|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Illinois's 6th district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Peter Roskam|
Sean Thomas Casten
November 23, 1971
|Children||2 (1 deceased)|
|Relatives||Tom Casten (father)|
|Education||Middlebury College (BA)|
Dartmouth College (MSEM, MS)
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.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, to American parents, 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.
Casten began his career working at consultancy Arthur D. Little, where he did fuel chain analyses for the company's chemical engineering group. From 2000 to 2007, he served as the president and CEO of Turbosteam Corporation, which converted emissions from power plants into energy.
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. 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. 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.
Casten was a founding chairman of the Northeast CHP Initiative, a nonprofit advocacy organization with a mission to advance policies that favor energy efficiency in the northeast United States. 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.
Casten announced his candidacy for the United States House of Representatives in Illinois's 6th congressional district in September 2017. He defeated six other contenders in the 2018 Democratic primary to become the party's nominee against six-term incumbent Republican Peter Roskam.
On November 6, 2018, Casten won the election, defeating Roskam by a margin of seven points.
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. Illinois's 6th congressional district supported Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by about 7 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election. This was one of 25 GOP-held seats in the U.S. Representatives that Clinton carried in 2016; Democrats flipped 23 of them in 2018. 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.
Casten was reelected in 2020, defeating former state legislator and gubernatorial primary candidate Jeanne Ives by seven points.
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. Nevertheless, Casten won the nomination.
As of October 2022[update], Casten had voted in line with President Joe Biden's stated position 99% of the time during the 117th Congress.
Casten says his number one issue in Congress is energy policy and climate change. He is a member of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. 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". "We have a PhD-level problem. And Congress is at a 6th-grade reading level", he has said.
Casten has introduced several bills related to energy policy, among them the Climate Risk Disclosure Act and the End Oil and Gas Subsidies Act. The Clean Industrial Technology Act of 2019 would have established a program to incentivize innovation in greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing.
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.
Casten voted for Ayanna Pressley's amendment to H.R. 1, the Voting Rights Act, which would lower the voting age to 16.
Following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision, Casten voted for H.R.8296, the Women's Health Protection Act of 2022. 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."
|Democratic||Becky Anderson Wilkins||4,001||5.97|
|Republican||Peter J. Roskam (incumbent)||146,445||46.42|
|Democratic||Sean Casten (incumbent)||82,909||100.00|
|Democratic||Sean Casten (incumbent)||213,777||52.82|
Casten and his wife, Kara, live in Downers Grove, Illinois.
On June 13, 2022, Casten's daughter Gwen died at the age of 17 from sudden cardiac arrest. According to Casten, his daughter had been in good health, and was fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Casten's father is businessman Tom Casten, with whom he has worked.
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