January 9th, 2009
11:28 AM ET
7 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. My Friends, let me tell you

    Hes the best thing since corn bread and Ronnie Reagan,all bow down for the new Republican Messiah.

    January 9, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Debra

    Although I am 54 myself, I think this is much too old to just be getting started into politics. People in their 70's should be retiring from politics. Most people are forced to retire by that time aren't they? Nothing about their perspective being different, but I just think that there comes a time when room should be made for a younger group to get their start and have their chance to have their voices heard.

    January 9, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. Dave, Illinois

    Geoff, are you and Proud American twins? I think your both missing the same region of the brain.

    January 9, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. BW

    Kim January 9th, 2009 12:03 pm ET

    Another shining example of how the GOP is determinied to put complete incomitent people in their party. They seem to think that PTA and school board membership is good enough for Washington. When will they learn? Its a joke, and I am glad hes on the other side

    Amazing comment...and excellent spelling! Didn't know there was a university for a major in stupidity here in the U.S.A.?

    January 9, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  5. Nancy

    For all of you commenting on the corrupt policies and candidates of the Republican party....take a good look at who has been in the headlines lately: Spitzer, Blagojevich, William Jefferson, Bill Richardson, etc....truth comes in individuals, not entire parties.

    January 9, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Barb

    I thought I knew it all in my 20's........Thank God I grew up and realized I didn't!!

    January 9, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. Larry

    This is Perfect-All the Republicans need to bring everybody back to getting the country back on track is, youth,good looks,and the ability to give a good speech,and what this guy has,experience.

    January 9, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. Charles L. Shaw, Liverpool, NY

    So nice to see that he is learning the inside ropes by starting his own PAC.
    PACs are the root of all government corruption allows politicians to raise more campaign money for re-election from outside their own districts, and from everybody but the people. This is why the government no longer represents the people, but rather special interest groups, corporate contributors, and lobbyists.
    Good luck young man but I see no change from embracing the status quo.

    January 9, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. shucks

    He reminds me of a young Rick Santorum. Don't think he is wonderful just because he is young. Here in Pennsylvania, we realized that youth can also be a disguise for old time conservative right wing ideas. Hence, no more Senator Santorum. We should all know his political views before we gush.

    January 9, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. sandee in Portland

    And....this is exactly what's wrong with our country. There should be term limits on both congress and the senate. There should not be politicians in office for 20+ years which puts them out of touch with the american people and allows them to continue to put their own self-serving interests above the american people's interests. There should constantly be new, younger politicians with new, younger ideas. After all, it's their future that's at stake, not these old geezers.

    January 9, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. Chris

    Works for me... EVERY congressman should have a term limit, they're all out of touch and full of greed now.

    Additionally, it's nice to see someone thinking beyond 5-10 years for their own retirement.

    January 9, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Independent In NY

    Good to have some younger folks in there regardless of which party they belong to.

    January 9, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. ill will

    GENERATION Y HUH? well i've been doing a lil research and i know we"re called spoiled brat generation with know discipline what so ever because we're groomed to think were special but were also the most diverse, egalitarian and tech savvy generation then any other generation before us, its amazing how we hurdle right over GENERATION X...lol my asl is 24/m/84 (BLACK MALE)

    January 9, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. Taa Taa

    They are looking for an OBAMA in the Republic party.... hehehe... but there is only one Barack Obama... Don't care what lil cutie pie y'all put up there.. And by the way, our party did not go looing for President-Elect Obama, God sent him to the dems.... Y'all trying so hard to find a leader.. hilarious, laughable, hehehe..

    January 9, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. Jan

    All of the Dems who secretly love Gov Palin are on these sites everyday trying to defame her. Why do you not just talk about you hallowed messiah, or are you simply hate-mongers who move on to the next Conservative?

    January 9, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. Steve

    Apparently Kim overlooked the fact that he has served TWO TERMS in the state legislature! Go make you ill-informed comments somewhere else please. You're one of thos people who only makes up her mind after getting half the story. I'm sure you bashed Palin after only hearing half the information about her (the debunked half, that is!)

    January 9, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. Give me a break!

    Joey – I am a teacher and a Democrat. Let's think back on the election, shall we? Which party spewed hatred, bigotry, and anger? That would have been the Republicans. Now, go do your homework and be a good boy.

    January 9, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. Michelle B.

    That is awesome! I wish him all the best and it's about time some young minds are on the Hill. He's hot, for a republican.

    January 9, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. DB

    Props to the guy, but we still need some young people in there that have lived OUTSIDE of politics that understand every day people and have the real motivation to make change.

    January 9, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  20. FreeNLovIt

    I was so disappointed. He mentioned that the donkeys had Congress for two years, and our national debt, is due to the cause of them, holding the leadership (something like that on Chris Matthews show). And Chris Matthews SHOT back telling him that it was the ELEPHANTS in Congress that gave W a blank chek. This guy is CLUELESS about how we inherited 5 trillion dollars of national debt. (Hello, his own party caused it..)

    January 9, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. Gary Jaussaud

    I think we will start seeing more "Gen Y" people getting interested in
    government and serving in some way. Around 575 people run the
    Federal Government which sets our laws, looks after money matters
    health issues, and education for over 300 Million people, its good we
    have young minds that can think out say 50 years or more.

    "The Old Guys" on Capitol Hill have had the ball a long time, and look
    where we are today, its time to get some new players and give them
    the ball and let them run with it, they sure could not do any worse.

    January 9, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  22. janet, ohio

    katiec - based on your description, he sounds absolutely perfect!!

    January 9, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. Rob in Vegas

    Congratulations. I can't stand the bitterness on this site between the parties. As an independant who voted blue this time, congratulations to Congressman Schock. I can only hope this is the start of dire needed change in the republican party. Please, please, please help bring this back to a party of rhyme and reason, a party that was of the people and for the people; unlike the party we've had since 1992.

    Again, many sincere congratulations in what i'm sure was an interesting campaign.

    January 9, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. janet, ohio

    Kim - you seem a bit 'incomitent' yourself. Perhaps you should keep a dictionary handy while you are trolling.

    Also, the contraction for 'it is' : it's (WITH an apostrophe)

    And the contraction for 'he is' , oddly enough, also contains an apostrophe.

    In other words, stop trolling and go study a fourth grade English textbook.

    January 9, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. Amber

    Good luck, kid (who is the same age as me).

    The more boomers we replace, the better chance we have of saving the world.

    This guy may be republican, but I'd put my faith in the current generation any day over the greedy idiots who are continuing to foot us with the bill for their excesses!

    January 9, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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