(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.
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Maybe he can bring some much needed change to the Republican Party.
great just when I thought the republicans are gone here comes a young person that belives that tired old worn out narrow mineded, sexist , racist homohobic policies that republicans believe
shaking my head god help us all I wish republicans would just go AWAY
Katie, so the problem you have with him is that he's a Republican? Talk about being narrow minded...
He is a fresh, young and new face. Full of vim and vigor.
But just like the rest of them, he will become jaded and will be corrupted as he gets older. Same old, same old.
Bush-bashing in 3... 2... 1...
Seriously, what's so bad about the republican thought process.
Keep taxes low and take care of yourself, offering enough social problems to help those in need.
I expect the Palin haters will be out in droves with their venom claiming he is too inexperienced. And all the while supporting Caroline for Senate.
I'll bet Aaron Schock was one of those students that ruined the curve for everyone. If it weren't for him, the average age for this Congress would be even higher!
Seriously, though, best of luck to every member of this Congress, which will spend much of its time cleaning up after the last seven Congresses.
Maybe he can bring Republicans into the 20th century, much less the 21st century. If it wasn't for the outdated regional political-religious beliefs held by the Republicans, they'd be doing a lot better.
Very funny, how long would Turn Texas Blue wait until labeling me a racist if I said the Failing Democratic Party was Young, Black, and stupid? I guess it takes all types of hypocritics deep in the heart of Texas.
Look into this guy's past: at the shady land deals he was landing at age 19 and 20. I love seeing my generation represented (I'm a year older than Aaron Shock), but not by a crook.
I wonder, does he support the war... even though he's young enough to serve in it..?
Wonderful news for us republicans–new and refreshing. Good luck!
Good luck and I hope you CAN make a difference. Washington has a way of killing new ideas and the "good old boys" continue to run things. The coronation is coming and he will have his hands full of trying to figure out where the Democrats are going to get all of the money they want to spend. My dad always told me "hold up two hand, palms up, put want in one and _ _ _ _ and see which one fills up quicker". That does not apply to congress.
Again, Good Luck and I will pray for your deeds.
Seeing as how McCain gathered almost 46% of the Popular Vote, its easily clear that Republican Ideals are not 'Worn Out + Narrow Minded' as all of you Liberals like to say. Sorry, we are here to stay and arent' going anywhere. Politics is like everything else, it goes in cycles. You screw it up enough over the next 4 years and you will be our on your behinds wondering what happened.
He is 27 and already accomplished all that? I am not doing enough with my life.
Good luck to him. I agree with others though, I hope he brings in fresh thoughts and doesn't just stay the party line. Otherwise, it won't matter if he's 27 or 77! And I hope he's got the guts to stand up and fight on things that, as he mentioned, the youth of the nation will have to pay for in the future just so the cronies get their way now.
Excellent! I'm not a Republican (and no longer a Democrat for that matter, though I did vote for Obama and Durbin!), but I'm glad to see that my generation is finally starting to have some say in this country. Too bad half my generation is still in high school.
vincent @10:50 "I don't seem to see any poor taste shots at this kid from Illinois linking to dirty Blagojevich politics…… (crickets chirping)"
That's because the issue is dirty Chicago politics (which Blago, Obama, Emanuel, etc. have roots in), not Illinois politics as a whole. Apparently crickets are smart enough to understand the difference.
Whether you agree with his politics or not, it is always good to have new blood in the Legislature. As the first sentence of the story stated, the average age in the House of Representatives is 57. And most of those serving have been in there for so long they don't have any understanding of what the average American is thinking or feeling. His youth and idealism may be exactly what this country needs.
I wish this young man best of luck. Heaven knows he is going to need it!
Refreshing news. Let's hope he will bring fresh ideas to those stuck in the 40s. Good luck!
Happy for you. Be succesful and you will have a good long life.Fight for the People.
Too bad for him he's not a liberal. They probably would try to nominate him for president in 2012. LOL
Congrats to him! How will we ever get the next generation of ideas if we don't elect these young politicians? We'll be stuck with these old farts forever! Most of them haven't had a new idea in the last 20 yrs! Good luck, young man!
I find it interesting that no one has tied him to the rest of Illinois politics either. But he is a young republican, so all the conservatives trying to lump Obama in with the rest of the Blagojevich types aren't going to try and throw one of their own under the bus, now, are they?
I am a Democrat, but I am very happy to see people under 30 taking an active interest in politics, regardless of their party affiliation. I hope he inspires many more of the under 30 crowd, in all the parties, to start standing up and running for office.
I wish him well.