Maxwell Frost elected as the first Gen Z member of Congress
Democrat Maxwell Frost has won in Florida's 10th Congressional District, according to a race call by the Associated Press, making him the first member of Generation Z elected to serve in the U.S. Congress.
Frost was heavily favored to win the Orlando-based seat, which is solidly Democrat. He defeated Republican Calvin Wimbish by 19 percentage points. Frost will succeed outgoing Democratic Rep. Val Demings, who challenged incumbent Marco Rubio in the Senate. Rubio won his reelection, according to the AP.
"History was made tonight," Frost tweeted. "We made history for Floridians, for Gen Z, and for everyone who believes we deserve a better future."
The 25-year-old's victory marks a pivotal moment for progressive activists who came of voting age over the last decade and found their political voice in response to divisive issues including gun violence.
Frost, who has a background as an organizer, first became an activist after the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. Before running for Congress, he served as the national organizing director for March for Our Lives, a group that advocates for gun control policy.
Gun control continues to be a top issue among younger voters. According to recent polling from Harvard Institute of Politics, 22% of respondents said it was either their most important or second most important issue – compared to inflation (45%,) abortion (33%) and "protecting democracy" (30%).
Gun violence prevention was a core tenet of Frost's platform, along with supporting progressive policies like Medicare for all and a Green New Deal.
Following the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Frost confronted Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis at an event over the governor's second amendment views.
I just asked @GovRonDeSantis to take action on gun violence so we can save lives. That we lose 100 people a day.— Maxwell Alejandro Frost (@MaxwellFrostFL) June 3, 2022
His response? “Nobody wants to hear from you!” We are dying and our Governor is too busy helping @RubinReport make money. pic.twitter.com/LUOWQq3kQU
Frost raised over $2.5 million and was endorsed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey as well as the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
When Frost takes office in January, he'll join a Congress known for lacking diversity in age – given the current membership is the oldest in U.S. history.
But that could slowly be changing, according to Amanda Litman, the co-founder of Run for Something, an organization that supports young people running for state and local office.
"You see one 25-year-old run for Congress and win, you think I can do this too, and then more people step up. Someone is the first, more people are the second and the third, and the fourth," she told NPR.
"I am also very confident that because political engagement and political activity is a habit, it's a muscle, you build it and then it gets stronger and stronger and stronger," Litman added. "We are just seeing the beginning of Gen Z's engagement as political leaders."
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