A 25-year-old Democrat, Maxwell Alejandro Frost, belonging to the "Generation Z" has officially secured a seat in US Congress.
Maxwell won his election on Tuesday (8 November) in Florida's 10th Congressional District over Calvin Wimbish, a Republican, according to The Associated Press.
Frost will represent the Orlando-area seat being vacated by Representative Val Demings, the Democratic nominee for senator, who lost her race, reports The New York Times.
His victory means that the next Congress will include one member of Generation Z, whose oldest members were born in 1997 and are newly eligible for the House, which has a minimum age of 25.
Frost, 25, published his victory tweet on his first day as the official Democratic nominee for an Orlando House seat.
The other Gen Z candidate on the ballot on Tuesday, Karoline Leavitt, a Republican, lost in New Hampshire's First Congressional District.
"The perspective I bring as a young person, as a young Black person, as a young Black Latino person from the South, is important," Frost said in an interview with The New York Times late Tuesday night.
Frost sees himself as "a small piece of a really big puzzle" composed of members of Gen Z who are becoming more influential in many areas of society.
Maxwell Alejandro Frost said his first priority was to get his district offices and staff up and running to assist constituents who are still reeling from Hurricane Ian — to "show them that government can work for them," he said.
In addition to policies like increasing the minimum wage and codifying Roe v Wade that are supported essentially universally among elected Democrats, Frost backs many of the proposals of the party's left wing, including universal health care and expanding the Supreme Court.
"Thinking about what I wanted to tweet out this morning or what I wanted to say, I really wanted to harp and focus on the fact that young people are oftentimes counted out. But I really want folks to know that I am unapologetically young," Frost told The Hill.
Frost's win is notable even amid a diversifying national candidate corps, defeating senior political leaders contesting for the same seat.
His parents, who adopted Frost at birth, are a Cuban American woman and a white man from Kansas. His birth parents were a Lebanese Puerto Rican woman and a Haitian man, reports The Hill.
Frost, who is Black, spoke both English and Spanish at home, and he capitalised on his multicultural upbringing to campaign in a district that's as diverse as his own origins.
Still, Frost stands out for a resume that doesn't match his age.
Democrats are highly unlikely, though, to have the sort of majority in the next Congress that would be required to enact those policies, if they retain a majority at all.
His background is in activism, including work with the student-led anti-gun-violence movement March for Our Lives, and his campaign focused on issues like gun violence and climate change that are of particular salience to many young voters, added the NYTimes report.
In an interview with The Times in August, he argued that he brought a different perspective to politics because of the era he had come of age in – one of mass shootings, increasingly frequent natural disasters and broad social upheaval.
"I come from a generation that has gone through more mass-shooting drills than fire drills," he said then.
"This is something that my generation has had to face head-on: being scared to go to school, being scared to go to church, being scared to be in your community. That gives me a sense of urgency," he added.
It is rare for 25-year-olds to be elected to Congress; before Representative Madison Cawthorn, republican of North Carolina, won in 2020, it hadn't happened in more than 45 years.
Frost turned 25, the minimum age to serve in the US Congress, earlier this year.
On Tuesday, his interview with The Times was briefly interrupted by a congratulatory phone call from President Biden. The president asked whether Frost had a birthday coming up before his swearing-in, as Joe Biden did between his own election to the Senate at age 29 and his inauguration at age 30, the minimum age for senators.
"I said no, he beat me on that one," Frost said with a laugh, adding that he planned to take Biden up on an offer to meet with him in the Oval Office.