||This article uses bare URLs for citations, which may be threatened by link rot. (February 2015)|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 18th district
January 3, 2009
|Preceded by||Ray LaHood|
|Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 92nd district
January 12, 2005 – January 3, 2009
|Preceded by||Ricca Slone|
|Succeeded by||Joan Krupa|
|Born||Aaron Jon Schock
May 28, 1981
Morris, Minnesota, U.S.
|Alma mater||Illinois Central College
Aaron Jon Schock (born May 28, 1981) is the United States Representative for Illinois's 18th congressional district, serving since 2009. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district is based in Peoria and includes part of Springfield. At the age of 33, Schock is the third youngest currently serving U.S. representative, after Patrick Murphy of Florida, and Elise Stefanik of New York. Additionally, he was the first member of the U.S. Congress born in the 1980s. Previously, Schock served two terms in the Illinois House of Representatives and was its youngest member.
- 1 Early life, education and career
- 2 School board
- 3 Illinois legislature
- 4 U.S. House of Representatives
- 5 Media coverage
- 6 Controversies
- 7 Electoral history
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Early life, education and career
Schock was born in Morris, Minnesota, the youngest of the four children of Janice Marie, a homemaker, and Richard Schock, a family practice physician and former school board member. During his early years, the family lived on a rural farm site where the children were given the responsibility of tending a three acre patch of strawberries and selling the fruit. When he was in fourth grade, his family moved to Peoria. In 1995, he was elected to the executive board of the Illinois Association of Junior High Student Councils.
Schock began working during the fifth grade, doing database management as an independent contractor for a bookstore chain. He later bought event tickets for a licensed ticket broker, using six phone lines and thirteen credit cards, and investing his earnings in the stock market. When he was in the eighth grade, he began doing the accounting work for a gravel pit, a job he kept throughout his high school years. Schock started his own Individual Retirement Account at age 14.
Schock attended Richwoods High School. By his junior year of high school, he had completed nearly all of his graduation requirements, and had few course options available because the school district had recently discontinued most of the advanced placement and other advanced courses due to budget cuts. School district policy did not allow him to graduate early, and the board members refused his requests to change the policy. He began attending classes at Illinois Central College in East Peoria, earning dual credits toward high school and college graduation. He graduated from high school in 2000.
At age 18, he purchased 110 acres of farmland he hoped to mine for gravel. He later sold the land to the Greater Peoria Sanitary District.
Schock received his Bachelor of Science degree from Bradley University in 2002, with a major in finance. During college, he invested in real estate and ran Garage Tek, a garage organizing business. Schock sold his Garage Tek franchise in 2004 before running for state representative.
Schock decided to run for the local school board a few months after graduating from high school because he felt the board needed a more diverse and youthful perspective. After he did not get on the ballot because he did not have the required number of valid signatures on his petition to run for office, he organized a successful write-in campaign, using more than 200 volunteers who visited more than 13,000 households. He defeated the incumbent 60% to 40%, garnering more than 6,400 write-in votes, and becoming, at age 19, the youngest person serving on a school board in Illinois. After two years, his fellow board members elected him vice president of the board, and one year later, they elected him school board president, making him, at 23, the youngest school board president in Illinois history.
At the age of 23, Schock ran for a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives. He defeated four-term incumbent Democrat Ricca Slone, by just 235 votes out of 40,000 ballots cast, and became the youngest member of the Illinois General Assembly in state history. Five months after taking the office, he resigned from the school board to focus on his job as a state legislator.
When Schock ran for reelection in 2006, he defeated Democrat Bill Spears, winning 58 percent of the total vote. He received more than 40 percent of the African American vote in his district, despite his opposition to race-based affirmative action.
During his four years in the state legislature, Schock served on two appropriations committees that were "typically reserved for more senior lawmakers", as well as the Financial Institutions, Environment & Energy and Veteran's Affairs committees.
During his second term as state representative, Schock worked as director of development and construction for Petersen Companies of Peoria, the real estate development arm of a senior citizen health care provider.
