In a 2002 article in the National Journal, reporter Mark Murray quoted an unnamed Republican aide speaking of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee under Bud Shuster, its chairman from 1995 to 2000.
"They were ruthless," the aide said. "There is no doubt that they were the most ruthless committee I have ever seen."
On Wednesday, Shuster's son Bill, who succeeded Bud as the area's 9th District congressman and as a member of the transportation committee, will also seek to succeed his father as Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman.
But if elected, the younger Shuster will rule with a more collegial style.
The extremes are "hammer" and "hugs," said the younger Shuster after a speech Wednesday at the Blair County Chamber Breakfast Club.
"I'm not a big hugger," he said. "I'm probably in the middle."
The post he's seeking "carries considerable influence on regional and national policy," said Steve Martinko, Shuster's chief of staff.
The chairman sets the legislative agenda, Martinko and Shuster said.
"Nothing moves through the committee" unless the chairman OKs it, Shuster said.
Shuster said he needs to make his case and weather votes before the House Republican Steering Committee and then the House Republican Conference.
"I'm cautiously optimistic," he said.
He's the odds-on favorite, according to a Republican leadership aide who didn't want his name used.
He earned goodwill that helped make him the favorite last year, when, in a frustrating environment, he "threw himself" into explaining both the intricacies and broader context of transportation funding to new members and others unfamiliar with the details and history, according to the aide.
"It takes a long time to get some of this stuff," he said. "It's very complicated."
Adding to the challenge was the skepticism of newer members who questioned, for example, why highway trust fund money paid for some things, the aide said.
It helps that Shuster is "very good at the relationship side," not only with House members but representatives of interest groups, the aide said.
He's "approachable" and operates through persuasion and personality, often appearing on the House floor with other members, the aide said.
"He's obviously a very likeable guy," the aide said.
His dad by contrast - though a "masterful legislative technician" - was feared, the aide said.
His style needs to be different to accommodate the different nature of lawmaking, Shuster said.
It's more critical now to make sure leadership is informed and to build coalitions, both inside and outside the House, Shuster said.
If he proposes something for railroads, and the railroads don't like it, they'll undermine that provision with House leadership, and it won't happen, he said.
His father's reputation may have helped Bill Shuster get started in the House, the aide said.
"But he certainly hasn't been living off that," he said.
He couldn't be doing it if he wanted to, anyway, the aide said.
Still, his father has always provided guidance, Shuster said.
"He was the master," Bill said.
If the younger Shuster gets the post, he wants to use it to help rebuild the nation's infrastructure, not only roads and bridges, but also railroads, locks, dams, harbors and aviation.
Among the critical needs: dredging to make shipping goods from the heartland to coastal ports, then overseas, so our products are competitive overseas, he said.
The money to pay for the work will come from user fees like the gas tax, he said.
The work is especially critical to support a population that is projected to reach 400 million in 32 years, he said.