Congressman sheds light on bipartisanship to students


Courtesy of The Chicago Tribune

Congressman Sean Casten, currently residing in Downers Grove, visited Central to speak about his stances and reaching compromise.

After hosting Congressman Peter Roskam in November, the Student Conservative Organization wanted to hear what the opposing side had to say. The Student Conservative Organization’s outreach for compromise featured local Democratic Congressman Sean Casten on Monday, April 22 from 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. in the Community Room.  

After the Parkland shooting survivor Kyle Kashuv visited Hinsdale Central, the club wanted to reach out to local officials to see how schools are being protected from the recent increase in gun violence. In relation to the previous school shooting prevention event, the club also wanted to know steps Congress takes to keep schools safe whether through legislation or policy.

“This was the first time our club has hosted a Democrat,” said Mikhail Essa, sophomore and president of Student Conservative Club. “It is always important to be exposed to all perspectives to keep an open mind and think independently.”

Scheduling a meeting was a lengthy process which took Essa several days in order to find a date which would work for Sean Casten to come speak. 

At the event, Casten spoke about the importance of bipartisanship and working with disparate groups to achieve common goals, and his eagerness to go to Congress to work with colleagues from both parties on issues of common concern, including not only school protection but also environmental challenges.

“I don’t think of myself as a Democrat per say and more than that, I think of myself as a conservative,” Casten said. “There are places where I disagree with my party.”

Casten additionally spoke about his position on healthcare and global warming. Casten became a congressman because he was deeply concerned with climate change. For nearly two decades, Casten founded and ran multiple start-up businesses that created hundreds of new clean energy jobs. Casten’s businesses lowered energy costs and reduced pollution by increasing overall energy efficiency.

“If nothing is done about climate change, the planet won’t be habitable in 300 years,” Casten said. “Nuclear energy has to be part of the solution.”

The meeting was open for all students, and those who don’t agree with most conservative ideas showed up to the presentation.

Lana Jawich
After Casten spoke, students had time to ask the Congressman questions.

“I thought this [event] was a neat idea,” said Anna Gruchala, junior. “I personally would have never gone to a conservative meeting if it weren’t for something like this as I personally don’t agree with most conservative views, but this was a really cool initiative to get students from the other side of the political spectrum to attend.”

Overall, this event was successful in giving the club members an opportunity to look into the reasoning of the opposing views of their beliefs while also giving non-members of the club the opportunity to take part in politics and be more civically engaged by showing them they have value in the community.

“This gave me a chance to analyze my own views and truly pinpoint the reasons for my beliefs,” Essa said.

Student Conservative Organization is planning to host Former Lieutenant Governor of Illinois and potential Congressional Candidate for the sixth district Evelyn Sanguinetti for their next event.