Schock was the chief sponsor of 38 bills, of which 13 became law. The bills dealt with education, child protection, prescription drug savings, veterans' assistance, road construction, and high-tech identity theft. Another bill, co-sponsored with Democrat Dave Koehler, expanded the taxation area for the Peoria Airport.
Though the district he represented in the state legislature included a large number of voters who were union members or who were on food stamps, Schock said, "I could vote against things like the raising minimum wage … and go back and explain to them why it didn’t make sense to raise the cost of labor...and they understood it.
During his time in the state legislature, Schock was involved with Youth for a Cause, Peoria Mayor's Vision 2020, the Peoria Chamber of Commerce, Heart of Illinois Kids Count, St. Jude Telethon V.I.P., and medical mission trips to Mexico and Jamaica.
U.S. House of Representatives
In his speech announcing his candidacy for Illinois's 18th congressional district, to succeed retiring incumbent Republican congressman Ray LaHood, Schock said, "If China continues to be irresponsible about nuclear proliferation in Iran, we should tell them that ... we will sell Pershing nuclear missiles to Taiwan for their defense. Nonproliferation will either be enforced universally or not at all — it is their choice. The Chinese will come around, I have no doubt." His campaign manager described the policy as "well thought out" and Schock first defended the remarks, but Schock later said it was "more in jest" and that he had made a mistake.
Schock drew mixed reaction in late July 2008 when he brought President George W. Bush to Peoria to raise money for the congressional campaign. The city of Peoria provided 38 police officers, 30 city trucks for temporary security barriers, and a number of firefighters, spending $38,252 to facilitate the visit, even though it was a private, paid-admission fundraiser. When requests to compensate the city increased, Schock called it "obviously a political move" and compared the issue to Barack Obama's endorsement of another state senator on the courthouse steps a few years before, for which the city did not request compensation. A city councilman cited an ordinance against political activity by the city, but the mayor of Peoria, Jim Ardis, called the requests "political rhetoric" and said the ordinance did not apply, and that the city did not have a policy addressing a situation where a sitting president visits town. Schock later said he would reimburse the city voluntarily, referring to payment for presidential protection as "unprecedented," and saying he believed his campaign was the first in the state and possibly the nation to repay a city for protective services provided to a president.
Prior to the general election, Shock was endorsed by 116 mayors across the district and the Illinois Farm Bureau. Schock's hometown newspaper, the Journal Star, endorsed Schock "on the basis of his potential."
Schock won the November 4, 2008 general election with 59% of the vote, defeating Democratic candidate Colleen Callahan and Green Party candidate Sheldon Schafer. He was only the fifth person to serve the district since 1933. Upon taking his seat in Congress, at the age of 27, he became the youngest member of Congress, supplanting 33-year-old Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina, and the first member of the United States Congress born in the 1980s.
In November 2010, Schock was challenged by Democrat D.K. Hirner, the Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Regulatory Group, and Green nominee Sheldon Schafer. The Journal Star again endorsed Schock, writing, "Schock is a more self-assured, well-rounded candidate than he was two years ago." The endorsement noted that Schock had "voted with President Barack Obama more than a third of the time, breaking with GOP leaders on multiple issues, from his support for renewable energy to taming predatory lenders to FDA regulation of tobacco." Schock won with 59% of the vote.
For 2012, it appeared that Schock would face Darrel Miller in the Republican primary, but Miller was removed from the ballot in February 2012 due to problems with his petition signatures. In the general election, Schock faced Democrat Steve Waterworth.
In April 2012, watchdog groups filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, claiming that Schock violated federal campaign rules when he solicited a $25,000 donation from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for use in a Republican primary. Schock's campaign stated that it believed the FEC would dismiss the complaint after review. In December 2012, the House Committee on Ethics confirmed that the same matter had been referred to it by the Office of Congressional Ethics. In February 2013, the Office of Congressional Ethics' report was publicly released, which stated, "there is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Schock violated federal law, House rules and standards of conduct." At the time of the release, Schock's communications director released a statement saying: "The release by the Ethics Committee of this report from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is just one more step in the long process of adjudicating ethics complaints that can be submitted by anyone for any reason...We remain firmly convinced that Congressman Schock will be exonerated when the Ethics Committee examines the complaint and in due course resolves this matter."
