It’s official: Costello will run for 6th seat

Sitting County Commissioner announces run for Congress

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times


Ryan Costello

Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello announced formally, Wednesday morning, that he would seek the 6th Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach.

The West Chester Republican faces a somewhat less complicated run to the Republican nomination after yesterday’s announcement that Chester County GOP Chair Val DiGiorgio would step aside and clear the field for Costello. Although other candidates are expected to declare their candidacy, the only other declared candidate is Malvern Democrat Michael Parrish.

Montgomery County Commissioner Leslie Richards had been also seen a potential candidate, but ruled out a run this week. Manan Trivedi — who ran against Gerlach in 2010 and 2012 — is said to be considering a run as is State Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-126) of Berks County, who said yesterday that he would form an exploratory campaign committee. County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone is said to be thinking about the race but hasn’t made a decision.

Costello said, upon learning on Jan. 6 of Gerlach’s decision not to run again, he spoke in recent days with local residents, friends, and family about running and he had to look at a number of factors, not the least of which was the possibility that DiGiorgio was considering a run for the seat himself. But with DiGiorgio’s announcement Tuesday that he would not run, the decision process became a lot easier, Costello said.

DiGiorgio offered a strong endorsement of Costello, Wednesday.

“Ryan has distinguished himself as a smart and thoughtful leader and dedicated public servant,” said DiGiorgio.  “His fresh and no-nonsense approach to problem solving and his record of working for taxpayers as a township supervisor and now as Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners make him the clear choice to represent us in Congress. I am thrilled to give Ryan my enthusiastic support.”

Costello said he was excited to have the support of DiGiorgio, as well as that of the Chester County Republican Committee. He added that he though DiGiorgio would have also made an excellent Congressman had he decided to run.

Costello, who currently serves as Chairman of the Chester County Board of Commissioners, said Wednesday he is gearing up his campaign — and in the process of filing the paperwork for a run for the 6th, which includes portions of Chester, Montgomery, Berks, and Lebanon Counties.

“With deep humility and excitement, and after discussions with my family and many local residents, I am pleased to announce that I am a candidate for Congress in the 6th Congressional District.,” said Costello in a statement issued Wednesday morning.

Costello said that his experience as a commissioner — and working across party lines to get things done — is a quality sorely needed in Washington, D.C. these days.

“As a county commissioner, I meet and talk with local residents on a daily basis on a range of issues and people are frustrated by the legislative gridlock in Congress and the slow economic turnaround,” said Costello.  “The nation and many elected officials have become so divided and polarized that it is impacting the future direction of the country.  Republicans and Democrats are going to have their differences on policy issues – that’s the nature of political parties. But we need to separate those various policy battles from the larger issue of working together as Americans to restore a national sense of optimism and chart a course that ensures the United State is competitive on a global scale – now and in the future.”

Costello said that he was proud that under his leadership as Chairman, the Chester County Board of Commissioners has worked in a bipartisan manner to approve a revised five-year strategic plan for Chester County that sets a range of priorities and goals in the areas of health, environment, public safety, the county economy, transportation, and future growth. Elements of the strategic plan include maintaining Chester County’s “healthiest county” status; improving water quality and protecting open space; revitalization of urban cores; improving the county’s transportation infrastructure to address traffic and congestion; and promoting job creation, tourism and the continued growth of agriculture sector.

“In Congress, both parties need to work together to do what is in the best interest of the country, just as we have worked cooperatively here on the county level,” said Costello.  “But right now, things in Congress have devolved to a constant game of trying to make the other party look bad.  It needs to stop.”

Costello said he understands that although the 2012 redistricting plan makes the 6th a bit more friendly to Republicans than it was during the previous decade, the mix of Republicans, Democrats and independent voters will make a difficult, and widely watched race.

“I recognize that this is going to be one of the most watched races in the nation,” Costello said. “I am going to work tirelessly each and every day of the campaign to demonstrate to local residents in this very diverse district that I understand the challenges they face and am the right person to serve as their voice and advocate in Congress.”

Prior to serving as County Commissioner, Costello was Chester County Recorder of Deeds and was a Township Supervisor in East Vincent Township. A graduate of Ursinus, he attended Villanova Law School. He currently works for the Phoenixville law first of O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei.

Costello and his wife Christine and their newborn son currently live in West Chester.


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