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. Stacy from Leesburg VA

    Since the GOP now stands for "Grandpa on Pampers", it is refreshing to see people from my generation step up to leadership roles regardless of party. I bet you he knows how to unclog the internet tubes!

    January 9, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  2. Rob

    Hey libs, he's probably some type of clone, secretly grown from the DNA of Bush, Cheney, Rove, and Rummsfeld, right? Give a few more years to mature and he'll be wanting to kill civilians and oppress minoirties. At least he gives the kooks something to drum up lies about 10 years down the road.

    Careful, the black helicopters are watching you...

    January 9, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. Terry

    Generation Y can't do any worse than my generation of baby boomers did in running the country and the world. We boomers chose our leaders and our goals very poorly. Every problem that we are now struggling with: global warming, economic recession/depression, third world instability, international terrorism, overpopulation, etc. were all predicted and preventable. We did nothing to prevent them or reduce their impact on our world.

    Now, our last baby boomer president is about to retire and the new generation can start working on the mess we are leaving them.

    Good luck, kids. It's going to be a bumpy ride for you.

    January 9, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. Gen-Y is LIBERAL

    "Gen-Y" simply isn't a Republican lifestyle or mindset. Maybe this guy was born at the time which would include him in that group, but as a Rethug, he is out of step and out of touch with his peers.

    Is this the "kinder, gentler, machine gun hand" of the GOP?

    YUCK.

    January 9, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  5. Matt

    I HATE the GOP right now, but more power to him. Hopefully he's a reasonable, rational person who will help bring the GOP into the 21st century and behave themselves, so we can stop listening to them thump their bibles and tell everyone else how to live their lives...and maybe, instead of the silly political games they like to play, we can have dialogue on points of disagreement instead of fabricated political scandals to one-up and punish political enemies.

    January 9, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. Susan

    very impressive.

    in a wrong party though. but seeing the crap dems ae involved in now, I guess all parties are more or less crap.

    Shame on Dems. Repubs are already ashamed.

    January 9, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. Jeff

    Good,I find it funny that people are always looking for experienced people,yet sometimes in the case of Obama that lack of.but some people want new members of congress,I wish Aaron the best of luck of course we don't know what kind of republican he is or where he stands but to be that young and get elected,prehaps we could be seeing a new star in the GOP.I wonder which democrat he beat to win his seat.GOOGLE SEARCH!

    January 9, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. JorgeM

    TURN TEXAS BLUE, don't count on it. Schock is a George W. Bush-style Republican. He was born on third and thinks he hit a triple.

    People in his district that surrounds Peoria, IL marvel at his success but forget that he came from wealth. Many of us could do so well if we had money at our disposal.

    January 9, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. Mike, Atlanta

    He has nice hair.

    January 9, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  10. James in Nebraska

    A fresh breath is what the Repubs need. It looks like this guy could start that and help take it back from the extremists. Also, someone not stuck in yesterday and looking at tomorrow.

    January 9, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. proud texan

    dear turn texas blue please go to school and quit being racist. im sorry that you think boring is a quality that takes you away from a party, maybe we should just elect brad pitt right way less boring haha. And old and white how sad that the liberals in general seem to be the most prejudgist people in america and im sad for you as whole im glad that you will undoubtedly live a shorter life then the rest of us due to your stupidity. and as for turning texas blue well luckily we texans are still a population of moral and upright hardworking people and wont follow your empty leadership and rediculous lies.

    January 9, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Gen Patton

    Congratulations young man. Please educate some of the older Republicans on what a true conservative is.

    January 9, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. TCM

    Texas Blue – old, white and boring? I guess you're all excited about the black dude? huh? You probably read the national enquirer for the latest updates on Obama too...

    NEWSFLASH – when, in the future, it will be beneficial for Obama to be white...he'll change...just like a chameleon.
    Hopefully, this young guy isn't a liberal in sheep's clothing. so many young people today can't see past the end of their nose. Liberalism is destroying the core of this country with it's socialistic and immoral agenda; we need some strong conservatives that will return this country to the proud nation it was, lead by strong leaders....

    January 9, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. Sye the Pychic

    Our Messiah,Rush Limbaugh,thinks this beady-eyed kid is the second coming of Ronald Reagan,let us worship him.

    January 9, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. danny

    Great, just what America needs...a white, 20-something, rabid, neo-con

    January 9, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  16. Sebastien in BC

    While I don't care for his beliefs, it's still pretty awesome to see someone my age achieve this. Gives me hope for myself in my own country of what I can accomplish before I am thirty.

    January 9, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. Meh

    Why in the world would a young kid want to follow the antiquated notions of the Republican Party?

    January 9, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. LIBERALS SUCK!!!

    katiec and vincent – phoenix:

    All I can say is you libs makes me want to vomit – you amaze me every time you open your loopy mouths, you are unbelievable, self-serving, and ignorant.

    Enough already with your hate spewing dirt. All YOU care about is yourselves.

    January 9, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  19. Ken

    It's great to see Gen Y representation in Congress at a time when govt. spending has been running out of control for some outrageous reasons (i.e. the IRAQ War, 700 Billion and rising . . . ).

    It's unfortunate he has thrown his lot in with the megaspending GOP, alas.

    January 9, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. naomi

    I am inspired! THANK YOU!

    January 9, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  21. legal in nc

    katiec....... did you not read what the young man said.... "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."

    I believe that he'll do the right thing for our country and not himself as your now jr. senator from IL is doing.

    At least he was voted in and didn't use the political machine that the jr senator did.

    January 9, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. 18 year old voter from Jersey

    best of luck to you this young congressman

    I hope to join you in congress in time =)

    January 9, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  23. Rumsfeld

    Fine, good for him. My hope is that he is able to think for himself for the sake of the constituents who vote him in. An obvious concern is the way he appears to wrap himself in the GOP blanket as indicated by the name for his PAC. One must be careful aligning yourself with any specific person or party organization. I would hope that the younger generation is more discerning politically and has a broader plan and hope for the world than past generations have had.

    Politics is a game that some play better than others.

    katiec's comments are valuable.

    January 9, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Is he single? :)

    January 9, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  25. Jay

    Finally, a young person with brains that doesn't follow the liberal defeatist message.

    January 9, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
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