About the Candidate
Name: Sean Casten
DOB: Nov. 23, 1971
Occupation: US Representative for the 6th Congressional District of Illinois
Political Experience: US Representative for the 6th Congressional District of Illinois (2019-Present)
Facebook: Sean Casten for Congress
It is my great privilege to serve the 6th District in Congress. I ran for this office in 2018 on the premise that there's an awful lot more that unites us than divides us. The overwhelming majority of us trust science. The majority of us think markets are extremely powerful tools to harness ingenuity, but they require a functioning, ethical, and competent government to make sure everybody gets a fair chance. The majority of us think that democracy is worth defending. The majority of us think women should have full autonomy over their health care and that all Americans should have access to affordable health care.
Most importantly, the overwhelming majority of us know that we are only as good as the world we leave to our children.
We need voices to continue to remind us of what we have in common. To remind us of our common humanity. Not to back away and abandon our values, but to have the confidence and the integrity to lean in, remind and if necessary, persuade people that those are shared values.
In Congress, I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve accomplished, like passing legislation, signed into law by President Biden, to lower the carbon footprint of the federal government. We passed legislation through the House to lower costs for families- like child care and prescription drugs.
I'm proud to have done over 50 town halls on issues ranging from impeachment to housing, to climate change. Because one of my greatest responsibilities is to be accountable to the people I represent, and town halls offer a unique and necessary opportunity for that two-way conversation.
I’m proud of the support we've given to our constituents, whether that's getting a passport expedited or getting their IRS check processed. Or, helping a veteran who had lost his Purple Heart and get his medal back. I was really proud to do that and share that moment with him before he passed.
But, what I'm most proud of is having earned the voters’ trust. I hope to do it again this election. Thank you.
Why are you running?
I am running for office to combat the climate crisis, protect a woman’s right to choose, and lower costs for families - like prescription drugs and child care.
What does this office do well, and what needs fixing?
I firmly believe there is more that unites us than divides us. Most Americans want to pay less for prescription medication and pass a livable planet on to our kids. Most Americans want women to be able to make their own health care decisions.
But, we too often confuse debates in Congress with public disagreement. Our founders created a government with one body that was intentionally representative (the House) one that was intentionally not representative (the Senate) and one that was a mix (the Presidency, and the structure of the electoral college).
Gerrymandering and the nature of our campaign finance system have made the House less representative than it should be, but nonetheless it remains true that it is much easier to pass legislation that is desired and supported through the House than the Senate, and far too common for the winner of the Presidential popular vote to lose the electoral college.
I believe there’s a lot of good that this office has done. I was proud to pass, and have President Biden sign into law, legislation to lower the carbon footprint of the Department of Defense. In the House, we’ve passed legislation to cap the cost of insulin, cut child care costs, and tackle the gun violence epidemic. But, if we want to get these bills through the Senate, we need more Members of Congress ready and willing to put “we” above “me”.
What is the most pressing issue facing your constituents and how do you plan on addressing it?
I have dedicated my entire life to combatting the greatest crisis our planet faces—climate change. Whether it was as a scientist working in a lab to create sustainable fuel, as an entrepreneur helping companies transition to renewable energy, or as a Member of Congress, climate change has been, and always will be, my top issue.
From 2010 to 2020, Illinois experienced 48 extreme weather events, costing up to $50 billion in damages. This damage has been caused in part from the climate crisis, but also due to the poor quality of our infrastructure. Moreover, we are seeing a huge restructuring of our financial system, caused both by the economic losses from a changing climate and the flood of money away from energy extractive regions to energy consumers.
I have written and passed legislation to better quantify the risks of climate change to our financial system, to fund R&D programs in the hard-to-decarbonize industries and energy storage sector and to accelerate the deployment of cleaner, cheaper technologies that still provide us with all the useful energy our economy requires.
I have also dedicated much of my public time to explaining to the public why climate change is both an existential threat but addressing climate change is a massive economic opportunity - because the sooner we realize that as a society, the sooner we will stop wasting any more time that we do not have.
What specific steps would you take to ensure your office is accessible and responsive to your constituents?
During my time in office, I’ve hosted over 50 town halls to give constituents the opportunity to ask me about the decisions I’ve made. Town halls provide constituents with a way to hold me accountable, learn my values, and hear why I vote the way I do. More than anything, they ensure I am personally responsive to those I represent.
I am also incredibly proud of the services my office has been able to provide to our constituents. We’ve worked to get passports expedited, IRS checks processed, and even a Purple Heart return to a veteran. On top of that, we’ve been able to return over $3,000,000 to constituents through our casework program.