Costello and Par­rish dis­cuss is­sues for 6th District

Repub­li­can Con­gress­man Ryan Costello is up for re-elec­tion against Demo­crat Mike Par­rish

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael P. Rel­la­han mrel­la­han@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Ch­escoCourtNews on Twit­ter

Two Ch­ester County men are run­ning for elec­tion to the 6th Con­gres­sional District seat that cov­ers a large por­tion of the north­ern and east­ern part of the county but also parts of Mont­gomery, Berks and Le­banon coun­ties.

In­cum­bent U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, a Repub­li­can, is seek­ing re-elec­tion to what would be his sec­ond term, while Demo­cratic chal­lenger Mike Par­rish is hop­ing to re­place him in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Costello, 40, of West Goshen is a grad­u­ate of Ursi­nus Col­lege and Villanova Univer­sity School of Law, and worked as a land use at­tor­ney. He has served as town­ship su­per­vi­sor in East Vin­cent, where he was born, and later as Ch­ester County Recorder of Deeds and county com­mis­sioner be­fore be­ing elected to Congress in 2014.

Par­rish, 53, of Wil­lis­town is a grad­u­ate of West Point Acad­emy and at Stan­ford Univer­sity and the Whar­ton School of Eco­nom­ics, where he earned mas­ter’s de­grees in en­gi­neer­ing and eco­nom­ics. A small busi­ness­man, he served in the Army and is a colonel in the Army Re­serves. This is his first run for elec­tive of­fice.

Both men were in­ter­viewed sep­a­rately, and asked ques­tions on is­sues in­volv­ing im­mi­gra­tion, the U.S. econ­omy, the po­si­tions taken by lead­ers of their re­spec­tive par­ties, and con­cerns spe­cific to the 6th District.

On im­mi­gra­tion, Costello opened by point­ing to the break­downs that have al­lowed mil­lions of un­doc­u­mented work­ers from en­ter­ing the coun­try.

“It is a bro­ken sys­tem,” he said. “Border en­force­ment has failed. But the phys­i­cal erec­tion of a wall will not in and of it­self pre­vent the mi­gra­tion of those across the south­ern border. Un­til the border prob­lem is ad­dressed, the sit­u­a­tion is just go­ing to re­peat it­self. I think we need to de­ploy more tech­nol­ogy and more of­fi­cers.”

Be­yond that, he noted the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween those who are

here legally on visas that ex­pire and must re­turn and those who are here with­out per­mis­sion. Both add value to the econ­omy that is lost if they are forced to leave, he said.

“When we talk about im­mi­gra­tion and who should come here, their na­tion­al­ity and their re­li­gion is of no con­se­quence. We treat peo­ple equally, and we should be pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­nity to all those who come her legally and go through the process.”

On the econ­omy, he said he does not “be­lieve that many of the pres­i­dent’s poli­cies have proven suc­cess­ful in el­e­vat­ing the strength of the econ­omy. We are not grow­ing at the clip that we should be at this time.”

He pointed specif­i­cally to the is­sue of cor­po­rate in­ver­sion, which he be­lieves forces Amer­i­can com­pa­nies to keep jobs over­seas for fear of be­ing du­ally taxed. “I think that ig­nores the fun­da­men­tal prob­lem with the ter­ri­to­rial na­ture of our tax­a­tion sys­tem. You can’t de­ploy cap­i­tal here with­out pay­ing taxes twice.”

Costello ad­dressed a com­po­nent of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s “A Bet­ter Way” plan that he said would look at giv­ing state and lo­cal gov­ern­ment more flex­i­bil­ity at find­ing so­lu­tions for poverty.

“If we were to em­power states and county gov­ern­ment to do what works best in their com­mu­ni­ties with­out a lot of the strings and man­dates at­tached, I be­lieve we would do a lot bet­ter in pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to get be­yond poverty into sus­tain­able liv­ing,” he said.

While men­tion­ing ed­u­ca­tion, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, land con­ser­va­tion, and high-tech job devel­op­ment as is­sues the 6th District is con­cerned about, he pointed specif­i­cally to mass trans­porta­tion as a key com­po­nent of the district that should be strength­ened.

“We are an area that re­lies on pub­lic trans­porta­tion for our way of life and our econ­omy,” he said. “A lot of other re­gions of the coun­try don’t see that as much of an is­sue as I do.“

Par­rish, in his an­swers, spoke of his ex­pe­ri­ence as a busi­ness owner and mil­i­tary vet­eran. On im­mi­gra­tion, he spoke of his ser­vice with Viet­nam refugees who had grad­u­ated from West Point with him.

“This coun­try is made of im­mi­grants,” he said. “Ev­ery­one has the op­por­tu­nity to come to Amer­ica and ev­ery­one be­lieves in the idea of Amer­ica. The term refugee or the term im­mi­grant is not a bad word in my mind.

“I think there should be a path to cit­i­zen­ship,”he con­tin­ued. “Not what Mr. Trump is propos­ing and ship­ping them back, that’s a lit­tle ex­treme, and its cost­pro­hibitive. I think these peo­ple are hard-work­ing, but they need to be ci­ti­zens in­stead of un­doc­u­mented, so they can start pay­ing into the sys­tem.”

On the econ­omy, he pointed mostly to the need for in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment.

“We need a 21st-cen­tury in­fra­struc­ture for a 21st-cen­tury econ­omy,” he said, adding that the cur­rent Congress “pats it­self on the back for do­ing the bare min­i­mum, Band-Aid fixes to bridges and roads” are not the so­lu­tion, he said. “What I am call­ing for is a bi­par­ti­san plan for an or­ga­nized ef­fort for a mas­sive upgrade.”

That led Par­rish to speak about the 6th District and its needs for up­grades to mass trans­porta­tion. “That would be a huge op­por­tu­nity, such as the Read­ing Rail­road,” he said. “They have be­come a de­pressed city in Read­ing be­cause they lost mass tran­sit, and I am a big pro­po­nent of re­in­sti­tut­ing that.”

He agreed with Hil­lary Clin­ton’s push for re­duc­ing the debt stu­dents take on af­ter col­lege, say­ing that a so­lu­tion would be to help pay tu­ition out of an in­fra­struc­ture bank that would pay for school in re­turn for ser­vice in in­dus­try.

“It doesn’t have to be a col­lege de­gree,” he said. “It could be a trade or a skill. It is a way of get­ting an ed­u­ca­tion, fill­ing the need of fix­ing the in­fra­struc­ture, and hav­ing a skill and a job.”

His con­cerns for the 6th District sur­rounded the mil­i­tary veterans that live here and their health care needs.

“You talk to most veterans and they will tell you for the VA sys­tem the ser­vices they get is A-plus,” he said. “But wait­ing to get clas­si­fied for dis­abil­ity ser­vices is prob­lem­atic.

“If you peel back the onion, it’s a sys­temic is­sue,” he said. “Not just veterans, but So­cial Se­cu­rity and Medi­care dis­abil­i­ties. It is a chal­lenge to get the ap­proval. It should be a seam­less tran­si­tion.”

Mike Par­rish

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