(CNN) – It’s not often that a freshman member of Congress gets a ride on Air Force One and a personal shout-out from the President himself in front of the hometown crowd. Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock got both last week but still voted against President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill.
After joining Obama on the presidential plane to Peoria, which is part of Schock’s congressional district, the President made a specific appeal to Schock during an event at a Caterpillar plant.
“Aaron’s still trying to make up his mind about our recovery package,” the President said last Thursday. “He’s a very talented young man. I’ve got great confidence in him to do the right thing for the people of Peoria,” Obama added.
But the presidential spotlight was not enough to win over Schock.
“Ultimately, I listened to my constituents and I looked at what I knew about the bill and determined it was not in the best interests of my constituents,” the freshman Republican said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “It was not really a stimulus bill with the majority of the money going towards stimulating the economy.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Who says bipartisanship is dead?
Readers of the liberal Web site the Huffington Post have crossed ideological lines and voted Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock the “Hottest Freshman” in the 111th Congress.
At age 27, Schock also has the distinction of being the youngest member of Congress.
Although nearly 10,000 votes were cast in the site’s poll, Schock suggested that he might have gotten some help from some participants who weren’t exactly unbiased. “It’s flattering,” the congressman said in a statement Wednesday. “Apparently my friends and family have a lot of time on their hands.”
Schock hails from Peoria, Illinois and represents the state’s 18th District in the House of Representatives.
Related: TIME.com: The First Gen Y Congressman
(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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