January 9th, 2009
11:28 AM ET
3 years ago

TIME.com: The First Gen Y Congressman

Schock spoke at the Republican National Convention in September of last year.
Schock spoke at the Republican National Convention in September of last year.

(TIME.com) - The new Congress that convened this week is the oldest in history, with the average Representative's age rising to a record 57. That's three decades older than Aaron Schock, the youngest member of Congress and the first to be born in the 1980s. The 27-year-old Illinois Republican is already a political veteran: he won a seat on Peoria's school board at 19, rose to school-board president at 23 and then won two terms in the Illinois state legislature. He spoke with TIME about his early success, reaching out to Gen Y voters and the odds of having any fun in Washington.

Most of your colleagues in Congress are old enough to be your parents. How do you see the job differently than they do?

It's a little lonely being the only one in my 20s here. But obviously, I do bring somewhat of a different perspective because I hope to be around as an American citizen for the next 50 years, Lord willing. The programs we're voting on and the policies we're implementing are things my generation will be paying for for the next 50 years. So I look at it in a different light than somebody who may be in their 60s or 70s.

Do you think of yourself as part of Generation Y? How would you describe people your age?

I hadn't until I became a candidate and I was informed that I'd be the first Gen Y Congressman, so I actually started a leadership PAC as a candidate that was titled GOP Generation Y Fund. So I've tried to play off that to my benefit and to the benefit of other young candidates who might be running in the future.

As far as this generation, I think we're a very involved and engaged demographic. I think you saw that in the last election.

Click here to read more on TIME.COM


Filed under: Aaron Schock • Congress
soundoff (166 Responses)
  1. Beth, Starkville, MS

    Wow, just when I start to feel not THAT old, I hear this.

    January 9, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  2. Matthew

    Geez, he's already more experienced than Obama. Too bad his age disqualifies him for the presidency.

    January 9, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  3. 11 More Days

    The younger generation has to contest every Congress seat of anyone who has been in Congress for more than 12 years no matter from which party. These buffoons were the ones in "charge" while this mess started including the billions wasted in a war that should never have been fought. These egomaniacs have no understanding of what Americans face or care about.

    Time for term limits for Congress.

    January 9, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  4. Laverne

    To the Republicans: Since this guy is a repub and from Illinois, does this mean he is or is not a tainted and crooked politician?

    January 9, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  5. rob

    oh no–the new GOP–put a stake through its heart before it spreads–LOL

    January 9, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  6. TURN TEXAS BLUE

    Good maybe he can bring the life to the Failing REpublican party! since most of them are OLD, WHITE, and boring!

    January 9, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Mari

    This is great! My children's generation taking a step into leading our Nation.

    A word of advice to this young congressman:

    Learn from the Republican's mistakes! Do not run your campaign based on .........Lies, hate, fear and division! Appeal to everyone by inspiring them, challenging us to be better. Learn from Obama he is a brilliant politician and although you may not agree with his agenda, Obama's campaign was the best one in over a century. To learn and grow and change is a sign of ....... wisdom! Do not close your mind.... do not think your way is the only way.

    January 9, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  8. vincent - phoenix

    Good luck, young man.

    I am diametrically opposed to the republican thought process, but I wish you good luck in your blossoming careeer.

    funny.... this post has been up here almost 2 hours... I don't seem to see any poor taste shots at this kid from Illinois linking to dirty Blagojevich politics...... (crickets chirping)...

    Anyway, kid... good luck.

    January 9, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. katiec

    The problem with Aaron Shock is that he supports many of the old, worn out, narrow minded beliefs of the republican party. Am truly afraid he will support party, regardless, because of his beliefs and ambition.
    Fresh blood is good in politics but do not know if he will put country first. He campaigned here in IL strictly on republican theories and
    won because there was really no competition.
    Will hold out hope he will do what is right for our country but am skeptical.

    January 9, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. AnaB

    Gees, that makes me feel old. Very impressive though!

    January 9, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. John

    What???? A Generation Y republican?!!!! The liberal media would have us think they didn't exist!

    January 9, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  12. Rob from Petersburg, IL

    I live in Aaron Schock's district and he's a celebrity out here. You would think that the republican would have been defeated in IL with Obama running, but the district is full of small towns.

    Small towns = conservative thinking and "values". More close minded folks compared to the people of Chicago or STL.

    January 9, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  13. S Callahan

    I think in the next few years you'll have some peers your age.....the political movement is now being pulled along by the younger generation and they have issues they want to address.
    Congratulations to your posiition.

    January 9, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. CapitolHiller

    As a GenYer who's merely a staffer; it's both inspiring at what can be done at such a young age, while at the other hand it puts one's life into perspective. What am I doing??

    That said, though I wish him the best of luck...one has to wonder at the alarming possibilities of a man his age surrounded by female staffers of the same age. One questionable comment or bad date away from a media firestorm

    January 9, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. Nick R

    He kind of looks like Neil Patrick Harris.

    January 9, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. Hypocracy has no bounds

    @ Turn Texas Blue.

    This is the oldest senate in the history of the Senate. Average age is 63. The Senate is mostly Democrats. Sounds like a old group of Democrats.

    January 9, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. Phoenix

    I am proud of the young man. Hopefully, the Republicans will not destroy his spirit.

    January 9, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  18. Randall from FL

    Good for him. I'm glad people who are younger are getting involved, and especially if it is for the right reasons like this guy. He knows that people now in their 20's are going to be paying in their 60's for all the ridiculous policies pushed by Pelosi and Obama. It is in his best interest to fight against these bloated bailouts, bureacracies, and stimulus packages. Of course it will be an uphill battle, because all of the other politicians are old and know they have to get the cash quick in the short term so they can get reelected in 2 years.

    January 9, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  19. Franky

    Hmmmm, maybe I should talk to him and see if he can hook me up.

    You see Time, we are that good! You should know, you had my boy "Red Grange" on your cover back in the day...

    January 9, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. AJ

    Does this republican putz have any educational background or did the republicans just elect a shell that they could easily mold into another hate filled Bible banging bigot?

    January 9, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. still searching for true equality in america

    he is cute!

    January 9, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. CA Indie for Obama

    Impressive young man, indeed!

    so, where are all those other repub posters, bashing the corrupt political environment of Illinois?

    nothing is as bad as it seems, nor as good.

    good luck to Mr. Schock and congratulations. Hope he is a good man.

    January 9, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Monica

    Yeah, engaged and involved for Democratic candidates!

    January 9, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. obama-mama

    Good for him...I like hard working young people. Hope he is successful and not succumb to corruption

    January 9, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  25. Peggy the Unemployed

    Best of luck to this young man. If he decides to stay in public life , maybe he'll run for president in about 15 years.

    January 9, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
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