Paul Ryan: ‘We’ve got a good record to run on’
House Speaker stumps for Rep. Costello
UPPER UWCHLAN >> At an event held Thursday to praise U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello’s work on a multibillion-dollar transportation bill, House Speaker Paul Ryan played down any possible impact on Costello’s reelection campaign stemming from recent difficulties of the Trump presidential campaign in Pennsylvania.
“I’m not offering him any political advice,” said Ryan as he stood alongside Costello, R-6, of West Goshen, in a garage workshop at J-Tech Inc.’s equipment complex in Chester Springs near where the Pennsylvania Turnpike intersects Chester County. He was responding to a question as to how he would advise Costello to approach the candidacy of businessman Donald Trump at the top of the GOP ticket, which has faded recently. “We have a good record to run on.”
According to recent political polls, Trump now trails Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton anywhere between 4 and 10 percentage points in the state. Prior to the first presidential debate held last month, Trump had closed the gap with Clinton to within 1 percent here. National reports show national Republican leaders concerned
"Ryan Costello knows exactly what he’s doing to get elected because he’s doing what the people sent him to do.” — House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.
about what drag Trump’s stalled campaign may have on races like Costello’s in the vote-rich Philadelphia suburbs.
Costello has largely steered clear of Trump in his re-election campaign. Although he said he would support the Republican ticket, he stayed away from the GOP convention this past summer at which Trump was nominated.
But Ryan said he thought Costello would be able to run to victory based not on Trump’s candidacy but on what the freshman congressman had done in Washington since being elected in 2014. A prime example is the bipartisan, $305 billion transportation bill signed into law by President Barack Obama in December, he said.
“Ryan Costello has a great record to run on,” Ryan proclaimed, as members of the J-Tech company, which depends on highway roadwork for sales of its equipment, looked on. “For the first time since the mid1990s, we have long-term infrastructure legislation. We are getting things done.
“But, more importantly, instead of just complaining, we are offering solutions,” Ryan added. “Ryan Costello went to Washington to become part of the solution instead of being part of the problem. Ryan Costello knows exactly what he’s doing to get elected because he’s doing what the people sent him to do.”
Ryan, on the stop in Pennsylvania that would see him appear in Lancaster Thursday afternoon on behalf of GOP candidate Lloyd Smucker, who is currently a state senator running for the 16th Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts of East Marlborough, also tried to put Trump’s decline in the state polls into perspective.
“With respect to the top of the ticket, I’ve had a few experiences with that,” he said. “These things go up and down. This is going to be a see-saw clear to Nov. 8. I think Mike Pence won (his recent debate with Tim Kaine) clearly and I think that is going to help.
“Pennsylvania is a lot like Wisconsin,” Ryan said of his home state. “We are a battleground, closely divided state, and I think you are going to see a closely fought race on the top of the ticket all the way to Election Day.”
In his remarks, Costello continued to stress a pragmatic approach to his work in Congress rather than an ideologically driven agenda.
“We are at a very challenging time in our country,” he said, after listening to introductory remarks from J-Tech President Scott Johnson. “The reason I am here today is to highlight that when I go down to Washington I am looking to get positive results. I am running to help and improve our communities.
“People down there are fighting back and forth, back and forth,” Costello said. “The agenda that I am running on, the agenda that the Speaker has helped craft with all the team members in the House Republican Conference is an attempt to improve this country. We are running on issues; we are not running against people. We running to make American an even greater place to live and work and raise a family.”
Costello, as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the transportation bill would provide economic benefits for companies such as J-Tech, which sells attenuator trucks that provide safety at highway roadwork sites, as well as quality of life benefits for the country. About $700 million of the legislative package is designated for safety improvements.
“From a transportation perspective, that bill we passed is going to make our communities, our transportation networks right here in Chester County, across the commonwealth, and across this country, safer,” he told those assembled at the event. “The Highway Safety Improvement Program stands for this: Let’s do what works. Let’s listen to feedback and put funding where it makes a critical difference in the lives of ordinary Americans.
“The more transportation projects we have, the more work J-Tech gets because you are keeping those who are working on the roadways safer,” he said.
Costello’s opponent, Democrat Mike Parrish of Willistown, issued a statement prior to the event with Ryan criticizing the size of the transportation package, saying that more funding was needed to address infrastructure issues across the country.
“While I am happy to see transportation money flow into our community, due to the failure of career politicians, like my opponent, it is far from enough,” Parrish said. “The truth is that our infrastructure is woefully underfunded and crumbling before our eyes. The transportation bill my opponent is asking us to celebrate represents the minimum that needs to be done, not a bold investment in our future. We cannot applaud career politicians for doing the bare minimum.”
Costello’s seat — the 6th Congressional District — covers parts of Chester, Montgomery, Berks and Lebanon counties.
The 16th Congressional District — the seat Smucker is seeking — encompasses parts of Chester, Berks and Lancaster counties. Two other candidates are on the ballot for the 16th District seat: Democrat Christina Hartman of the city of Lancaster, and Libertarian Shawn Patrick House of Columbia, Lancaster County.
UPS driver Brendan Benner takes a selfie with House Speaker Paul Ryan. Ryan was visiting J-Tech Inc. in Upper Uwchlan with U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6, to discuss transportation funding. Benner makes regular deliveries to the company.
Scott Johnson, center right, talks with Ryan and Costello about his Upper Uwchlan business, J-Tech Inc. To the left is his son and employee Conner Johnson.
Costello, right, speaks with Ryan during a stop at J-Tech Inc. in Upper Uwchlan on Thursday.
Costello speaks at J-Tech Inc. on Thursday. With him are House Speaker Paul Ryan and business owner Scott Johnson.
House Speaker Paul Ryan holds a pamphlet touting “A Better Way” for creating American jobs during a stop at J-Tech Inc. in Upper Uwchlan on Thursday. With him is U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6, and business owner Scott Johnson.