Congressman Ryan A. Costello was re-elected to a second term in the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2016 to serve the people of Pennsylvania’s Sixth Congressional District. As a sophomore member of the House, Ryan serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. Ryan’s committee assignment for the 115th Congress reflects the strengths and interests of the Sixth District’s residents, and Ryan’s interest in innovation, clean energy, job growth, and providing forward-looking solutions for the people he represents.
Ryan is a life-long resident of Chester County, where he lives with his wife, Christine, their son, Ryan Jr, and their daughter, Caroline. A graduate of Owen J. Roberts High School in Pottstown, Ryan earned his undergraduate degree from Ursinus College in Collegeville and his J.D. from the Villanova University School of Law.
Since arriving to Congress in January 2015, Ryan has made an immediate impact in several areas, including returning control over education policy to parents and teachers, rolling back job-killing taxes on Pennsylvania’s life sciences innovators, and fighting for Pennsylvania workers and families to maintain quality health coverage. In addition, in his first year in office, Ryan re-established the House Land Conservation Caucus to promote the preservation and protection of our country’s scenic open spaces and supported efforts to extend and make permanent the conservation easement tax incentive.
During his first term, Ryan served on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where he was a tireless advocate for our nation’s veterans and their families. Although he no longer serves on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Ryan remains committed to helping veterans access the medical care, education benefits, and other services they’ve earned. In fact, Ryan introduced H.R. 27, the Ensuring VA Employee Accountability Act, which was the first bill to pass the House in the 115th Congress. Last Congress, Ryan introduced H.R. 3936, the VET Act, to create a more veteran-friendly process for filing claims and receiving assistance. The VET Act passed the House unanimously on June 21, 2016.
The son of two Pennsylvania public school teachers, Ryan also places a high value on giving local educators the support and flexibility needed to prepare all students for a lifetime of success. From the day he took office, he has worked to reduce the power of Washington bureaucrats in our classrooms and roll back one-size-fits-all standardized-testing mandates. He was instrumental in the enactment of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which overhauled the flawed No Child Left Behind Act, eliminated duplicative and costly standardized testing requirements, and restored decision-making over curriculum and instruction to parents, teachers, and administrators.
As a member of the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus and the Republican Co-Chair of the 21st Century Skills Caucus, Ryan is committed to working across the aisle to find commonsense solutions to ensure our students have the financial aid and in-demand skills needed to achieve successful careers in the modern job market. That’s why he introduced H.R. 5663, the Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity (4 C’s) for Careers Act, legislation that would align education programs with state and local workforce development efforts so students are learning the skills employers need. This legislation also encourages curriculum planning to emphasize the development of employability skills and attaining credentials. Through these initiatives, students in Southeastern Pennsylvania would be more prepared for today’s competitive workforce.
Another priority during Ryan’s first term was building a safe and reliable transportation network that would create jobs and protect economic opportunity. Ryan helped enact a fully-paid, 5-year transportation funding package that will bring more than $770 million back to Pennsylvania for bridges, roads, and passenger and freight rail improvements. This effort, also known as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, streamlined the project-approval process and included a provision Ryan authored to allow short-line railroads to compete for federal grants to improve safety at road crossings.
Renowned national political commentator Stuart Rothenberg described Ryan as “a pragmatic conservative” while Reading Eagle columnist Ron Southwick noted Ryan’s enthusiasm for the job, predicting that he would be engaged and not simply “an anonymous lawmaker who merely keeps a seat warm.”
Prior to winning election to Congress in 2014, Ryan served the residents of Chester County on the Board of Commissioners. He was selected chairman of the Board of Commissioners in 2013. While still in law school, Ryan won a seat on the East Vincent Township Board of Supervisors, serving as Chairman for four years.