Bradley alum considers a run for governor

As congressman of the 18th district of Illinois, Aaron Schock ’02 divides his time between Washington, D.C. and Peoria. But the representative could be spending more time in the state, as he may run for Illinois governor.

“I am considering running for governor,” Schock said in an email to the Scout. “I am carefully considering whether I can make the larger positive impact by staying in Congress or running for governor.”

Schock, a Peoria native, graduated from Bradley in 2002 with a degree in finance in two years. He began his career in public service by serving on the Peoria school board at age 19 and was elected president three years later. Schock was a member in the Illinois House of Representatives in Springfield before he was elected to Congress in 2009 and has represented the 18th district since. Schock is the second-youngest serving member in Congress.

“I love representing the people of my home area in Central Illinois,” he said. “But every time I read the news and travel to the district I see people suffering from very bad decisions by those who have been running Illinois for far too long.”

Schock said his experiences from his early career and time in Congress would help him in his run for governor.

“I believe that with the combination of my degree in finance from Bradley, my service as Peoria’s school board president and the years I served in state government as state representative give me the capacity to tackle the massive problems faced by our state,” he said in the email.

As a Republican, Schock said he worked with Democrats while he was in the Illinois House to try to better the state government.

“As a freshman State Representative at age 23 and in the minority party, I still passed 23 bills in the Illinois house,” he said. “I did that by crossing the aisle and talking one on one with my Democratic colleagues from all over the state. As governor I would spend time with each state legislator on a regular basis and forge progress on passing needed reforms.”

As governor, Schock said his main goal would be to improve Illinois’ economy.

“The ultimate goal is to exponentially expand economic opportunity for everyone,” he said in the email. “It will take a lot of hard work and reform to get there but we need to start now…Illinois is following the path of Greece, rushing headlong into bankruptcy.”

Schock said another important goal would be to improve K-12 education.

Bradley has a history of electing alumni to Congress, including former Representative Bob Michel and former Representative and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who recently announced his retirement from Obama’s Cabinet.

“I think the fact that my two predecessors in Congress and myself are all Bradley alums has modestly added to the cumulative success story of Bradley alums,” he said. “Having a governor of our state as a Bradley alum will only add to that…The real benefit to Bradley will be the pride that a successful governor was educated at Bradley and the inspiration that may bring to students considering attending Bradley.”