Costello will seek Gerlach's seat

By KENDAL GAPINSKI

KGapinski @dailylocal.com

WEST CHESTER -- Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello formally announced his candidacy for Congress in the 6th Congressional District Wednesday.

The Republican announced his decision to run on Wednesday morning, following U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach’s announcement last week that he will not seek reelection. Costello, of West Chester, currently serves as the chairman of the Chester County Commissioners.

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“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.”

Gerlach announced last week his plans to step down from the 6th district seat after his term ends this year, citing gridlock in Washington and time spent away from his family. The 6th district includes parts of Chester, Berks, Montgomery and Lebanon Counties.

Costello said that his work on the Chester County Board of Commissioners has given him experience working on bipartisan issues, including the county’s five-year strategic plan.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

After Gerlach’s announcement that he would not seek reelection, numerous Republicans expressed interest in the seat, including Republican Committee of Chester County Chairman Val DiGiorgio. However, according to the release, DiGiorgio has decided not to run and to instead endorse Costello’s campaign.

“Ryan has distinguished himself as a smart and thoughtful leader and dedicated public servant,” said DiGiorgio in a statement. “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 was first elected to the Board of Commissioners in 2011 and serves on the Chester County Pension Board, Prison Board and Board of Elections, according to his campaign.

Prior to his role as commissioner, Costello served as county Recorder of Deeds and chairman of the East Vincent board of supervisors.

This is Costello’s second run in the 6th Congressional District. In the 2012 primary, Costello finished second behind Gerlach to serve as a delegate to the Republican National Convention representing the 6th District, according to his campaign.

Costello is currently an attorney with O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei of Phoenixville, his campaign said. He serves in leadership positions for a number of state and regional organizations including the Chester County Industrial Development Authority, the Chester County Economic Development Council, the Phoenixville Hospital Board of Trustees and the West Chester Business Improvement District Board of Directors.

According to his campaign, he is a graduate of both Ursinus College and the Villanova School of Law.

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