Questions have also been raised about a real estate transaction that occurred the month before the 2012 elections. Schock sold his Peoria home to a major Republican donor, who was also one of his campaign supporters, for a price that appeared to exceed its then market value,. This lead to another ethics complaint being filed against Schock by the Democratic-leaning group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Aaron Schock house was listed at $995,000 and sold for a 7% discount after 3 years on the market. Of the 5 comparable houses listed in the Blue Nation Review, most were bank foreclosures, that sold during the financial crises 1 year prior for 38% discount from the listing price, 39% discount price or did not sell at all,
Schock was endorsed by the editorial board of The State Journal-Register, who wrote that Schock "has grown in his two terms in the House, building expertise on budget, trade, transportation and agriculture issues and reaching across the aisle at times to build a solid record." Schock was also endorsed by the Journal Star and the Chicago Tribune.
Schock defeated Waterworth to win reelection on November 6, 2012, winning 74 percent of the vote.
After the 2012 election, there was speculation about Schock's ambitions for higher political office, including a Roll Call article noting that Schock's new district in central Illinois had been drawn, during redistricting after the 2010 census, to be very safe, leading to suggestions that Democrats were trying to keep him happy in the House and away from any statewide bid. An Illinois Republican was quoted as saying, "I think he would be the top candidate on the Republican side if Dick Durbin retired or if he wanted to run for governor ... His ability to fundraise and be popular with conservatives without coming across as an ideologue would suit him well if he chooses to run." In November 2012, it was reported that Schock had met with officials at the Republican Governors Association to explore the possibility of running for governor of Illinois in 2014. However, in April 2013, Schock announced that he would not be running for governor, and would instead be seeking election to a fourth term in Congress.
Schock won the November 2014 general election with 74.7% of the vote, defeating Democrat Darrel Miller.
Two weeks after taking office in 2009, Schock proposed an amendment, which passed, to the Troubled Asset Relief Program Accountability Act, to create a searchable website so Americans could see where bailout funds were being spent. The act's sponsor, Democrat Barney Frank, said "this is a very thoughtful amendment and it will greatly enhance things."
In February 2009, President Barack Obama invited Schock to fly with him on Air Force One for a visit to a Caterpillar plant in East Peoria, Illinois. During the visit, Obama appealed to Schock to support the $787 billion stimulus bill which was up for a vote the next day in Congress. Obama said Schock is "a very talented young man. I’ve got great confidence in him to do the right thing for the people of Peoria." Schock ultimately voted against the stimulus package, saying, "it was not really a stimulus bill with the majority of the money going towards stimulating the economy.” Schock also said, "I like the President. He’s a very good guy...I want him to be successful. I want to vote for a stimulus bill. I appreciated his hospitality in bringing me along on the trip...But at the end of the day my responsibility is to the people who gave me this job – my constituents."
During his first year in Congress, Schock had more of legislation passed than any other Republican freshman. In 2010 he secured $40.7 million in funding for Illinois.
On February 28, 2013, Schock reintroduced the New Philadelphia, Illinois, Study Act (H.R. 930; 113th Congress), a bill that would instruct the United States Department of the Interior to study the New Philadelphia archaeological site in Illinois to evaluate the national significance of the area and to determine the feasibility of designating the site as a unit of the National Park System. Schock had previously introduced similar legislation in the 111th United States Congress (H.R. 5455).
Schock and Rep. William R. Keating jointly introduced the Equitable Access to Care and Health Act (H.R. 1814; 113th Congress) on April 29, 2013. The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code, with respect to minimum essential health care coverage requirements added by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, to allow an additional religious exemption from such requirements for individuals whose sincerely held religious beliefs would cause them to object to medical health care provided under such coverage. Individuals could file an affidavit to get this exemption, but would lose the exemption if they went on to later use healthcare. Schock and Keating wrote a letter in support of their bill saying, "we believe the EACH Act balances a respect for religious diversity against the need to prevent fraud and abuse."
