Casten discusses his vote to impeach Trump at town hall in Palatine

  • U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat, held his 22nd and final town hall meeting of his first year in Congress at the Palatine Library Saturday.

      U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat, held his 22nd and final town hall meeting of his first year in Congress at the Palatine Library Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat, addressed constituents at the Palatine Library Saturday just days after joining with Democrats to impeach President Donald Trump.

      U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat, addressed constituents at the Palatine Library Saturday just days after joining with Democrats to impeach President Donald Trump. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat, told constituents Saturday that he was proud to be on the right side of history in voting to impeach President Donald Trump.

      U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat, told constituents Saturday that he was proud to be on the right side of history in voting to impeach President Donald Trump. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat, held his 22nd and final town hall meeting of his first year in Congress at the Palatine Library Saturday.

      U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat, held his 22nd and final town hall meeting of his first year in Congress at the Palatine Library Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat, addressed a mostly-full town hall meeting at the Palatine Library Saturday.

      U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat, addressed a mostly-full town hall meeting at the Palatine Library Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/21/2019 7:52 PM

Freshman U.S. Rep Sean Casten told constituents Saturday that it did not make him happy to cast a vote to impeach President Donald Trump, but he felt privileged to be in a position to defend the Constitution.

Casten called the vote the most important vote he and his colleagues had ever taken and said he voted the way he did because Trump's actions toward Ukraine were an "open-and-shut case" of bribery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I'm proud to be on the side of voting to protect democracy and to take my oath to the Constitution seriously," Casten said. "I'm proud to be on the right side."

Casten shared his feelings about his vote during a town hall meeting Saturday morning at the Palatine Public Library.

Though just three days had passed, no constituents at the meeting spoke out against Casten's vote, save for one or two people muttering in the back of the room. And of the 10 questions Casten answered from constituents, just one referred to the impeachment vote, and it was from a supporter asking about what the Democrats can do to ensure a fair impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.

Casten said he was angry that the vote on impeachment turned out to be a partisan vote and that Republicans did not offer facts that were consistent with reality.

"If people start believing fictions and people start believing the truth is not some function of an unambiguous truth, but a function of what the tribe wants, that's not just an attack on democracy -- that's an attack on enlightenment," Casten said.

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Casten said he has a deep and abiding trust that if people have total access to the facts they're going to make the right decisions at the ballot box.

"If you don't trust that principle, then you're going to work hard to clog the airwaves with false information or otherwise frustrate the process."

Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat, took the traditionally Republican seat last year from U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam by capturing around 53.6 percent of the vote. The campaign for Roskam -- a Wheaton Republican who'd represented the district since 2007 and had previously won reelection in 2016 with nearly 60 percent of the vote -- spent around $7.1 million and Casten's campaign spent around $6.3 million.

The town hall meeting was Casten's 22nd. He said he was proud that he and his staff had been able to host so many during the year.

"These are my only real chance to get to talk to real people," Casten said. "Thank you all for showing up."

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