Look at the recent Daily Bits on the website: Washington Post on the Hopeless Wall, Two Resisters

Political Note #247   Sean Casten IL CD 6

2020                            General Election

Once upon a time being born in Dublin was an enormous advantage for a Chicago politician. The world has changed. The mayor of Chicago is a gay African-American woman. Many of the people who would have gloried in a Dublin-born mayor of Chicago have moved to the suburbs.

Sean Casten https://castenforcongress.com/ was born in Dublin. He is in the suburbs of Chicago. In Downer’s Grove. A town that sounds like it is in New Hampshire, but is a far western suburb. The Congressional district is 85% white, 8% Hispanic, 8% Asian. No room for anybody else.

The Congressional district is prosperous. Median income is just under $99,000. The district is pretty conservative. Until Sean Casten was elected, IL 06 chose a Republican in every election since 1973. Henry Hyde (that’s Henry Hyde of the Hyde amendment that prohibits the US government from spending money on abortions) represented the district for over 30 years.

Sean Casten is not a conservative. He’s not really a native born Irishman. Both his parents are Americans. They were working in Dublin when Sean Casten was born. Working for an American business.

Consider what Sean Casten has to say about Trump telling those Congresswomen to go back to where they came from. He tweeted in response to Trump: “You are the President of the United States. … you should at least try to live up to its dignity. This is racist, inaccurate and inflammatory. Stop embarrassing us and apologize.”

Consider his father’s career. In 1998, Tom Casten wrote the book on energy conservation “Turning off the Heat. Why America Must Double Energy Efficiency to Save Money and Reduce Global Warming.”   He was not a theorist or academic. He was a businessman, president of trade associations that supported decentralized generation of energy. He was the founder and CEO of Trigen, which made a business of using business-generated waste for heating and cooling.

Sean Casten went into his father’s line of work. After a stint as a consultant, he became president and CEO of Turbosteam. Its purposes similar to that of Trigen. He next founded and served as CEO of RED – Recycled Energy Development. Like his father, he was both an advocate for businesses using recycled energy to heat and cool their plants and a businessman making money through those very processes.

Sean Casten moved advocacy to a different level when he ran for Congress. In 2018, he targeted Peter Roskam, six term Congressman. Roskam had made himself vulnerable. The House Ethics Committee investigated Roskam, but took no action about a $25,000 trip to Taiwan he and his wife took. He was criticized for taking his Illinois pension while also earning his salary as a Member of Congress. He attempted to reduce the authority of the Office of Congressional Ethics by putting it under the jurisdiction of the House Ethics Committee.

Suburban change and Donald Trump also made Roskam vulnerable. IL CD 06 exemplifies suburban districts turning to the Democrats. Hillary Clinton carried the district by seven points.

Sean Casten was one of several Democrats who sensed Roskam’s vulnerability. Seven candidates ran in the Democratic primary. Sean Casten won the primary, defeating the second place finisher — a chemist, financial advisor, former state Senator, and breast cancer survivor whose insurance company dropped her and her daughter. He defeated her 28.5 to 26.8. He parleyed that close win to a seven point win over the incumbent – Hillary Clinton’s margin over Donald Trump.

Sean Casten was a surprise in the primary and in the general. He is looking good in Congress. He announced his support for an impeachment investigation in June.  In early September, he held a town hall to talk about impeachment. He live streamed the event so that anyone in the district, or elsewhere, could watch.

Sean Casten stressed the solemnity of considering impeachment, how the process should be apolitical. Like the scientist and businessman he is, he stressed the need for information to make a decision. Like the very best kind of politician, he tried to inspire. Responding to a Taiwan-born constituent who asked what she could tell her children, he said tell her this is not about individual politicians. He said most Members of Congress are good people who have the good fortune to hold a special office. So long as Members of Congress recognize the issues and the government as an institution are more important than they are, the essential character of our government will survive.

There are a lot of former businessmen and women in Congress. Fewer scientists. Stiff fewer with actual experience in dealing with climate change. Opposing climate change is Sean Casten’s political identity. He is co-chair of the moderate New Democratic caucus’s Climate Change Task Force. He is a member of the Select Climate Crisis Committee. On the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, he is on the Energy Subcommittee and the Environment Subcommittee.

He is doing his job getting ready for 2020. He is raising money, has nearly $1.5 million in his campaign chest. Two Republicans are running for the chance to be his opponent. Both have state-wide interests. They have fought before over the character of Illinois’ Republican Party. Former State Senator Jeanne Ives ran well to the right of moderate Republican former Governor Bruce Rauner and lost the 2018 primary. Evelyn Sanguinetti , Illinois’ first Hispanic Lt. Governor, overcame poverty and disappointment about a music career to be Rauner’s Lt. Governor.

Against either of them Sean Casten https://castenforcongress.com/will have to win IL CD 06 over again. He will have to make voting Democratic something that comes natural to people. Help him achieve that. Send money. Find a way to volunteer. Sean Casten is good on a lot of issues.   If we are going to escape the worst consequences of the climate crisis, we need him in Congress.

Look at the Midwest. There have been several Notes so far this year because the Midwest is a place where Democrats have to win – for President and in Congress.


Senate       Theresa Greenfield for US Senate       

IA 02         Rita Hart to win an open Democratic seat.

IA 03         Cynthia Axne for reelection, 13th closest D win in 2018

IA 04         J.D. Scholten to defeat Incumbent Steve King        


IL 06          Sean Casten for reelection. Among the 25 closest winners

IL 13          Betsy Dirksen Londrigan to defeat incumbent Rod Davis

IL 14          Lauren Underwood for reelection, 18th closest D win


Senate       Gary Peters for reelection

MI 08         Elisa Slotkin for reelection, 17th closest D win in 2018


Senate       Tina Smith for reelection

MN 01        Dan Feehan to defeat incumbent Jim Hagedorn