Scientist and entrepreneur Sean Casten beat out an extraordinarily large field of opponents in the 2018 Democratic primary. All were vying for the chance to challenge incumbent Republican Peter Roskam for his long-held 6th District congressional seat.
In a previous Windy City Times interview, Casten said that he was motivated to run by what he said was Roskam's lack of intellectual curiosity and his unquestioning complicity advancing Republican party policies. Casten spoke with WCT again about what he's learned during the general election.
Windy City Times: Why did you feel like it was so important for you to challenge Roskam's incumbency?
Sean Casten: Roskam is the architect of a tax bill that is giving us two trillion in deficits that we don't have the ability to fund, and he has the gall to say that we're going to fill those deficits by deadline with the benefits flowing tohis words"entitled individuals." I don't know how you look at yourself in the mirror every day by giving tax cuts to people who don't need them, and fund them by taking money from people who do. He's called climate change "junk science," which is willful blindness.
He voted over 50 times to repeal [the Affordable Care Act]. That would have caused 32,000 people in the district to lose their health insurance, and he voted without even waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to release their report on what the consequences would be. You just get to a point where you have to [ask], "Do you stand for anything?"
WCT: What have people in the district told you their key concerns have been?
SC: This is a district that is pretty highly educated, and more affluent than average, so their issues tend to be consistent with that. People are really concerned about the rising cost of student education and the debt that they're going to have to take on to get their kids through college. They're really nervous and uncomfortable with the attacks on our healthcare systema lot of people have good jobs and are employed, but are looking at parents and people on Medicare or Medicaid, and asking, "Will that be there when I get there?" With that, it has been a district that has been fiscally conservative, and is really angry with the current administration for saddling us with these massive deficits. And the thing for all of us: Why are they no adults in the room standing up to Trump?
WCT: Have you had a chance to have any conversations about LGBT issues in the district as you've ran in the general election? What kind of things might be pertinent for LGBT voters in the district?
SC: With respect to the election, I don't think I've had any fewer conversations than I had before in [in the primary]. I grew up in New York in the peak of the AIDS crisis and sort of watched all that go through. I've been shocked and encouraged by how issues such as marriage equality and all that has gone forward.
I look at the way that my kids talk about LGBT issues, as opposed to the way that I talked about it when I was their age. Let's be honest: When I was 12, I talked about those things with the maturity of a 12-year-old boy. For the kids now, it's just a "thing." Back when I was a kid, I remember when Culture Club came around, and people were asking, "Is Boy George gay, or is he just 'flamboyant?'" You'd couldn't even have that conversation. Now, for my kids, it is what it is. There's a greater degree of acceptance. That's not to say that there are not plenty of risks and concerns out there. There are many many members of the community that we have to fight for. But it would seem like that history is going the right way.
See CastenForCongress.com .