Maxwell Alejandro Frost seeks to bring equity focus on renters rights, gun violence

Maxwell Alejandro Frost
The Gen Z politician will be sworn into the House today.

Orlando Democrat Maxwell Frost will arrive in Congress as the youngest member of the body. He also hopes to bring with him the concerns of working Americans nationwide.

Elected to Congress after winning a crowded Democratic Primary and later a General Election in a deep blue seat, the first Generation Z Congressman-elect has generated national buzz. He hopes to marshal that into policy change.

Enormous attention, for example, surfaced following his revelation he couldn’t pass a credit check for a Washington apartment despite landing a job with a $174,000 salary. He’s decided to couch surf until he starts receiving those paychecks. But he notes many Americans don’t have a light at the end of the economic tunnel in the next two months.

“I’ve had hundreds of letters and emails come in from people talking about their housing problems, especially renters and tenants,” he said.

He will try and focus on some kind of affordable housing solutions, such as a renters’ bill of rights.

He will also bring a focus on gun violence. Before his election to Congress, Frost for years was an activist with March For Our Lives, a youth driven movement that gained prominence after the Parkland shooting in 2018. In Congress, he hopes to be proactive, not reactive, in seeking ways to reduce shootings through community violence intervention.

He wants more federal funding directed to local efforts to provide for programs that discourage street and domestic violence. He points to many boxing programs that encourage kids to their aggression with gloves in a ring rather than guns in alleyways.

“It’s people who have relationships in the community who can help dissuade people from using a gun to solve their problems,” he said.

Frost also plans to work on the budget and appropriations level to rally bipartisan support for the arts. That’s especially critical in Central Florida, where a combination of theme parks, museums and performance venues attract and develop a sizable creative class.

But he also wants to to make sure that as more federal resources make their way into the cultural realm that it’s going to support marginalized people and communities. He’s not saying he will stand in the way of established artists winning commissions to do work in fine arts and cultural destinations. But he said the arts can elevate communities in need directly.

“I will be utilizing every tool to bring back money, but to bring it back in an equitable way,” he said.

Entering a minority caucus, the vocal progressive knows solutions will require working with both sides. His hope right now is that he will find Republicans interested in solving problems. For the moment, he admits feeling discouraged.

“When I look at the first set of votes I will take on Thursday, I believe it’s not so much about advancing a Republican agenda; it’s advancing an anti-Democratic agenda,” he said. “There’s just a ton of stuff that makes no sense.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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