Maxwell Frost is First Gen-Z Congressman

Luca Giobbio

In recent years, Generation Z has taken on a new, and somewhat controversial name: the school shooter generation. Since the Columbine massacre in 1999, an event often considered the first major US school shooting, more than 323,000 students in America have experienced gun violence at school. The 1999 massacre claimed the lives of 13 students and injured 20 others, happening just two years after Gen Z began in 1997. Many in our generation have lived our entire lives under the threat of school-related gun violence, and have become numb to the constant rate of shootings followed by little to no action. As Congress and the government continue to prove unsuccessful in effectively addressing the problem, many have lost hope in the vision of an America rid of school shootings. However, Maxwell Frost, the recently elected Representative from Florida’s 10th congressional district, has not.

When Maxwell Frost addressed his supporters on Election night this past November, he expressed how he was both grateful for their support and conscious of the responsibility he had been given. His campaign focused on common progressive issues such as access to abortions and healthcare and immigration reform. However, what made Frost’s campaign unique was its hyper-focus on addressing gun violence. As a national coordinator for the March for Our Lives movement, Frost has been at the forefront of the battle for stricter gun restrictions. He joined the movement shortly following its founding, which happened in response to the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in his home state of Florida. The shooting claimed the lives of 14 students and 3 members of the faculty while injuring a further 17 individuals. The Stoneman Douglass shooting has been regarded as one of the worst school shootings since Columbine and sparked nationwide protests that culminated in a march on Washington D.C. that garnered a turnout of nearly 2 million protestors.

Representative-elect Frost, who is just 25, enters the oldest Congress in US history, with an average age of 58 and nearly a quarter of members being over the age of 70. Although he will have limited influence due to being in the minority in Congress, Frost hopes to reinvigorate the national fight for gun reform. Shortly after President Biden took office in 2021, Frost advocated and secured $5 billion for community-based enrichment programs to prevent violence in local communities across the U.S. He hopes to build on this momentum by passing sweeping gun reform legislation aimed at restricting who can own a gun, ensuring that only those deemed fit may possess weapons capable of taking life.

Not only does Frost’s election represent a potential turning point in the fight for gun reform, but the fact that he is the first Congressman of his generation marks the beginning of a new era in U.S. politics. 2022 marked the first year that members of Gen Z could run for congressional office, making way for a new generation of leaders in D.C. Although Frost was the only member of Gen Z to be elected to Congress, his election not only brings an energized and capable leader to Washington but also provides the country with a glimpse into what the future may hold.

In the past three national elections (2018, 2020, 2022), the vote in many close races was decided by the young vote. The young vote typically consists of Americans ages 18-25, and the turnout for this group has been unprecedented in recent elections. While it is still quite early, the noticeable trend is that the youth of America is extremely motivated to participate in elections. If the trend continues, the power dynamic in our country will shift significantly toward Gen Z and the youth of America will gain the power to dictate their future, the future of our country.

The issue of gun reform is complex and has a long way to go until a meaningful and effective solution can be implemented. Nonetheless, the election of Maxwell Frost marks the dawn of a new age in American politics and in America itself. With a new generation slowly, but surely, earning their way in our society, it is only a matter of time before Gen Z’s dreams for a better future become reality.