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 portions of five counties in Chicago‘s western suburbs, including Wheaton, Palatine, and Barrington.

Early life and education

Born in Dublin, Ireland,[1] 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.[2]

Business career

Casten began his career working at consultancy Arthur D. Little, where he did fuel chain analyses for the company’s chemical engineering group.[3] From 2000 to 2007, he served as the president and CEO of Turbosteam Corporation, which converted emissions from power plants into energy.[4]

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.[5][6][7] 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.[8][9] 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.[4]

Casten was a founding chairman of the Northeast CHP Initiative,[citation needed] a nonprofit advocacy organization with a mission to advance policies that favor energy efficiency in the northeast United States.[citation needed] 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.[10]

U.S. House of Representatives


Casten announced his candidacy for the United States House of Representatives in Illinois’s 6th congressional district in September 2017.[2] He defeated six other contenders in the 2018 Democratic primary to become the party’s nominee against six-term incumbent Republican Peter Roskam.[11]

On November 6, 2018, Casten won the election, defeating Roskam by a margin of seven points.[12]

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.[13] Illinois’s 6th congressional district supported Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by about 7 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.[14] This was one of 25 GOP-held seats in the U.S. Representatives that Clinton carried in 2016;[15] Democrats flipped 23 of them in 2018.[16][17] 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 1973 until handing it to Roskam upon his retirement in 2007.[citation needed]

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


As of September 2021, Casten had voted in line with President Joe Biden‘s stated position 97.2% of the time.[18]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

Illinois 6th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2018[20]
Democratic Sean Casten 19,774 29.51
DemocraticKelly Mazeski17,98426.84
DemocraticCarole Cheney11,66317.40
DemocraticAmanda Howland8,48312.66
DemocraticBecky Anderson Wilkins4,0015.97
DemocraticJennifer Zordani2,7434.09
DemocraticRyan Huffman2,3653.53
Total votes67,013 100.0
Illinois 6th Congressional District General Election, 2018[21]
Democratic Sean Casten 169,001 53.58
RepublicanPeter J. Roskam (incumbent)146,44546.42
Total votes315,446 100.0
Illinois 6th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2020[22]
Democratic Sean Casten (incumbent) 82,909 100.00
Total votes82,909 100.00
Illinois 6th Congressional District General Election, 2020[23]
Democratic Sean Casten (incumbent) 213,777 52.82
RepublicanJeanne Ives183,89145.43
LibertarianBill Redpath7,0791.75
Total votes404,747 100.00

Personal life

Casten and his wife, Kara, live with their two daughters in Downers Grove, Illinois. His father is Tom Casten.[4]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ a b Hegarty, Erin (September 7, 2017). “Downers Grove scientist is ninth Democrat to announce run for Roskam’s seat”. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  3. ^ Sobczyk, Nick; Friday, E. News reporterPublished (June 5, 2020). “NEWSMAKER: This moderate Dem just might be the Hill’s top climate nerd”. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c O’Connell, Patrick M. (October 19, 2018). “Democrat Sean Casten’s business background under microscope in 6th Congressional District race”. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  5. ^ Van, Jon. “Cash infusion heats up prospects for recycled-energy business”.
  6. ^ Lydersen, Kari. “Q&A: Why combined heat and power is a ‘no-brainer.
  7. ^ Kanellos, Michael (January 24, 2009). “Will Waste Heat Be Bigger Than Solar?”.
  8. ^ Garthwaite, Josie (August 25, 2010). “Tapping into the Electric Power of Heat”. National Geographic. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  9. ^ Fehrenbacher, Katie (July 20, 2016). “This Startup Is Using Tiny Antennas To Capture Waste Heat”. Fortune. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  10. ^ Romm, Joe (October 19, 2017). “Progressive candidates are embracing clean energy as a campaign issue”. ThinkProgress. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  11. ^ Burnett, Sara; Zimmerman, Sarah (March 20, 2018). “Democrats turn out in big numbers for Illinois primary”. Chicago Tribune.
  12. ^ “Illinois Election Results: Sixth House District”. The New York Times. January 28, 2019. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  13. ^ Sweet, Lynn. “Will Democrats Casten, Underwood beat Republicans Roskam, Hultgren?”. Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  14. ^ Brufke, Julie-Grace (November 7, 2018). “Dem Casten upsets Roskam to flip Illinois House seat”.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Bowman, Bridget (November 16, 2018). “The Survivors: Three Republicans in Clinton Districts Hang On”. Roll Call. FiscalNote. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  17. ^ Nagourney, Adam. “David Valadao Concedes House Race in Another Setback for California Republicans”. The New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  18. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (April 22, 2021). “Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?”. FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  19. ^ “Members”. New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  20. ^ “Election Results 2018 GENERAL PRIMARY”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  21. ^ “Election Results 2018 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  22. ^ “Election Results 2020 GENERAL PRIMARY”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  23. ^ “Election Results 2020 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved February 24, 2021.

External links

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