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Maxwell Frost projected to become first Democratic member of Gen Z elected to Congress

Maxwell Frost on being Gen Z Congress member
Congressman-elect Maxwell Frost on becoming first Gen Z member of Congress 05:10

Capitol Hill is about to welcome a whole new generation. Maxwell Frost has won Florida's 10th Congressional District race, CBS News projected Tuesday, making him the first Democratic member of Gen Z, and the first Afro-Cubano, to head to Congress. 

Frost ran against Republican Calvin Wimbish for the seat vacated by outgoing Rep. Val Demings, who was running for a Senate seat in Florida. CBS News projects that Demings lost her race against Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who has served in the role since 2011.   

"WE WON!!!!" the 25-year-old tweeted on Tuesday. "History was made tonight. We made history for Floridians, for Gen Z, and for everyone who believes we deserve a better future."

Maxwell Frost, a Democratic candidate for Florida's 10th Congressional district, participates in the Pride Parade in Orlando, Florida, on October 15, 2022. GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images

Frost, whose Cuban grandmother moved to Florida "with only a suitcase and no money," will not just be Congress' youngest member come January, but according to Politico, he will be the first Afro-Latino. 

Speaking to CBS News on Wednesday morning, Frost said "being the first Gen Z member of Congress isn't the reason" he decided to run, but said it was an "amazing" feeling. 

"It's a huge part of the story. Gen Z and millennials make up about a third of the country, but we're nowhere near a third of the government," he said. "And I think we need a government that looks like the country." 

Frost ran on a platform of Medicare expansion, ending gun violence, housing affordability and environmental justice. Among other things, he has promised to work to prevent pharmaceutical price gouging, develop a national task force to end gun violence, crack down on corporations that pollute the environment, and end federal subsidies that contribute to mass incarceration.

For Frost, he says his experiences at a young age have helped prepare him for his new role. But he said that doesn't mean that the older average ages of other congressional members are a hindrance – especially when it comes to issues like gun violence. What is really needed, he said, is bipartisanship. 

"For me, it's less about older versus younger and this and that. We saw President Biden sign into law the bipartisan bill to end gun violence," he said. "I think that was a great step forward. It's not everything we need, but it shows that there is bipartisan support to build a country where we don't lose 100 lives a day due to gun violence, to build a country where the leading cause of death for children is not gun violence."

"We just need the political will to move it forward, to literally save lives," he added.

Abortion rights are also a priority for Frost. 

"We need to protect states, especially that have Republican governors and state legislatures that are going to prey on the most vulnerable people and take away their rights," he said, adding that the economy and health care are also at the top of his mind. 

"There's a lot of work we have to do," he said. "I'm excited to join the caucus and fight for the world that I believe in and I really do believe a better world is possible." 

For a while it seemed that Frost might not be the only one of his generation headed to Congress in January. Republican Karoline Leavitt of New Hampshire, also 25, was running against Democratic incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas in her state's 1st Congressional District — but CBS News projects she was defeated.

He told The New York Times earlier this year that his generation has "a natural sense of seeing the world through the eyes of the most vulnerable" because of the circumstances under which they grew up. 

"I come from a generation that has gone through more mass shooting drills than fire drills," he told The Times. "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, because this is something I live day to day."

One of the core messages of his campaign was love, he told CBS News after he won his Florida primary — and that's something he wants to take with him to Washington. 

Gen Z candidate Maxwell Frost wins Democratic House primary in Florida 06:21

"We talk about love a lot on this campaign — the fact that if you love somebody, you want them to have health care, you want to live in a community free of gun violence, you want them to have a clean environment and all the things they need to live their lives with their families," he told CBS News. "I'm excited to go to D.C. and fight with him and the Democrats for even more and fight for the world that we deserve and the world that we want." 

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