Amid massive Republican gains in Florida, Democrat Maxwell Alejandro Frost became the first member of Generation Z to win a seat in Congress.
Bucking the Republican, and old-guy trend, Frost was elected to represent 10th Congressional District in Orlando, a seat relinquished by Democrat Val Demings, who lost her challenge against Sen. Marco Rubio.
Frost is a former March For Our Lives organizer, the anti-gun-violence group formed in response to the Parkland school shooting in 2018, and also worked for the American Civil Liberties Union. He quit his previous job in order to run for Congress and drove for Uber to pay rent while on the campaign trail.
He hasn’t finished college and has instead focused on community organizing through his adolescence and early adulthood. Frost says his activism was shaped as early as elementary school, when he learned about wealth inequality during the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011.
He centered his campaign around issues especially important to young voters: ending gun violence, addressing climate change, protecting abortion rights and supporting Medicare for all. seeking stricter gun control laws and has stressed opposition to restrictions on abortion rights.
“WE WON!!!! History was made tonight. We made history for Floridians, for Gen Z, and for everyone who believes we deserve a better future. I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to represent my home in the United States Congress,” Frost tweeted
Gen Z generally refers to those born between the late 1990s to early 2010s. To become a member of Congress, candidates must be at least 25 years old.
The 2022 midterms were the first time members of Gen Z could run for Congress, which Pew Research Center defines as people born between 1997 and 2012. Candidates must be 25 years old to serve in the U.S. House, 30 to serve in the U.S. Senate, and 35 to be president.
In 2020, Representative Madison Cawthorn, who was 25 at the time, was elected to represent North Carolina and served one term. Before that, according to The New York Times, the last 25-year-old to serve in the House was Thomas Downey, a New York Democrat elected in 1974.
Frost will be much younger than most of his peers; the average age of House members is 58. While more than half of Americans are millennials (41) or younger, they aren’t represented generationally in the U.S. Congress — its current membership is the oldest in history, Insider reports.
Frost won his August primary in a crowded 10-candidate race of more experienced Democrats, with the help of high-profile endorsements from progressive leaders including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.; and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.