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Sean Casten

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Sean Casten
Official portrait of Casten from the 117th Congress. Sitting in front of an American flag, he wears a dark suit, a light blue shirt, and a blue 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 52)
Dublin, Ireland
Political partyDemocratic
(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 southwestern Chicago, as well as many of Chicago's inner southwestern suburbs, such as Downers Grove, Wheaton, Lisle, Orland Park, and Western Springs. 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 November 8, 2022.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

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[edit]

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] He 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[edit]



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 22 of them in 2018.[19][20]


Casten was reelected in 2020, defeating former state legislator and gubernatorial primary candidate Jeanne Ives by seven points.[21]


For his first two terms, Casten represented a district covering parts of five counties in Chicago's western suburbs, including Wheaton, Palatine, and Barrington.

Redistricting after the 2020 census saw the 6th become significantly more compact. Casten lost all of his territory outside Cook and DuPage counties. To make up for the loss in population, the district was pushed further into Cook County, absorbing a slice of southwestern Chicago proper. As a result, it lost its connection to longtime Republican Congressman Henry Hyde, who held the seat from 1975 to 2007.

The reconfigured district included a large chunk of the old 3rd district, represented by fellow Democrat Marie Newman. Although the reconfigured district retained Casten's district number, it was geographically more Newman's district than Casten's. According to calculations by Daily Kos, the new district was over 77% new to him; Newman retained 41% of her constituents while Casten retained 23% of his former territory.[22] Nevertheless, Casten won the nomination. In the general election, he defeated Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau by 8 points.


As of January 2023, Casten had voted in line with President Joe Biden's stated position 99% of the time during the 117th Congress.[23]

Climate change and energy[edit]

Casten says his number one issue in Congress is energy policy and climate change.[24][25][26] He is a member of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.[27] 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".[26] "We have a PhD-level problem. And Congress is at a 6th-grade reading level", he has said.[25]

Casten has introduced several bills related to energy policy, among them the Climate Risk Disclosure Act and the End Oil and Gas Subsidies Act.[28][29] The Clean Industrial Technology Act of 2019 would have established a program to incentivize innovation in greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing.[30]

FERC issues[edit]

Casten has worked to increase the visibility of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a federal agency with regulatory powers in the energy sector. In Congress, Casten has led efforts to "turbocharge FERC's profile" and to utilize the agency to promote the clean energy transition.[31]

In 2021, Casten debuted a "Hot FERC Summer" campaign, a play on the phrase "hot girl summer" that rose to viral popularity in 2019.[32] In 2022, Casten reworded the lyrics to Rihanna's 2016 single Work on the House floor to advocate for giving increased resources to FERC to allow it to "work".[33]


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.[34][35]

Voting rights[edit]

Casten voted for Ayanna Pressley's amendment to H.R. 1, the Voting Rights Act, which would lower the voting age to 16.[36]


Casten is an outspoken supporter of abortion rights.[37][38] Following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision, Casten voted for H.R.8296, the Women's Health Protection Act of 2022,[39] which would protect a person's ability to end a pregnancy and a healthcare provider's ability to provide abortion services.[37]


In 2023, Casten voted against H.Con.Res. 21 which directed President Joe Biden to remove U.S. troops from Syria within 180 days.[40][41]

Structural changes to make Federal government more representative[edit]

In the 118th Congress Casten co-sponsored three bills to restructure Congress and the judicial branches of the U.S. government to make them more representative:[42]

  • The Equal Voices Act would periodically adjust the number of Representatives in the House of Representatives so that each Congressional District would be computed by the population of the least populated state. Using the 2020 census, there would have been 138 more Representatives than present, each representing a district roughly the population of Wyoming.[43]
  • The Senate Reform constitutional amendment would add 12 new Senators elected at-large by ranked-choice voting from the entire electorate (including non-states such as District of Columbia). It would also add 12 presidential electors who would be pledged to vote according to the national popular vote.[44]
  • The Restoring Judicial Separation of Powers Act would restructure the federal courts and appeals process to make it more difficult for one party to game the system by stacking the courts.[45]


Casten voted for a resolution in support of Israel following the 2023 Hamas attack on Israel.[46][47]

In March 2024, Casten criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the "utter disregard for Palestinian lives".[48]

Committee assignments[edit]

For the 118th Congress:[49]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Electoral history[edit]

Illinois 6th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2018[55]
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[56]
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[57]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sean Casten (incumbent) 82,909 100.00
Total votes 82,909 100.00
Illinois 6th Congressional District General Election, 2020[58]
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
Illinois 6th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2022
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sean Casten (incumbent) 45,654 67.7
Democratic Marie Newman (incumbent) 19,726 29.2
Democratic Charles M. Hughes 2,085 3.1
Total votes 67,465 100.00
Illinois 6th Congressional District General Election, 2022[59]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sean Casten (incumbent) 150,496 54.4
Republican Keith Pekau 126,351 45.6
Write-in 12 0.0
Total votes 276,859 100.00

Personal life[edit]

Casten and his wife, Kara, live in Downers Grove, Illinois.[60]

On June 13, 2022, Casten's daughter Gwen died suddenly at the age of 17 from cardiac arrest.[61][62] According to Casten, his daughter had been in good health.[62]

