Generation Y Comes To Congress

There's no shortage of 20-somethings in Washington, particularly around the White House and Capitol.

Most are just beginning their careers in the nation's capital but, reports CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante, as Aaron Schock comes to town, he's raising more than a few eyebrows.

At 27, Schock looks more like your typical congressional aide than a congressman, but he's taking the oath as a Republican member of the House of Representatives from the 18th district in central Illinois.

The enormity of Schock's new job hit him when he saw the view from his new office, which looks out on the Capitol dome.

Schock is the first member of Congress born in the 1980s.

He started in politics when the school board in his hometown of Peoria refused to allow him to graduate high school early, even though he'd completed the work.

His mother, Jan Knapp, says Schock doesn't take rejection lightly and, "If you tell Aaron that he can't do something, well look out, because he will do it!"

So he ran for the very school board that held him back. When a technicality kept his name off the ballot, he kept going and, Schock recalls, "In less than two months, we put together a great grassroots campaign, knocked on 13,000 houses, and got 6,406 people to write my name on the ballot correctly."

While serving as the youngest school board member in the state, Schock finished college in just two years.

At 22, he won a seat in the Illinois state legislature, where he served two terms.

A career in Washington wasn't on his radar, Schock says, until seven-term republican Ray LaHood announced his retirement from Congress.

"The door was open," Schock reflected, "and, with in all things in life, opportunity and timing is everything."

Unlike other Republicans, Schock thought the timing was right to have President Bush campaign for him. And Schock carried the district with a whopping 69 percent of the vote.

Now, he faces a new challenge.

"I'm excited," Schock says. "The last couple of months have been literally like drinking out of a fire hose.

The man he succeeds says Schock is up to the job.

"He does have a big learning curve," LaHood says, "but he's smart enough to know that, if he listens to people ... he will be successful."

Will his age be a problem on Capitol Hill?

"I think I'll bring a much different perspective than somebody who's two-or-three times my age," Schock says. "I think our country would look different, and certainly our government and its programs would look different, if more people were here that were in their 20s and 30s."

Another question Plante pondered: Will this 27-year-old guy be able to have a life in Washington?

When Plante saw him, he didn't even have a place to live.

"Might have to get some roommates!" Schock laughed.

While Schock's father, Dr. Richard Schock, says he has no doubts Aaron's ready for the political gloves to come off, his mother's concerned about what he puts on.

"He still doesn't have a top coat," Knapp noted, "and I told him he needs a top coat if he's gonna walk around in D.C."

He'll also need a thick skin to survive inside the Beltway, Plante concluded.
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