Maxwell Frost elected first Gen Z member of Congress : NPR

Maxwell Frost marches in the Orlando Pride Parade.

Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images

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Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images

Maxwell Frost elected first Gen Z member of Congress : NPR

Maxwell Frost marches in the Orlando Pride Parade.

Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images

Democrat Maxwell Frost won in Florida’s 10th congressional district, according to an Associated Press race call, making him the first Gen Z member elected to serve in the US Congress.

Frost was heavily favored to win the Orlando-based seat, which is solidly Democratic. He beat Republican Calvin Wimbish by 19 percentage points. Frost will succeed incumbent Democratic Representative Val Demings, who challenged incumbent Marco Rubio in the Senate. Rubio won re-election, according to the AP.

“History was written 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 have come of voting age over the past decade and found their political voice in response to divisive issues including gun violence.

Frost, who is trained as an organizer, first became an activist after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. Prior to running for Congress, he served as national organizing director for March for Our Lives, a group that advocates for gun control policy.

Gun control continues to be a major issue among young voters. According to a recent Harvard Institute of Politics poll, 22% of respondents said it was either their most important issue or the second most important issue – compared to inflation (45%), abortion (33%) and the “protection of democracy” (30%).

Gun violence prevention was a core tenet of Frost’s platform, along with support for progressive policies such as Medicare for all and a Green New Deal.

After the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Frost confronted Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at an event about the governor’s Second Amendment views.

Frost has raised more than $2.5 million and has been endorsed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Senses Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey as well as the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

When Frost takes office in January, he will join a Congress notorious for its lack of age diversity – given that the current members are the oldest in US history.

But that could slowly be changing, according to Amanda Litman, co-founder of Run for Something, an organization that supports young people running for state and local office.

“You see a 25-year-old run for Congress and win, you think I can do it too, and then more people step in. Someone is first, more people are second and third, and the fourth,” she tells NPR.

“I’m also very confident that because political engagement and political activity is a habit, it’s a muscle, you build it up and then it gets stronger and stronger,” Litman added. “We are only seeing the beginning of Gen Z’s engagement as political leaders.”


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