Sean Casten

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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
Sean Thomas Casten

(1971-11-23) November 23, 1971 (age 49)
Dublin, Ireland
Political partyDemocratic
Kara Casten
(m. 2000)
RelationsTom Casten (father)
EducationMiddlebury College (BA)
Dartmouth College (MSEM, MS)
WebsiteHouse website

Sean Thomas Casten[1] (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, and includes many of Chicago's western suburbs, such as Wheaton, Palatine, and Barrington.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Dublin, Ireland,[2][3] 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 a laboratory investigating dietary impacts on colon and breast cancer.[4] 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.[4] Casten is a member of Thayer School of Engineering’s Corporate Collaboration Council.[5]

Early career[edit]

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.[6]

In 2006, Casten founded Recycled Energy Development (RED) and served as CEO along with his father Tom Casten, who served as Chairman. Casten moved to Illinois in 2007.[7] RED focused on recycling wasted energy and converting energy facilities to cleaner, more economic uses.[8][9][10] 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.[11][12] The company was acquired by Ironclad Energy Partners in 2016.[13][14]

Civic advocacy[edit]

Casten was a founding chairman of the Northeast CHP Initiative,[15] a nonprofit advocacy organization with a mission to advance policies that favor energy efficiency in the northeast United States.[16] 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.[17] For his advocacy of clean energy policies and technology, Casten was named to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs' Emerging Leaders Class of 2011.[18]

Casten has authored a number of articles on clean energy technologies and the United States electricity grid[19][20][21] as well as energy policy and regulation.[22][23][24][25]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Casten announced his candidacy for the United States House of Representatives in Illinois's 6th congressional district in September 2017.[26] He defeated six other contenders in the 2018 Democratic primary to become the party's nominee against six-term incumbent Republican Peter Roskam.[27]

On November 6, 2018, Casten won the election, defeating Roskam by a margin of 7 points. 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.[28]

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.[29] Illinois's 6th congressional district supported Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by about 7 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.[30] This was one of 25 GOP-held seats in the U.S. Representatives that Clinton carried in 2016;[31] Democrats flipped 23 of them in 2018.[32][33]


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. The district is best known as the seat of former House Judiciary Committee chairman Henry Hyde, who held it from 1975 until handing it to Roskam upon his retirement in 2007.

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Electoral history[edit]

Illinois 6th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2018[35]
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[36]
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
Date Election Candidate Party Votes %
Illinois's 6th congressional district, 2020
3 November 2020[37] General Sean Casten Democratic 113,822 54.76
Jeanne Ives Republican 90,656 43.62
William B. Redpath Libertarian 3,366 1.62

Personal life[edit]

Casten and his wife, Kara, live with their two daughters in Downers Grove, Illinois.[citation needed] His father is Tom Casten.[38]


  1. ^ "FEC Itemized Reports for McGinty for Senate". Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  2. ^ "Sean Casten for Congress".
  3. ^ "District 06, Sean Casten - AARO - Association of Americans Resident Overseas".
  4. ^ a b "Sean Casten: Candidate Profile". February 7, 2018.
  5. ^ "Corporate Collaboration Council".
  6. ^ Steiner, Christopher. "Gray Is The New Green".
  7. ^ "About Sean". Sean Casten for Congress. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  8. ^ Van, Jon. "Cash infusion heats up prospects for recycled-energy business".
  9. ^ Lydersen, Kari. "Q&A: Why combined heat and power is a 'no-brainer'".
  10. ^ Kanellos, Michael (January 24, 2009). "Will Waste Heat Be Bigger Than Solar?".
  11. ^ Garthwaite, Josie (August 25, 2010). "Tapping into the Electric Power of Heat". National Geographic. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  12. ^ Fehrenbacher, Katie (July 20, 2016). "This Startup Is Using Tiny Antennas To Capture Waste Heat". Forbes. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  13. ^ "Recycled Energy Development sells 121-MW tri-generation portfolio to Ironclad Energy Partners".
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ "NECHPI - Clean/Combined Heat and Power". Northeast Clean Heat and Power Initiative. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  16. ^ "Sean Casten: Executive Profile and Biography".
  17. ^ Romm, Joe (October 19, 2017). "Progressive candidates are embracing clean energy as a campaign issue". ThinkProgress. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  18. ^ "Emerging Leaders Class of 2011".
  19. ^ Casten, Sean (June 6, 2008). "Coal is No Longer Cheap - So What Comes Next?". Grist. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  20. ^ Casten, Sean (April 2010). "Fuel Swap". Fortnightly Magazine.
  21. ^ Casten, Sean (December 4, 2014). "What We Should Be Talking About When We Talk About Microgrids". Microgrid Knowledge. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  22. ^ Casten, Sean (December 19, 2011). "The U.S. electricity mix in 20 years: A prediction". Grist. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  23. ^ Casten, Sean (November 2007). "Deregulation, Phase II". Fortnightly Magazine.
  24. ^ Casten, Sean; Karegianes, Myra (November 2007). "The Legal Case Against Standby Rates". The Electricity Journal. 20 (9): 10. doi:10.1016/j.tej.2007.10.001 – via Elsevier Science Direct.
  25. ^ Casten, Sean; Meyer, Joshua (December 2004). "Cross-Subsidies: Getting the Signals Right". Fortnightly Magazine.
  26. ^ Hegarty, Erin (September 7, 2017). "Downers Grove scientist is ninth Democrat to announce run for Roskam's seat". Chicago Tribune.
  27. ^ Burnett, Sara; Zimmerman, Sarah (March 20, 2018). "Democrats turn out in big numbers for Illinois primary". Chicago Tribune.
  28. ^ Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. "6th Congressional District Democratic nominee: Sean Casten". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  29. ^ Sweet, Lynn. "Will Democrats Casten, Underwood beat Republicans Roskam, Hultgren?". Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  30. ^ Brufke, Julie-Grace (November 7, 2018). "Dem Casten upsets Roskam to flip Illinois House seat".
  31. ^ 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. The New York Times Company. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  32. ^ Bowman, Bridget (November 16, 2018). "The Survivors: Three Republicans in Clinton Districts Hang On". Roll Call. FiscalNote. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  33. ^ Nagourney, Adam. "David Valadao Concedes House Race in Another Setback for California Republicans". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  34. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  35. ^ "Election Results 2018 GENERAL PRIMARY". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  36. ^ "Election Results 2018 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  37. ^ "2020 Official Election Results". DuPage County. November 24, 2020. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  38. ^ "Democrat Sean Casten's business background under microscope in 6th Congressional District race". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 4, 2019.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Peter Roskam
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 6th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Tim Burchett
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Ben Cline