In December 2013, Schock was selected by Speaker Boehner to lead the congressional delegation to the Funeral of Nelson Mandela. Schock was the only Republican representative in the delegation and only other seated Republican to Senator Ted Cruz.
Schock is considered to be more conservative than his two moderate predecessors, Congressmen Bob Michel and Ray LaHood. The Chicago Tribune, in their endorsements for the 2008 general election, described Schock's political positions to be fiscally conservative and somewhat moderate on social issues. Nevertheless, he has said he would have supported the financial bailout plan, or the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, that passed Congress in October 2008 and he did not support the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 2010. Schock is a former member of the Republican Study Committee and a current member of the Republican Main Street Partnership. Schock has said "our strategy with young people needs to be economic issues," and that social issues are "not what compelled me to run for office."
In their 2010 endorsement of Schock, the Journal Star wrote, "We've not always seen eye to eye with Schock, but he has been far more influential than your average freshman. He's a hard worker, a rising star in the Republican Party...We have long valued independence in our congressmen; Aaron Schock is a conservative, but he also has a mind of his own, and he is endorsed."
Schock voted against the $787 billion stimulus plan in February 2009. He also voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010. He has advocated for tort reform and interstate health insurance competition as ways to reduce health care costs.
Schock has introduced legislation that would create the Federal Program Sunset Commission (H.R. 606). His proposed legislation would create a bipartisan commission made up of former members of Congress and outside experts to abolish federal programs that are found to be unnecessary or under-performing.
During the debate on the short-term Continuing Resolution that passed the House on February 19, 2011, Schock was successful in banning further funding for the creation of stimulus signs that highlight stimulus-related projects around the country. In July 2010, Schock’s bill was selected as a winning proposal in a public outreach effort designed by House Republicans to highlight proposals aimed at reducing government spending.
In 2011, Schock and Delaware Democrat John Carney co-sponsored a bill that would use U.S. oil exploration to help fund a five-year federal highway construction project. The bill has not been voted on as of April 2012.
Schock has signed the Americans for Tax Reform Taxpayer Protection Pledge, promising not to vote for any new taxes. Schock was a supporter of free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, which passed the House in fall 2011.
In September 2011, Schock and Democrat Leonard Boswell introduced the Help Veterans Own Franchises Act, which would allow tax credits for the establishment of franchises owned by veterans. As of April 2012, the bill is in committee.
Energy & environment
In April 2010, Biofuels Digest named Congressman Aaron Schock as #8 in the top ten groups of individuals that "make it happen for renewables, bioenergy in DC." Schock, who says energy is the issue that people most want to talk about, supports eliminating federal taxes on the production of renewable energy.
In March 2011, Schock signed on as an original co-sponsor to a proposal by Republican Congressman Devin Nunes of California called "A Roadmap for America's Energy future," (H.R. 909) which is a comprehensive plan focusing on policies that promote the production of a broad range of domestic energy supplies including traditional resources as well as renewable and alternative energy sources.
Schock has been an opponent of using federal funds for the transfer of detainees from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp to elsewhere in the U.S. In January 2011, Schock introduced legislation with Senator Mark Kirk to deny federal funds for the transfer of detainees to the United States. Similarly, he has fought to require military tribunals, as opposed to civilian courts, for detainee trials.
In August 2009, the Law Library of Congress issued a controversial and disputed legal-opinion report, Honduras: Constitutional Law Issues, that had been commissioned by Schock. It featured a legal analysis of the 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis with a specific examination of the legality of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya's June 28, 2009, removal from office and expatriation. After the report was issued, Schock argued that the Obama Administration should change its policy towards Honduras by resuming suspended aid and recognizing the upcoming Honduran November 29, 2009, elections, based on the contents of the report.
