Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-12-12
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

ELECTIONS U.S. Congress, 6th Dist. candidate Sean Casten
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Matt Simonette
2018-03-13

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Scientist and entrepreneur Sean Casten is running in the March 20 primary against several other Democrats looking to eventually unseat Republican incumbent 6th District U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam. Among Casten's opponents are Becky Anderson Wilkins, Jennifer Zordani, Kelly Mezeski, Amanda Howland and Carole Cheney.

Windy City Times: What prompted you to run?

Sean Casten: I have spent the last 20 years trying to do something about climate change with more success than most people have accomplished in their life. I became concerned that the primary issues involved in reducing climate change were not technological, but were problems with business models. That led me to the entrepreneurial end of things. I founded and ran two separate companies; we invested over $200 million, over 80 projects—all made money and all reduced CO2 emissions. The idea was that if we could make money on CO 2, people could copy our success.

… I crossed paths with Roskam as a clean energy advocate periodically, because when people said we need somebody, a CEO who represents jobs in the district, to talk to this guy voting on a tax bill that affects the district. I don't agree with almost anything that he stands for, but my biggest issue with him as an advocate is that he lacks intellectual curiosity. When the conversation shifts to something he doesn't want to talk about, that's the end of the conversation. So I just think that if you don't enjoy knowing things, get a job that doesn't require you to know things, don't become a representative in Congress.

[After the Nov. 2016] election, I was thinking about what I was going to do next, and at the same time, here was this guy I didn't particularly care for. Here's a Republican Party that stands for almost nothing I believe, and I'm living in one of the top-five targeted districts to flip.

WCT: You discuss what you call Roskam's lack of intellectual curiosity and your campaign platform speaks about the importance of "critical thinking"—what does that really mean for you?

SC: Let me put a question back to you, because I think it highlights an answer. Would you ever ask that question in any other field of endeavor? You would never ask somebody who was working in a scientific lab, "So you have some results you disagree with, are you still going to use them? Or are you going to use the other results?"

If you start from the perspective of, "What are the facts on the table, and how does one use them," that is a really low bar for a bare-minimum requirement in any job, and it is only in politics that that is deemed a viable approach. Let's look at health care: The U.S. sends more per capita on health care than any other industrialized country and has worse outcomes than any other industrialized country. Why are we having any conversation at all about whether or not we can afford to improve our health care system? The answer is, we're having a conversation based on politics instead of policy. You can can go through and look at other countries that have better outcomes and spend less, and ask what the features are of those systems. … That approach is something that you would do as a matter of course in any other industry.

WCT: What are some issues that are most important for the district?

SC: Let me frame it nationally, because what I do in the district will be a part of what's nationally important. I've spent my whole career wanting to do something about climate change—it is the [most important] existential challenge that we face. There are a ton of policy barriers to doing things that are both economically and environmentally beneficial and that have not been addressed because there are not many people in Congress who understand how many win-win things there are out there. Those range from federal purchasing rules to nuances of the Clean Air Act.

Also, it is shocking to me how many people lost faith and doesn't think that they're vote matters. If, come the 2020 election, people have less confidence than they did in the 2016 election, I think it's how democracies die. I don't mean to be hyperbolic about that. But, how in God's name is it not the priority of every member in Congress to get to the bottom of whether a foreign government that's hostile to our interests hacked our election and frustrated the ability of American voices to be heard? The fact that they have not done that is making it look like a lot of people may have been complicit in that happening, because why else would they handle it the way they did?

I'm not making any accusations here, but what I'm saying is that, if that view is held by a significant number of American voters, that is the path to revolution in the streets. I find myself thinking that we need something like a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, with full amnesty for anyone who comes forward, and get to the bottom of that, to make people confident. Second, how do we get something to like what we have for land warfare, that says if you engage in an act of cyber-warfare in another country, there's an international consensus that there are consequences that are enforceable? We clearly don't have those rules right now, and Russia or others have figured out that you can hack American democracy, and there's a sufficient lack of backbone among elected officials, so you can get away with it.

