for commission". Nevada Current. Retrieved October 8, 2022.
  31. ^ "117th COngress: All Information (Except Text) for H.R.40 - Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act". www.congress.gov.
  32. ^ https://clerk.house.gov/evs/2021/roll057.xml
  33. ^ "Women's Health Protection Act - Roll Call Vote". www.clerk.house.gov. July 15, 2022.
  34. ^ Lissau, Russell (September 27, 2022). "In 6th District race, Democrat Sean Casten and Republican Keith Pekau split on abortion rights". www.dailyherald.com.
  35. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  36. ^ "Members". House Pro Choice Caucus. August 19, 2021.
  37. ^ "Election Results 2018 GENERAL PRIMARY". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  38. ^ "Election Results 2018 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  39. ^ "Election Results 2020 GENERAL PRIMARY". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  40. ^ "Election Results 2020 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  41. ^ Swanson, Lorraine (June 22, 2022). "Sean Casten: Illinois 6th Congressional District Candidate". Patch. Retrieved July 8, 2022.
  42. ^ Lissau, Russell (June 14, 2022). "Gwen Casten, Daughter of U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, Has Died". Daily Herald. Archived from the original on June 17, 2022. Retrieved July 8, 2022.
  43. ^ a b Byrne, John; Keilman, John (October 7, 2022). "US Rep. Sean Casten says his daughter died of sudden cardiac arrhythmia". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 8, 2022.