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Casten discusses his work to combat climate change, state issues

U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, serving the 6th Congressional District, discussed with the Northwest Herald Thursday afternoon his accomplishments and goals before the end of his term.
U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, serving the 6th Congressional District, discussed with the Northwest Herald Thursday afternoon his accomplishments and goals before the end of his term.

U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, D-Downers Grove, who serves the 6th Congressional District, discussed with the Northwest Herald on Feb. 20 his accomplishments and goals before the end of his term.

Using his tech expertise as former CEO of Turbosteam Corporation and Recycled Energy Development, using energy recycling technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emission and converting energy facilities to cleaner, more economic uses, Casten’s mission, he said, is to set legislative agenda to avert “climate catastrophes.”

To accomplish this, Casten said he aims to work toward growing the economy while becoming energy efficient, decarbonize industries, and reduce CO2 levels to 1985 levels, which was the last time atmospheric levels were consistent with the past 300,000 years.

“The reason I'm in this job is because I am deeply concerned about climate change, and the fact that was a priority in my prior professional career doesn't mean it stops being a priority once I got into this line of work,” he said.

Casten currently is working on an Energy Prices Act, which will address consumer energy prices and investments in new technologies, and a carbon price bill.

One of the other goals he’s working toward is to reduce the impacts of the new tax plan signed by President Donald Trump in late 2017, which instituted a cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction.

“People here were really angry at the way that the SALT cap impacted their taxes. And I think one of the very first bills I introduced with Lauren Underwood was a bill to significantly reduce that,” he said.

The bill to reduce the cap on SALT passed in the House, and he said he hopes Mitch McConnell, Kentucky's senior U.S. senator and Senate Majority Leader, will allow the bill to pass in the Senate.

“I think the problem McConnell has is that the groups of donors that typically support his party don't like these bills, but the voters do and he's got a real problem if they come to the floor,” he said. “And I think that's really unfortunate because our democracy needs two parties who are committed to governance and committed to representing the people, not the donor class.”