WCT: Have you done any work or had any engagement with the LGBT community?

SC: [Laughing] Statistically, 10 percent of all my experiences with people. Seriously, a handful of things. All through high school I worked in an art gallery. The two guys who owned it were a gay couple. They were a "pre-Stonewall" couple, living together and were publicly out. They had grown up in the gay world of New York in the and '60s and '70s, and were out but not "loudly" out. One of them died from AIDS. I spoke at his funeral. His partner spoke at my wedding. We have been friends forever. … None of that earns me a cookie, but those were my bosses growing up, who taught me how to do hard work.

More recently, we have a family foundation that has a mission to do international education. One of the things we did was assist a kid from Peru who moved here undocumented and was looking for anyone to help him process the paperwork to stay here, because he didn't trust that his life was safe as a gay kid in Peru. We ultimately helped, through friends in the State Department, to help him get a visa.

WCT: What issues do you perceive as being important for the 6th District's LGBT community?

SC: Let's start with the positive—I think that this district is vastly more socially tolerant than the majority of Republican districts in this country. It's not the issues don't exist here, but it's certainly better than a lot of other places. There are a lot of people who are out, proud and totally safe, and that's very different from the way it was a long time ago.

The stuff that I feel we drop the ball on nationally is the stuff pertaining to equal protection clauses in the constitution. In theory, it's illegal to discriminate. In practice, its really difficult to enforce. What do you do if a law is not enforced, if you're a member of Congress? It's not obvious what the answer is—how do you get the judicial system to be more engaged? As a general rule, I don't think anything good has ever come from the legislative branch injecting themselves into the judicial process. But there's no question that the spirit of EEOC laws, for example, are not being implemented the way they should be.

See castenforcongress.com .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

152 LGBTQ Elected Officials Call on 116th Congress to Act on Four Key Initiatives 2018-12-12 - Washington, DC — More than 150 openly LGBTQ elected officials and newly elected officials from across the nation are calling on the incoming ...


Gay News

With Kavanaugh on the court, what now for LGBTQ rights? 2018-12-12 - As the reality of a new and intensely conservative Supreme Court majority sinks in, some people are asking, "What's the use of fighting ...


Gay News

NATIONAL 24th trans death, HIV lab closing, Biden, asylum brief 2018-12-11 - Three years after a trans woman in her Detroit neighborhood was killed, Keanna Mattel became the latest transgender victim of violence, INTO reported. ...


Gay News

NCLR Files Brief Highlighting Stories of LGBTQ Asylum Seekers 2018-12-07 - SAN FRANCISCO—The National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) yesterday filed an amicus brief highlighting the stories of LGBTQ asylum seekers in ...


Gay News

Chicago braces for long mayoral season 2018-12-05 - The announcement this past fall that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel would not be seeking another term in the 2019 election opened an already-crowded ...


Gay News

Lambda sues for couple blocked from foster parenting, govm't seeks dismissal 2018-11-30 - ( Washington, DC, Nov. 30, 2018 ) — A federal district court today heard oral argument in the Trump administration's effort to have ...


Gay News

Democrats nominate Pelosi as speaker 2018-11-29 - On Nov. 28, U.S. House Democrats resoundingly picked current Speaker Nancy Pelosi as their nominee for the same position Pelosi was nominated as ...


Gay News

Committee advances resolution condemning Trump anti-trans proposal 2018-11-28 - The Chicago City Council Committee on Human Relations unanimously advanced a resolution from the five members of the Council's LGBT Caucus and Ald. ...


Gay News

Marriage equality remains in Bermuda, falls in Taiwan 2018-11-28 - It was a mixed weekend for same-sex marriage advocates as they won a legal battle in Bermuda Nov. 23 after the country's government ...


Gay News

David Orr reflects on four decades of politics 2018-11-28 - Outgoing Cook County Clerk David Orr, whose last day on the job will be Nov. 30, admitted that he couldn't help but be ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.