Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock is Alex P. Keaton all grown up. Intensely focused on economics, finance, and achievement from a very young age, Schock, 29, has been on the fast track to success since the fifth grade.
As the youngest and one of the better-looking congressmen on the Hill — in February 2009 Huffington Post readers voted him the “hottest congressional freshman” — Schock has garnered more attention than most of his fellow newbies. And since TMZ published a photo of him shirtless, the congressman’s abs have received about as much buzz as his legislative agenda.
While the superficial may dominate much of what the average American knows about Schock, his path to Congress and his hopes for the country’s future ought not fall by the wayside.
Schock’s dream was never to become a legislator, he said, rather his goal was always to graduate from the University of Illinois and make money. When the school board refused to allow him to go to college early, however, he realized he could get on the board and affect change. “After being told I couldn’t graduate early, I went to the voting booth to vote as a senior in high school and saw that nobody was running against the school board and I thought, ‘This is ridiculous,’ and that’s when I inquired about what it took to be a school board member. They said, ‘You’ve got to be 18 and a registered voter.’ Well I was 19, I got that. So one thing led to the next, I ran and get elected to the school board.”
This step onto the Peoria school board was his entry into politics and from there he grasped opportunity after opportunity, moving on to being elected to Illinois state legislature and ultimately to Congress.
Despite growing up in rural Illinois, Schock’s passion for finance dominates his life’s timeline. In fifth grade he started his first business, doing contracted database management for a book store chain in Peoria. In middle school he worked as an agent for a licensed ticket brokerage firm. Schock explained he had to buy the tickets quickly when they hit the market to meet the demands of the brokers. “So I went up to four phone lines in my house and AT&T — true story because their lobbyist has been here and I asked him, ‘Why can you only let four lines into a phone?’ and they explained that it is because when they build a neighborhood they use a certain type of piping that can only fit four lines into a house … But my neighbor had two lines and so I’d use their portable phones. So when I was in sixth and seventh grade I had six phone lines and 13 credit cards and I’d buy these tickets every weekend, usually a couple hundred tickets for everything.” He jokes that he has probably bought literally thousands of Garth Brooks tickets but has never seen the singer live.
With his ticket earnings, Schock started an online brokerage account and began investing in stocks. “My dad wondered what was wrong with his son. I was asking him, you know what are PE ratios, I’d look them up and try to figure it out.”