(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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I am a dem but I really am very happy for him! It is so great to see other young people involved in the political process- best of luck!
Good for you Dude! Now keep your sanity and don't let your "Pride" take over "Logic". We need good congress people. You're a good looking guy too, so stay away from interns and scandals!
What I find hypercritcal is that many Republicans blame Barack Obama for manipulating the Gen Y vote, as if people in their 20's don't have minds of their own, but when a young Republican is spewing the same old Republican ideology it's a good thing, go figure! He's just another Republican pawn. I predict his face will plastered on every Republican website and pamplet.
Sorry Sarah Palin your time is up, Republicans have a new "tool" to use!
Nonetheless, his acheivement at such a young age is noteworthy.
DX in TX
Wow, he's 2 years younger than me and my brother's age. Good luck to him!!
That's quite impressive & very inspirational to someone like myself, in my 20s looking to do some similar things. Congrats!
I hope this young congressman can divorce himself from the Republican party of stagnation and bring it into the 21st century with fresh ideas, more inclusion and a better attitude! We democrats would really like to work with republicans to improve America, but there has to be give and take on both sides and a willingness to compromise.
Good luck, Congressman Schock!!
Nice comment, Vince. I agree with your post, sentiments and well wishes. Let's hope that the politicians of his generation can moderate the Republican party a bit.
The reason that you don't see any nasty comments about ties to Blagojevich is because he is a Republican. The conspiracy theorists that link every Democrat in Illinois to the corruption of a few are mostly right wing Republicans. Their thinking: if you're an Illinois politician, you must be corrupt . . . unless you're a Republican, of course.
I wonder where he stands on the issues? Will his youth make him more committed to the original Republican values of less government, a humble foreign policy, respect for the Constitution/liberty, and cutting spending? Or will he be like the majority of all our politicians and say one thing, do another, and continue to promote largess bureaucracy, big government, and tyranny?
Good for him. I hope he can stand up to the liberal idiots who have too much control over our lives
A life long politician...great, just what we need?
Oh, Oh. I just got a psychic flash – it will be Palin/this guy in 2016! All the older male Republicans will be gushing over Palin (‘cuz she will be 52 then), and all of the younger women will chatty over this guy.
Anybody want to take bets that this guy is a rabid member of the Christofacist Zombie Brigade?
Funny how neither of you "texans" know how to type or punctuate properly. This new congressman's success makes me proud to be 27. :)
He's from my district and, unfortunately, a complete zero. His nickname is Shrub — a miniature Bush.
I am a convervative who voted Obama.
Age has little bearing on ideology. 70 year old McCain had more progressive thought than 40 year old Palin.
It is not about Shock's age, it is what he believes in. Does he think like McCain or does he think like Sarah Palin?
I will still place my Republican hope with Bobby Jindal than Sarah Palin.
The old people he refers to were the "Young Republicans" who professed in the 80's to change politics until they saw how much money/favors they could rake in with their influence.
Good luck guy. I hope you make a difference in a positive way. Don't be afraid to stand up to the older reps.
Congrats! I hope that more Gen X and Y-ers start running for office. This is a change that we desperately need.
Dear proud texan,
Thank you for supporting your stereotype.
Dear proud texan,
Please go to school and learn proper grammar and how to spell. You might also want to learn a little tolerance yourself. I'm not a Republican (nor a Democrat) yet I have 3 engineering degrees, served in the military and have been working since I was 15. I consider myself a 'progressively liberal conservative' and find the Republican party to be elitist (the rich only need apply), racist (unless we need a token non-white person, don't apply unless you're white but if we need you, you better be rich), divisive (if you're not a Republican, you're anti-American), hypocritical (the party of 'values' has more scandals than any other party . . . many of them sexual) and out of touch with the world that 95% of us live in.
"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." Awesome. That alone makes his election meaningful for the entire country. Signed, a middle-aged loyal Democrat
Congratulations and good luck.
Wow! Proud Texan really makes the republican party look dumb. Nice grammar buddy. As a republican, I urge you to stop commenting.
Does anyone who comments on this site understand punctuation, spelling, or grammar? Just because you're typing on a website doesn't mean the rules of the English language no longer apply. It's not colloquial, it makes you sound dumb and cheapens your point of view.