Schock: Energy, defense, taxes the big issues

Adriana Colindres

Since winning a seat on the Peoria School Board at age 19, Aaron Schock has never lost an election — and he doesn’t plan to start now.

Schock, now serving his second term in the Illinois House of Representatives, wants to take over the 18th Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, who is retiring. Also running is Green Party candidate Sheldon Schafer.

Schock said he does not view this campaign as a cakewalk. He points to his improbable election to the School Board and his narrow victory — by little more than 200 votes — over a Democratic incumbent in a 2004 Illinois House race.

“No one knows better than I the importance of every vote, attending every chili supper and pancake breakfast, and I’m not going to leave any stone unturned ... to ensure that I get as many votes as possible,” he said. “The last thing I’m going to be in this race is overconfident.”

Voters say their main issues are energy, taxes and defense, Schock said. More recently, the federal bailout of the financial industry has been a hot topic.

Schock said he probably would have voted for the second version of the bailout plan if he had been in Congress.

Energy is “the issue” that people most want to talk about, said Schock, who wants to institute legislation that would eliminate federal taxes on the production of renewable energy.

“If we did that, I think you would see a huge surge of capital being invested into things like wind, solar, hydrogen cars and electric cars — new technologies that we don’t even have,” he said.

When Schock began his congressional campaign about a year ago, the Iraq war was “all anybody wanted to talk about,” he said, but that’s not the case anymore.

“My position is we need to continue to support our troops, support our men and women who are over there fighting,” he said.

Over the past year, Schock’s campaign also has hit some bumps in the road.

First, he made controversial remarks about selling nuclear arms to Taiwan as a way to convince China to agree with U.S. policy toward Iran. Schock initially defended what he said, but after critics assailed the comments as naïve and reckless, he backed off and said he had made a mistake.

Schock also was in the spotlight later when a Peoria councilman said the candidate should repay the city for costs it incurred as a result of President Bush’s visit to Peoria for a private fund-raising event for Schock.

At first, Schock said he would not voluntarily pay the city for those costs. He later said he would pay the money, about $38,000.

Schock’s most recent difficulty surfaced in mid-October, when The Associated Press reported he had notarized documents with false dates about eight years ago. Peoria County State’s Attorney Kevin Lyons’ office announced Friday no charges would be filed.

Schock has said he doesn’t remember notarizing the documents and that his record in elected office demonstrates he is a good public servant.

Political opponents “make political hay anytime they can, and it comes with the territory,” he said. “But I’m asking for the opportunity to serve.”

Adriana Colindres can be reached at (217) 782-6292


Aaron Schock, 27, Peoria

FAMILY: Single

OCCUPATION: State representative; on leave from job as director of construction and development for The Petersen Cos. in Peoria.

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in finance, Bradley University.

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Member of Illinois House of Representatives since 2005. Former member, vice president and president of Peoria School Board.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Big Brothers mentor for several years; board member, Youth for a Cause and the Heart of Illinois Kids Count; past member, Peoria’s Vision 2020 Youth Education and Learning Committee; volunteer on medical missions in Mexico (World Relief) and Jamaica (Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf); former president, Peoria Public Schools Education Foundation.



ECONOMY: “Reversing the Bush tax cuts would severely dampen economic growth and be counterproductive.

“There were not any good choices for (government) action regarding dealing with the sub-prime mortgage crisis after it happened. What Congress and the administration failed at was proper regulation and oversight of major lending organizations.”

ENERGY: “ I strongly support vastly expanded domestic energy exploration with offshore drilling and in Alaska and building more refineries, more clean-coal-fired plants, more nuclear plants and vastly increased ethanol and biofuels.

“Then to jumpstart the next generation of energy development and production, I intend to introduce legislation for a zero percent federal tax rate on new forms of renewable energy such as hydrogen, advanced solar cells, biofuels, geothermal, better electric car technology and others.”

HEALTH CARE: “We need to provide access to quality health insurance for every American so that they can receive preventive health care. ...

“We must (help) low-income people purchase private health insurance, ... (push) enrollment of those currently eligible for public health-care who are not enrolled, ... (create) mechanisms to control costs ... (and provide) portability of health insurance.

IRAQ WAR/NATIONAL DEFENSE: “The surge (in Iraq) seems to have worked. (But) we need continued pressure on the Iraqi government to work toward internal political reconciliation. ... Our troops need to come home as soon as possible, but those troop reductions need to be based on military needs as determined by the commanders on the ground.”

“Congress needs to examine and restore all safeguards to individual liberty not essential to keeping us safe. I would have voted for the Patriot Act and its reauthorization ... but not continued warrantless wiretapping.”