August 13, 2005


Young Peoria Republican is GOP's future (THOMAS ROESER, August 13, 2005, Chicago Sun-Times)

Sometimes I look at 24-year-old Aaron Schock and get depressed. Not about him, about me. When I was 24, all I had done was go to grad school. Already he's a key Republican in the Illinois General Assembly who served until recently as Peoria school board president, playing a winning hand over the rambunctious teachers' union before he retired. In between, he was named to two House appropriations committees, plus elementary and secondary education, plus human services, and authored complex legislation that passed the Democrat-controlled House and Senate.

Schock's bills are not mere window dressing. The Prescription Drug Finder Act provides that the Department of Public Aid list comparable prices for the 50 most common drugs. Another provides public aid recipients with assistance for post-secondary education and job placement. Still another is landmark anti-child battery legislation mandating that the perpetrator pay for counseling costs to the victimized child. There's more.

It was unusual for conservative Republican Schock to get elected to the school board on a write-in at age 19, become board president at 22, and tackle a $15.7 million deficit and a controversy involving the superintendent. Then he managed to beat a stalwart female lawyer, a teachers' union darling, in the House. It was a tough district for a pro-life Republican to win, taking in the southern two-thirds of the city, including the Democratic downtown.

Is he just a smart-aleck kid, cocky with over-self assurance? Jill Zwick, a friend of mine and a former legislator, was on my radio show with him and pronounced him mature beyond his years.

In Springfield early in the session, veteran lawmakers played the same trick on him they do green kids: pretending to call up all his bills for a vote and resoundingly defeat them, straining to catch a surprised expression on his face. Schock played along, and was poker-faced. Schock wasn't shocked. They all laughed, then the House applauded warmly. He passed the test. He's a pro.

In no state is it more important for the GOP to be readying a good bench. A blue IL stands out like a sore thumb.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 13, 2005 9:31 AM

There are two problems.

First, there are not enough of him, and second, the culture of Sringfield corrupts the few like him that get there.

I've not met him yet, but the article makes me want to go out of my way to do so.

I've got about 4 candidates that make up an "Extreme Wisdom" slate, that I'm trying to help. All but one are running against Rino's. Regardless, getting Schock some allies is important.

Posted by: Bruno at August 13, 2005 9:50 AM

Any 24-year old readers who want to drink away the sorrows from your comparative lack of accomplishment, please meet at my place.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at August 13, 2005 9:50 AM

What's Wrong With Illinois?

Posted by: Genecis at August 13, 2005 11:21 AM

Plenty. The republicans and democrats are both corrupt. There has been talk of Jim Edgar running again for governor. I hope so. He seems to have been the most honest(or least corrupt) governor in my lifetime. He appears to give the GOP the best chance against Blago's giant war chest.

Posted by: jdkelly at August 13, 2005 3:01 PM

If Dailey switched parties, which he should, it wouldn't be blue anymore.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 14, 2005 4:00 PM