By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock insists he has not made up his mind whether to run for governor, but his body language might suggest otherwise.
Schock, R-Peoria, who was in town Wednesday stumping for Quincy mayoral candidate Kyle Moore, did not dodge any questions about his potential candidacy.
"It's time for the next generation of leadership to step up ... we need a change," Schock said. "I am in shock over the lack of leadership in Springfield. It's the same people who keep getting elected.
"Gov. (Pat) Quinn has been in government for 30 years. There comes a time when you have to lead, follow or get out of the way."
Schock, 31, said he will make a formal announcement -- one way or the other -- at some point in the next six months. The next general election is November 2014.
Schock, who first was elected to Congress in 2009, said his youth would not be detriment to seeking the state's highest political office.
"I have been the youngest man in Congress for four years, and I serve on the most powerful committee (Ways and Means)," he said. "We have not been helped by the experience of those currently (in power in Springfield). My job in Congress has been made more difficult by the lack of leadership in Springfield."
Schock said age has been no downfall in working to get legislation passed, and he cited his ability to "work both sides of the aisle."
"Being able to be a bipartisan leader is important," he said.
Schock, who is seen by some as an attractive candidate that could reinvigorate the Republican party, said he relishes the challenge of trying to correct the state's ongoing budget crisis that finds it operating with billion-dollar deficits. Illinois also has the worst credit rating in the nation.
Schock said Illinois has been either No. 1 or No. 2 the past two years in an "exodus" of people and businesses because of high taxes and trying economic conditions.
Schock also sounded off on the gun control proposals championed by President Barack Obama.
He said "the real issue" is the "mental health crisis" in the nation.
"The guns used in the (Connecticut massacre of school children) could still be purchased under the president's proposal," Schock said. "The problem is we have not been willing to fess up to the real problem (behind these kind of killings) -- mental health."
Schock also pointed out what he feels has been an exorbitant number of presidential orders from Obama, a practice the congressman felt was a way for the president to try and avoid conflict with the Republican-controlled House. Schock said Obama "is doing the same thing" he criticized former President George W. Bush for doing.
"(Obama) has a responsibility to try and work with Congress," Schock said.
Schock also came out firing earlier this week when he told Chicago media two of his potential rivals for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, state Sens. Bill Brady of Bloomington and Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, have "proven nothing more than they can lose an election." Both ran failed campaigns for governor in 2010.
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford is another possible Republican candidate for the governor's seat.
No Republican has been elected governor since George Ryan in 1998. Ryan was later convicted for corruption in office.