On December 15, 2009, during a discussion on Hardball with Chris Matthews, Schock stated "I don‘t believe we should—we should limit water-boarding or, quite frankly, any other alternative torture technique if it means saving Americans‘ lives" in a "ticking time bomb" scenario or other critical situation. He added that he didn't believe such techniques "should be standard practice."
Schock voted against amending federal hate crimes laws to include crimes where the victims were targeted on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender and disability. He voted against the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in December 2010.
Schock also voted against the Employment Discrimination Law Amendment H.R. 11 and H.R. 12, which were eventually passed on January 9, 2009.
Schock voted for House Amendment 1416, which Prohibits Use of Funds in Contravention of the Defense of Marriage Act, adopted 247 to 166 in the House July 19, 2012.
Schock voted against the DREAM Act. However, TheHill.com reported that Schock was "slammed" for calling illegal immigrants "undocumented citizens" and for showing support for a legalization program at a town hall event.
Schock voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. After this was done for the 56th time in 2015, but without any replacement for the nation's sickest in place, the Peoria Journal Star opined: "The Affordable Care Act has its flaws, but its congressional detractors, Schock among them, have made it darn hard to conclude they are serious about governing."
Schock, along with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), introduced a bill in 2013 known as the Higher Education and Skills Obtainment Act. The bill would narrow the eligibility for people to use certain tax credits related to higher education. To do so, the legislation would take away eligibility for those tax credits from people who aren't students or who "did not attend an eligible institution," according to Ripon Advance.
Schock voted for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.
- Committee on Ways and Means
- Committee on House Administration
During his first term, Schock requested and was given three committee assignments. In addition, he was appointed by Minority Whip Eric Cantor to be a deputy minority whip. He served as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Contracting and Technology of the Small Business Committee. Soon after being sworn in to serve his first term, he joined the Republican Study Committee, "a home for deficit hawks", according to the Los Angeles Times. As of April 2012, he is no longer a member of the Republican Study Committee. Schock is a current member of the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group of moderate Republicans who advocate reducing the deficit, cutting taxes, and focusing on education and environmental issues.
At the beginning of his second term in 2011, Schock was appointed to the Ways and Means Committee. On the committee he serves on the Subcommittee on Trade, Subcommittee on Social Security and Subcommittee on Oversight. The Subcommittee on Trade has oversight over reciprocal trade agreements including multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations and implementation of agreements involving tariff and non-tariff trade barriers. Schock also serves on the Committee on House Administration, which is charged with the oversight of federal elections and the day-to-day operations of the House of Representatives.
Schock received an unusual amount of media coverage during his first term in Congress, much of it focusing on his physique and youthful appearance. According to the New York Times, he has "cultivated an image that is more about lifestyle and less about lawmaking." Schock was selected "hottest freshman" congressman in a February 2009 reader poll on The Huffington Post. Schock has been frequently targeted by TMZ.com reporters since his arrival in Washington. Schock told CNN's Reliable Sources that such soft media coverage could increase voters' interest in politics. "People who watch TMZ or different mediums don't expect to see their congressman on such a show," he said. "To see their hometown congressman on a show like this kind of raises their interest and gets them a little excited." In 2009, Schock appeared on The Colbert Report, during which the host, Stephen Colbert – making fun of the TMZ reports – "grilled" Schock about his "six-pack abs". Schock went on to appear on the cover of the June 2011 issue of Men's Health.
In 2012, Schock told Roll Call that "I'm a big believer if you want to change people's minds or get someone to vote for you, either a voter or a colleague, you've got to first get their attention. If people don't know who you are, they're not going to listen to your message. And not everybody pays attention to politicians by watching Fox News and CNN."
