Sean Casten

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Sean Casten
3/4 view portrait of Casten in a blue collared shirt. Parts of signs, others' heads, and background plant life are visible behind him.
Member-elect of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 6th district
Assuming office
January 3, 2019
SucceedingPeter Roskam
Personal details
Born (1971-11-23) November 23, 1971 (age 47)
Dublin, Ireland
Political partyDemocratic
RelationsTom Casten (Father)
EducationMiddlebury College (BA)
Dartmouth College (MSEM, MS)
WebsiteCampaign website

Sean Casten (born November 23, 1971) is an American scientist, clean energy entrepreneur, and Democratic politician originally from Hartsdale, New York. On November 6, 2018, he became the member-elect for Illinois's 6th congressional district and will assume office in the United States House of Representatives on January 3, 2019.


Born in Dublin, Ireland,[1][2] Casten earned a bachelor of arts in molecular biology and biochemistry from Middlebury College in 1993, and then worked for two years as a scientist at the Tufts University School of Medicine in a laboratory investigating dietary impacts on colon and breast cancer.[3] 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. While at Dartmouth, he worked to develop technologies for alternative heat and power generation technologies including the production of fuel grade ethanol.[3] Casten is a member of Thayer School of Engineering’s Corporate Collaboration Council.[4]


Casten began his career working as a clean energy consultant and manager at Arthur D Little, an energy practice with a focus on clean technology. From 2000 to 2006, he served as the president and CEO of Turbosteam Corporation, which focused on utilizing energy recycling technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emission by generating heat and power from previously wasted energy.[5]

In 2006, Casten founded Recycled Energy Development (RED) and served as CEO along with his father Tom Casten, who served as Chairman. They focused on recycling wasted energy and converting energy facilities to cleaner, more economic uses.[6][7][8] RED was a leading company in the United States in the attempt to make profitable use of waste heat capturing technology, an avenue of electricity generation that has been attracting interest from a number of startup companies looking to find a "breakthrough" in the technology, including Alphabet.[9][10] The company was acquired by Ironclad Energy Partners in 2016.[11][12]

Civic advocacy[edit]

Casten was a founding chairman of the Northeast CHP Initiative,[13] a nonprofit advocacy organization with a mission to advance policies that favor energy efficiency in the northeast United States.[14] 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.[15] For his advocacy of clean energy policies and technology, Casten was named to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs' Emerging Leaders Class of 2011.[16]

Casten has authored a number of articles on clean energy technologies and the United States electricity grid[17][18][19] as well as energy policy and regulation.[20][21][22][23]

Political career[edit]

Casten announced his candidacy for the United States House of Representatives in Illinois's 6th congressional district in September 2017.[24] He defeated six other contenders in the 2018 Democratic primary to become the party's nominee against incumbent Republican Peter Roskam.[25]

On November 6, 2018, Casten won the election, unseating Roskam after the latter had been elected for six consecutive terms. Casten ran on a platform focused on climate change mitigation and political transparency; before his win, he said that his legislative goals in response to his district's main needs were to support health care access (criticizing Roskam's votes against the Affordable Care Act and against individual mandates), to work against the tax bill Roskam sponsored, and to reform student loan and bankruptcy codes.[26]

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.[27] Illinois's 6th congressional district supported Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by about 7 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.[28] This was one of 25 GOP-held seats in the U.S. Representatives that Clinton carried in 2016;[29] Democrats flipped 22 of them in 2018.[30]


  1. ^ "Sean Casten for Congress".
  2. ^ "District 06, Sean Casten - AARO - Association of Americans Resident Overseas".
  3. ^ a b "Sean Casten: Candidate Profile". 2018-02-07.
  4. ^ "Corporate Collaboration Council".
  5. ^ Steiner, Christopher. "Gray Is The New Green".
  6. ^ Van, Jon. "Cash infusion heats up prospects for recycled-energy business".
  7. ^ Lydersen, Kari. "Q&A: Why combined heat and power is a 'no-brainer'".
  8. ^ Kanellos, Michael (2009-01-24). "Will Waste Heat Be Bigger Than Solar?".
  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". Forbes. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  11. ^ "Recycled Energy Development sells 121-MW tri-generation portfolio to Ironclad Energy Partners".
  12. ^ "Recycled Energy Development Completes Sale of RED Investment LLC Including Eastman Business Park Utilities to Ironclad Energy Partners". Business Wire. September 22, 2016. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  13. ^ "NECHPI - Clean/Combined Heat and Power". Northeast Clean Heat and Power Initiative. Retrieved 2018-07-07.
  14. ^ "Sean Casten: Executive Profile and Biography".
  15. ^ Romm, Joe (October 19, 2017). "Progressive candidates are embracing clean energy as a campaign issue". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 2018-07-07.
  16. ^ "Emerging Leaders Class of 2011".
  17. ^ Casten, Sean (June 6, 2008). "Coal is No Longer Cheap - So What Comes Next?". Grist. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  18. ^ Casten, Sean (April 2010). "Fuel Swap". Fortnightly Magazine.
  19. ^ Casten, Sean (December 4, 2014). "What We Should Be Talking About When We Talk About Microgrids". Microgrid Knowledge. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  20. ^ Casten, Sean (December 19, 2011). "The U.S. electricity mix in 20 years: A prediction". Grist. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  21. ^ Casten, Sean (November 2007). "Deregulation, Phase II". Fortnightly Magazine.
  22. ^ Casten, Sean; Karegianes, Myra (November 2007). "The Legal Case Against Standby Rates". The Electricity Journal. 20: 10 – via Elsevier Science Direct.
  23. ^ Casten, Sean; Meyer, Joshua (December 2004). "Cross-Subsidies: Getting the Signals Right". Fortnightly Magazine.
  24. ^ Hegarty, Erin (2017-09-07). "Downers Grove scientist is ninth Democrat to announce run for Roskam's seat". Chicago Tribune.
  25. ^ Burnett, Sara; Zimmerman, Sarah (2018-03-20). "Democrats turn out in big numbers for Illinois primary". Chicago Tribune.
  26. ^ Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. "6th Congressional District Democratic nominee: Sean Casten". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  27. ^ Sweet, Lynn. "Will Democrats Casten, Underwood beat Republicans Roskam, Hultgren?". Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  28. ^ Brufke, Julie-Grace (2018-11-07). "Dem Casten upsets Roskam to flip Illinois House seat".
  29. ^ Lee, Jasmine C. (2018-03-26). "To Reclaim the House, Democrats Need to Flip 24 G.O.P. Seats. 25 Are in Clinton Territory". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  30. ^ Bowman, Bridget (2018-11-16). "The Survivors: Three Republicans in Clinton Districts Hang On". Roll Call. FiscalNote. Retrieved 20 November 2018.

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