Sean Casten won Illinois’ 6thdistrict’s primary with 29.9% of the votes against six other candidates. Casten is a life-long scientist focused on creating and optimizing clean energy. His environmental activism has led him to run for Congress against incumbent Republican Peter Roskam. Casten is a strong supporter of immigrant rights, civil rights, and women’s rights – specifically reproductive rights. While Illinois’ 6thdistrict has been red since 1973, the Cook Political Report has listed the district as a Republican Toss Up (R+2) and the DCCC Red to Blue has recognized Casten’s potential of flipping the district.
Background and Achievements
Sean Casten received his BA in molecular biology and biochemistry from Middlebury College and his MA in engineering management and biochemical engineering from Dartmouth College. His career as a scientist includes researching for a lab at Tufts School of Medicine, working for an energy practice that helps companies optimize clean energy use, and serving as the President and CEO of Turbosteam Corporation. In 2007, Casten moved to Illinois and co-founded Recycle Energy Development LLC to work on recovering wasted energy in attempts to reduce greenhouse gases.
In addition to his professional career, Casten has worked for a number of advocacy campaigns, including as a founding chairman of the Northeast Combined Heat and Power Association – an organization that aggregates interests of clean energy businesses — and as a chairman for the US. Combined Heat and Power Association (USCHPA). He has experience testifying before the Senate Energy Committee, leading negotiations on the Massachusetts Interconnection Standards, and sitting on the Thayer School Engineering’s Corporate Collaboration Council. Casten has also received the Emerging Leader Award from Chicago’s Council on Global Affairs and has been recognized as a USCHPA’s Combined Heat and Power Champion.
While Casten has an extensive history with environmental protection, he has committed to focusing on a variety of different issues if seated in Congress. Casten is a strong supporter of reproductive rights, the ACA (and universal healthcare), voter rights, and DACA and DREAMer recipients.
Positions on Key Issues
- Advocates for reproductive rights and health
- Supports the Equal Rights Amendment
- Supports Violence Against Women Act, Paycheck Fairness Act, and ME TOO Congress Act
- Protects Medicare and Medicaid
- Supports ACA and universal health care
- Protects DACA and DREAMers
- Supports gun control legislation
- Supports automatic voter registration
- Stands against Citizens United decision
Prospects & Opponents
Sean Casten will face incumbent Republican Peter Roskam in the general election. Since being elected to Congress in 2006, Roskam has voted against the Violence Against Women Act, cosponsored the Right to Life Act, and opposed the Paycheck Fairness Act. He is against abortion rights in all cases, including rape and incest, and believes that sexual assault can be considered as a pre-existing condition by insurance companies. Roskam also voted to repeal the ACA, supported Trump’s Muslim ban, and opposes same-sex marriage.
- Feminist Majority
- National Education Association
- Illinois Education Association
- End Citizens United
- Sierra Club
- League of Conservation Voters