In February 2015, Schock was subject to criticism after The Washington Post reported that his congressional offices had been lavishly redecorated in a style inspired by the television show about English aristocrats, Downton Abbey. Ironically, the show had been screened in the U.S. on the Public Broadcasting Network, and it was noted that Schock had voted to defund public broadcasting. The story led to a complaint being filed by Democratic-leaning watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) who alleged that Schock may have received an improper gift. CREW’s chief counsel Anne Weismann  stated: “Again and again, Rep. Schock’s seeming obsession with his image impedes his ability to conduct himself in [an] ethical manner.” Schock reimbursed the decorator $35,000, stating "Even though office expenses are often covered by the Member Representational Allowance, the Congressman believed it appropriate to pay these costs himself as part of the office review process." 
Having an active Instagram  page has allowed Schock to cut his spending on advertising to 0.5% of his budget, whereas an average candidate spent 29.6% of their budget on advertising. Schock total transportation spending of 9.45% of the budget was in line with the house average of 11.45%.
The Washington Post story sparked further media scrutiny of his expenses. It was revealed that, according to congressional expenditure reports, Schock had spent over a hundred thousand dollars, or over 2% of his budget, on office decorating and renovations between January 2009 and late 2014, mostly during his first term. It was further reported Schock had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on travel, legal expenses and new cars, thousands of dollars on tickets to the Super Bowl and Country Music Awards, as well as cuff links, massage, "gold equipment" and cigars. In response, Schock's office stated it had begun an internal review of the reimbursements.
The accusations and allegations, which if true would be in contrast to the relatively smooth and reputable tenures of his two respected predecessors, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Representative Ray LaHood and former Representative Robert Michel, are now potentially quite serious. Representative Schock, at the minimum, faces an internal inquiry initiated by his own office, and at least some form of an inquiry by the House Ethics Committee, and could very well end up appearing because of a need for further investigation before the U.S. House Ethics Committee if matters are not expeditiously clarified (or even if they are, if the matters are judged serious enough). Further, if any state or federal laws or regulations governing the spending of taxpayer funding from the members of his congressional district, or improper spending of money from PACs (political action committees) or corporations or other donors, have been broken by he (or by any members of his staff, provided there needs to be a reasonable expectation that he should have known about it), then, depending to some degree on the seriousness of any alleged violations and his willingness to explain himself and cooperate and unravel the situations at hand, he may at some point, face civil and/or criminal penalties before the U.S. Justice Department and also be punished, informally or more severely in some manner, by the House.
An aide to Congressman Schock resigned after it was revealed the aide had made racist remarks on Facebook, calling for people to "gentrify" black neighborhoods and comparing black passerby to "animals" from the National Zoo.
|This section is outdated. (February 2015)|
|General Election - 11/2/2004 -Illinois General Assembly - 92nd District |
|Democratic||Ricca Slone (incumbent)||19,484||49.7%|
|Republican gain from Democratic|
|General Election - 11/7/2006 -Illinois General Assembly - 92nd District|
|Republican||Aaron Schock (incumbent)||14,703||58.87%|
|General Primary - 2/5/2008 Illinois's 18th Congressional District |
|Republican||John D. Morris||9,160||11.72%|
|General Election - 11/4/2008 Illinois's 18th Congressional District|
|General Election - 11/2/2010 Illinois's 18th Congressional District|
|Republican||Aaron Schock (incumbent)||152,868||69.12%|
|Democratic||Deirdre "DK" Hirner||57,046||25.79%|
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"Items taken from the Tribune, May 10, 1984...Voters will elect school board members throughout Minnesota on Tuesday, May 15. In the Morris-Donnelly district, the candidates are Lowell Roholff, Roy Larson, and incumbent Richard Felstul. Incumbents Harold Luthi and Dr. Richard Schock did not file.
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His mother, Jan Knapp, says Schock doesn't take rejection lightly
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Aaron Schock is an active member of Bethany Baptist Church in Peoria.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aaron Schock.|
- Congressman Aaron Schock official U.S. House website
- Aaron Schock for Congress
- Aaron Schock at DMOZ
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
- Young Gun, Edward McClelland, Chicago Magazine, March 2009
- The Ripped Representative, Stephen Perrine, Men's Health, May 6, 2011
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 18th congressional district
|Baby of the House
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Representatives by seniority