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

Casten is among the handful of representatives in congress to not identify with any religion.[63]


  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". Chicago Tribune. 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". 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". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  6. ^ Van, Jon (November 16, 2007). "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. Archived from the original on August 25, 2010. 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.
  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. 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. ^ Bremer, Shelby (November 4, 2020). "Rep. Sean Casten Wins Race for Illinois' 6th District Race as Jeanne Ives Concedes". WMAQ-TV. Retrieved December 7, 2022.
  22. ^ 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" (Tweet). Archived from the original on February 1, 2022 – via Twitter.
  23. ^ Wiederkehr, Anna; Bycoffe, Aaron (January 3, 2023). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved February 21, 2023. Beginning with the start of the 118th Congress, this statistic is no longer being updated.
  24. ^ Sobczyk, Nick (June 5, 2020). "This moderate Dem just might be the Hill's top climate nerd". E&E News. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ "House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis". Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ Schoeff Jr., Mark (May 13, 2021). "Rep. Casten pushes climate disclosure bill to strengthen SEC's hand". InvestmentNews. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  30. ^ "Bipartisan Bill Aims to Boost Manufacturers' Carbon-Cutting". Bloomberg Law. August 25, 2019. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  31. ^ Christian, Molly (July 26, 2021). "US House lawmaker wants to turbocharge FERC's profile, role in energy transition". S&P Global. Retrieved October 10, 2023.
  32. ^ Frazin, Rachel (July 28, 2021). "Democrat plugs 'hot FERC summer', sings to 'FERCalicious' on House floor". The Hill. Retrieved October 10, 2023.
  33. ^ Hale, Chris (December 16, 2022). "Putting FERC to 'Work' — Congressional Hits & Misses". Roll Call. Retrieved October 10, 2023.
  34. ^ Olson, Laura (February 18, 2021). "Biden backs reparations study, as House Dems push for commission". Nevada Current. Retrieved October 8, 2022.
  35. ^ "117th Congress: All Information (Except Text) for H.R.40 - Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act". www.congress.gov.
  36. ^ Jeff Pankin (March 3, 2021). "Final vote results for roll call 57". clerk.house.gov. Retrieved April 30, 2023.
  37. ^ a b Lissau, Russell (September 27, 2022). "In 6th District race, Democrat Sean Casten and Republican Keith Pekau split on abortion rights". The Daily Herald.
  38. ^ Byrne, John; Syed, Zareen (October 21, 2022). "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stumps for US Rep. Sean Casten, with focus on reproductive rights". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  39. ^ "Women's Health Protection Act - Roll Call Vote". www.clerk.house.gov. July 15, 2022.
  40. ^ "H.Con.Res. 21: Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of … -- House Vote #136 -- Mar 8, 2023".
  41. ^ "House Votes Down Bill Directing Removal of Troops From Syria". Associated Press. March 8, 2023.
  42. ^ "Casten Introduces Legislation to Increase Size of House and Senate, Change SCOTUS' Jurisdiction" (Press release). January 31, 2023. Retrieved February 21, 2023.
  43. ^ Equal Voices Act "One page summary" (PDF). January 31, 2023. Retrieved February 21, 2023.
  44. ^ A Constitutional Amendment on the Senate and Electoral College "One page summary" (PDF). January 31, 2023. Retrieved February 21, 2023.
  45. ^ Restoring Judicial Separation of Powers Act "One page summary" (PDF). January 31, 2023. Retrieved February 21, 2023.
  46. ^ Demirjian, Karoun (October 25, 2023). "House Declares Solidarity With Israel in First Legislation Under New Speaker". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 30, 2023.
  47. ^ "Roll Call 528 Roll Call 528, Bill Number: H. Res. 771, 118th Congress, 1st Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. October 25, 2023. Retrieved October 30, 2023.
  48. ^ Kampeas, Ron (March 2024). "6 House Dems, back from Israel, accuse Netanyahu of 'utter disregard for Palestinian lives'". Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
  49. ^ "Mike Quigley". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved May 31, 2023.
  50. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  51. ^ "Members". House Pro Choice Caucus. August 19, 2021.
  52. ^ Elbein, Saul. "House Democrats launch sustainable investing caucus". The Hill. Retrieved May 20, 2024.
  53. ^ "Climate Change and Clean Energy". New Democrat Coalition. Retrieved May 20, 2024.
  54. ^ "Members". Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition (SEEC). May 4, 2023. Retrieved May 20, 2024.
  55. ^ "Election Results 2018 GENERAL PRIMARY". Illinois State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on March 12, 2021. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  56. ^ "Election Results 2018 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on January 16, 2021. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  57. ^ "Election Results 2020 GENERAL PRIMARY". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  58. ^ "Election Results 2020 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  59. ^ "2022 General Election Results". Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved March 28, 2023.
  60. ^ Swanson, Lorraine (June 22, 2022). "Sean Casten: Illinois 6th Congressional District Candidate". Patch. Retrieved July 8, 2022.
  61. ^ 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.
  62. ^ 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.
  63. ^ "Religious affiliation of members of 118th Congress" (PDF). Pew Research Center. January 3, 2023.

External links[edit]

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

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by