First Generation Z congressman Maxwell Frost says he is part of the 'generation of mass shootings'

Maxwell Frost puts curbing gun violence at the top of his political agenda, along with tackling the housing crisis

Maxwell Frost may not have a permanent address in Washington DC yet, but that hasn't stopped hate mail from reaching him. "I got a letter a few days ago," he said. "And when I opened it, it just said: 'Screw it.'"

Frost hopes there will be enough backlash after he became the first member of Gen Z to be elected to Congress in last month's midterm elections.

But the campaign's heavy focus on gun safety measures has made the 25-year-old Democrat from Orlando, Florida, a marked man. The issue is critical to Frost, who refers to Gen Z as the "mass shooting generation." "It feels like I've been through more mass shooting drills than fire drills," he said.

Frost not only came of age with the many survivors of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooting, but invaded the nation with them to advocate for tighter gun control.

Shortly after Frost beat Republican rival Calvin Wimbish by a sizeable margin in Florida's 10th congressional district in November (which includes Frost's hometown of Orlando and many of the surrounding amusement parks), the gun-ridden nation was rocked by seven mass shootings. again in as many days.

That's why passing more substantive steps to curb gun violence was at the top of his list of priorities during his first six months in office.

"I think we have an opportunity, even in the Republican Congress, to pass legislation that could help raise money for societal violence intervention programs that help end gun violence before it even happens," he said.

He further asserted that any prospective piece of legislation would need to have a mental health component.

“People with serious mental health problems are often blamed for gun violence,” says Frost. “But as someone who has done work, when you look at the numbers, having a serious mental health problem doesn't make you more likely to shoot someone. It actually makes you more likely to get shot.

Frost intends to continue to put pressure on both Republicans "who hid child deaths" and on members of his own party who are otherwise reluctant to take bold action. “I would venture gun control to be the slowest moving issue in the federal government that gets the most media coverage when something happens,” he said. "I need to be a consistent voice."

You'd be hard-pressed to accept Frost's sudden rise on the national scene without flashing back to the rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AKA AOC) who, at age 29 in 2019, became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Like Frost, he boasts Latino heritage, has a working-class background, considers Bernie Sanders a close mentor and supports the left-leaning politics of most of his fellow Democrats. All of that made AOC an easy foe for the far-right as he joined forces with Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and other young liberals since then to mix together the informal progressive caucus known as Troop.

"We are experiencing the worst affordable housing crisis in the country"

Frost would fit quite naturally on that team. But he wasn't in a rush to join them or any other group this time. “You're going to have different allies in different battles and I think that's really important,” said Frost, who still has a lot of love and admiration for Troops. “I mean, Cori Bush sleeps on the steps of the Capitol and as a result, people don't get kicked out of their homes. It's a case study of how working class people and organizers in Congress are good for our country."

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