Daily Local News
By Bill Rettew
Published: September 23, 2017
WEST CHESTER >> About three dozen demonstrators chanted and held signs high, Friday, outside U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello’s, R-6, office at the Historic Chester County Courthouse.
Sings reading, “Save Medicaid,” “Preexisting conditions uh oh,” and “Trump care will make America sick” were displayed to hundreds of lunchtime motorists along Market Street.
Demonstrators have met weekly outside Costello’s office since the presidential inauguration.
Organizer Beth Sweet hopes Costello will listen to his constituents.
“We are here to tell Congressman Costello that we don’t support the cuts proposed by the Republicans – cuts that will put the health and safety of residents at risk in order to fund tax cuts for the wealthy,” Sweet said.
Like Sweet, many of the protesters are at odds with continued attempts by Republicans in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Earlier this year, Costello voted against a bill that would repeal and replace the ACA. This bill, known as the American Health Care Act, narrowly passed in the House of Representatives. Senate Republicans have so far been unable to get the votes to pass their own version of an ACA repeal-and-replace bill. GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana recently unveiled a new health care bill which could be voted on later this week.
Margaret Reif is the Democratic candidate for Chester County Controller.
“This is not OK,” Reif said. “Why anyone can stand up and say they are going to vote for it I don’t understand,” she said about Republicans’ plans to cut the ACA.
Tempers flared when midway through a presentation by four speakers, police asked the protestors to silence their sound system.
Costello said later that he filed a complaint with police. He said that excessive noise was disturbing work at his office and likely at the nearby district court.
Costello has said often that he supports the right of demonstrators to gather outside his office.
“It’s a public street,” he said. “If they want to have their voices heard and they want to do it at my office that’s fine.”
Costello said he has spoken with the core group of regular demonstrators more often than any other group of constituents.
“There are 705,000 people in the district,” he said. “I do my best to hear voices from all sides.
“Everybody has their own opinions and that’s what it’s all about. That demonstrates that I’m as accessible as anyone could wish for a congressman.”
Demonstrator Correen Schall said she wants the American people to receive the same “safety net” that corporations that are bailed out receive.
Fiona Allison, board member of the West Chester Food Cupboard, talked about the struggle for many to pay the bills.
“They are very dependent on government programs to survive,” she said. “Food is a basic need and no one should go hungry.”
Rafael Collazo, of Unidos U.S. Action Fund, talked about recent natural disasters and turmoil with foreign affairs.
“We’re tired, but we will not let our guard down,’ he said.
“Ryan come out, we have some things to talk about,” chanted the demonstrators.
Costello met briefly with protesters.