Casten, Ives trade barbs over protests following George Floyd's death

  • Sean Casten and Jeanne Ives are candidates for the 6th Congressional District seat.

    Sean Casten and Jeanne Ives are candidates for the 6th Congressional District seat.

Updated 10/5/2020 3:55 PM

In a debate over the weekend, U.S. Rep. Sean Casten of Downers Grove called out Republican challenger Jeanne Ives of Wheaton for not protesting -- as he did -- following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police this spring.

Casten, a freshman lawmaker seeking a second term representing Illinois 6th Congressional District, fired the shot while praising the peaceful marches he's witnessed and participated in this year.


"I didn't see looting and violence when I marched in Wheaton or when I marched in Downers Grove or when I marched in Barrington," Casten said in Saturday's debate, which was hosted by WBBM 780-AM and 105.9-FM and Crain's Chicago Business. "I didn't see Ms. Ives there, either, just as I didn't see (President) Donald Trump marching with (Sen.) Mitt Romney in Washington, D.C."

Casten also criticized the looting and other criminal behavior that have marred some protests.

In response, Ives said Casten hasn't sounded off about looting "in his own backyard" or riots.

"People feel very unsettled," said Ives, a former state legislator. She didn't address her lack of participation in the protests.

Ives blasted Casten's outspoken support of gun control measures, accusing him of wanting to abolish the Second Amendment that preserves gun ownership rights.

She and Casten argued about other issues during the roughly hourlong debate.

As she has in the past, Ives bashed the Affordable Care Act, saying medical services under the law are limited and not affordable. She said the law, which sought to ensure all Americans were covered by health insurance, doesn't resemble itself anymore because so many provisions have been removed.

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"It completely needs to be rethought," she said. "More government intervention is not the answer. We need to open up the marketplace."

Casten noted that Ives' position on the Affordable Care Act puts her in agreement with Trump, who has been fighting to repeal the law since he took office.

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the health care law this session, 24 million Americans will lose health insurance, Casten said, including 734,000 Illinoisans.

The fate of the law "is on the ballot right now," Casten said.

Casten and Ives expressed different opinions on climate change, too. Ives acknowledged the climate is changing but didn't support the theory that it's caused by mankind's use of fossil fuels.


At one point, Ives denied that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, saying "every third-grader knows you need (it) for plant life."

Carbon dioxide is considered a pollutant when associated with cars, planes and other machines that burn gasoline or other fossil fuels.

Ives called Casten a hypocrite for complaining about pollution while being invested in a biological energy production business that creates more air pollution than burning coal.

Casten defended his work and said the science on climate change is settled.

"Since the time that humans have been around as a species and have lived in cities, (carbon dioxide) has never been higher than it is right now," he said.

Before the session ended, Ives complained about Casten's tweets targeting some Republican lawmakers, saying he's "fed the acrimony" in the country. Casten responded by saying he's used his platform "to call out people who would cower in moments that require them to stand up."

Libertarian candidate Bill Redpath of West Dundee, an admitted longshot, also participated in the debate. A recording is online at

The 6th District includes parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties.

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