Fla. progressive poised to be 1st Gen Z member of Congress

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Maxwell Alejandro Frost burst onto the national scene when he crashed a June interview with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis with calls for action on gun violence in America.

“Nobody wants to hear from you,” DeSantis told Frost as security swarmed.

On Tuesday, Frost, 25, found thousands of people who did want to hear from him, so much so that he won a Democratic primary for an open U.S. House seat in a liberal district, positioning himself to become the first member of Congress from Gen Z.

In an interview, Frost described the interaction with the governor as “ good trouble.”

“That video is really a microcosm of what’s going on in Florida — the governor shooing people off who might have a different opinion, being rude, being a bully” as supporters cheered him on, Frost said. “And we know the majority of people in this state are not in line with that type of governance and that type of thinking, and I truly believe that’s part of what led us to victory here.”

Frost, who campaigned on gun control and Medicare for all and won high-profile endorsements from progressive U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, beat out a crowded cast of Democrats who ran for the seat in Florida’s 10th Congressional District, which includes the Orlando area.

He will compete against Republican army veteran Calvin Wimbish in November for the seat, left open when Val Demings decided to run for U.S. Senate. The district is considered reliably Democratic, making Frost a favorite this fall to become the first member of Congress from Gen Z, those born after 1996.

On his website, Frost detailed his Cuban heritage, noting his mother put him up for adoption after she was “caught in a cycle of drugs, crime, and violence while pregnant” without health care. He also wrote about experiencing “police abuse firsthand” and gun violence in his community, while highlighting his activism work around voting, abortion and guns.

Frost’s victory on Tuesday came over a crowded field that included experienced Democrats, including former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, who was in Congress from 1993 to 2017 and was convicted of a federal tax charge, and the former congressman Alan Grayson, whose inflammatory comments have generated headlines.

“Don’t count out young people. Don’t count us out just because we’re young,” Frost said. “When young people have the resources, training that they need and support, they can really flourish.”