Aaron Schock (born May 28, 1981) is the United States Representative for Illinois's 18th congressional district, serving since 2009. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district is based in Peoria and includes part of Springfield. At the age of 30, Schock is currently the youngest U.S. representative and the first member of the U.S. Congress born in the 1980s. Previously, Schock served two terms in the Illinois House of Representatives, and was its youngest member.
Early life, education and career
Schock was born in Morris, Minnesota, the youngest of the four children of Richard Schock, a family practice physician and former school board member and Janice Schock (née Knapp), a homemaker. During Aaron's early years, the family lived on a rural farm site where the children were given the responsibility of tending a three acre patch of strawberries and selling the fruit to develop their work ethic. The Schocks moved to Peoria when Aaron was in fourth grade, where he attended Peoria's Kellar Primary school, Rolling Acres Middle School, and Richwoods High School. He showed an early interest in student government, and was elected to the executive board of the Illinois Association of Junior High Student Councils in 1995.
By his junior year of high school, he had completed nearly all of his graduation requirements, and had few course options available because the school district had recently discontinued most of the advanced placement and other advanced courses due to budget cuts. School district policy did not allow him to graduate early, and the board members refused his requests to change the policy.
He began attending classes at Illinois Central College in East Peoria, earning dual credits toward high school and college graduation. He graduated from Richwoods High in 2000, and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Bradley University in 2002, with a major in finance, after just two years of attendance at Bradley.
Schock began working during the fifth grade, doing database management as an independent contractor for a bookstore chain. He later bought event tickets for a licensed ticket broker, using six phone lines and thirteen credit cards, and investing his earnings in the stock market. When he was in the eighth grade, he began doing the accounting work for a gravel pit, a job he kept throughout his high school years. During college, he invested in real estate and ran a Garage Tek - garage organizing business.
He then worked as director of development for Petersen Companies, the real estate development arm of a senior citizen health care provider.
Early political career
Schock decided to run for the local school board a few months after graduating from high school because he felt the board needed a more diverse and youthful perspective. After being denied a place on the ballot because he did not have the required number of valid signatures on his petition to run for office, he organized a successful write-in campaign, using more than 200 volunteers to help him visit more than 13,000 households and leave door hangers giving instructions on how to write his name on the ballots. He defeated the incumbent 60% to 40%, garnering more than 6,400 write-in votes, and becoming, at age 19, the youngest person serving on a school board in Illinois. After two years, his fellow board members elected him vice president of the board, and one year later, they unanimously elected him school board president, making him, at 23, the youngest school board president in Illinois history.
During his four years in the state legislature, Schock served on two appropriations committees that were "typically reserved for more senior lawmakers", as well as the Financial Institutions, Environment & Energy and Veteran's Affairs committees.
He was the chief sponsor of 13 bills that became law. The bills dealt with education, child protection, prescription drug savings, veterans' assistance, road construction, and high-tech identity theft.
Though the district he represented in the state legislature included a large number of voters who were union members or who were on food stamps, Schock said, "I could vote against things like the raising minimum wage … and go back and explain to them why it didn’t make sense to raise the cost of labor...and they understood it.
U.S. House of Representatives
During his first term, Schock requested and was given three committee assignments, which is unusual for a first-term congressman. In addition, he was appointed by Minority Whip Eric Cantor to be a deputy minority whip. He served as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Contracting and Technology of the Small Business Committee. Soon after being sworn in to serve his first term, he joined the Republican Study Committee, "a home for deficit hawks", according to the Los Angeles Times.
At the beginning of his second term in 2011, Schock was appointed to the highly coveted Ways and Means Committee. On the committee he serves on the Trade, Social Security and Oversight subcommittees. Schock’s appointment to the Trade subcommittee is especially relevant to the 18th District because of the synergy of economic interests relying on international trade to export products and commodities produced in Central and Western Illinois. The subcommittee on trade has oversight over reciprocal trade agreements including multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations and implementation of agreements involving tariff and nontariff trade barriers. Current trade negotiations include the pending free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. Schock was also selected to serve on the House Administration committee. The Committee on House Administration is charged with the oversight of federal elections and the day-to-day operations of the House of Representatives.
During the first couple of months of the 112th Congress, Schock has introduced a variety of legislation. In response to an attempt by the Obama Administration to include funds in the Defense Authorization bill last December, Schock introduced legislation, H.R. 513, that would ban the use of Federal funds to transfer individuals detained by the US at Guantanamo Bay or other locations around the world from being brought to the United States.
Schock has also introduced legislation that would create the Federal Progam Sunset Commission (H.R. 606). His legislation would create a bipartisan commission made up of former Members of the House and Senate as well as outside experts to abolish federal programs that are found to be duplicative, unnecessary, inefficient, or don't meet the specific performance standards.
During the debate on the short-term Continuing Resolution that passed the House on February 19, 2011, Schock was successful in banning further funding for the creation of stimulus signs that highlight stimulus related projects around the country. Last year, Schock’s legislation to cut funding for Stimulus signs was featured on YouCut, a public outreach effort designed by House Republicans to highlight proposals aimed at reducing government spending. In turn, participants could vote for the one proposal that they would most like to see addressed by Congress. Last July, Schock’s bill was selected as a winning YouCut proposal.
On September 24, 2009, the FBI Anti-Terrorism Task Force arrested Michael Finton in downtown Springfield, Illinois, after Finton attempted to bomb the Paul Findley Federal Building and the adjacent Springfield office of Congressman Schock. The man drove a truck filled with what he believed to be "a ton of explosives" to the federal building, then drove away with an undercover FBI agent and tried to detonate the dummy explosives via cell phone. The man was arrested and placed in federal custody on charges of terrorism and attempting to kill a federal employee.
Schock received an unusual amount of media coverage for a freshman congressman, much of it focusing on his physique and youthful appearance. He was selected "hottest freshman" congressman in a February 2009 reader poll on The Huffington Post. Schock has been frequently targeted by TMZ.com reporters since his arrival in Washington. For his part, Schock appears to be flattered by all the attention, telling CNN's Reliable Sources that such soft media coverage could increase voters' interest in politics. "People who watch TMZ or different mediums don't expect to see their congressman on such a show," he said. "To see their hometown congressman on a show like this kind of raises their interest and gets them a little excited." In 2009, Schock appeared on The Colbert Report, during which the host, Stephen Colbert – making fun of the TMZ reports – "grilled" Schock about his "six-pack abs". Schock went on to appear on the cover of the June 2011 issue of Men's Health.
Schock appeared on Season 7 (2010) of Top Chef, a competition reality-television program, as a guest judge.
November 8th, 2011