Congressman Maxwell Frost Has Found a Home


Congressman Maxwell Frost has an apartment in Washington, D.C. That’s an unusual opener for a
story about a political figure. Still, Rep. Frost is not your run-of-the-mill congressman.

Of the 435 representatives who took the oath on Jan. 3, Rep. Frost received more national news than
most congressional freshmen. It was more than the fact that he was 25 years old, the youngest
congressman, and the first Gen Z to hold office. The focus was Frost’s inability to rent an apartment
because of his poor credit score.

“I have an apartment,” says Frost, with a charming laugh. “The housing thing blew up when I
tweeted about it. Honestly, I wasn’t trying to start something. I was mad that I didn’t get that
apartment and was frustrated. But I am glad it started a conversation on housing.”

Frost spent nights couch surfing when he first arrived at the capital, which lasted “a few weeks into
January, so I spent a few weeks without having a place.”

When asked how it felt to be singled out for that issue when he had made history as the first Gen Z
congressman, Frost is philosophical. “Anything you do that gets attention. There will be a certain
amount of hate, love, or indifference.”

Instead of being embarrassed, Frost welcomes the conversation. “We got stories from people across
the country about their renting problems and people in Central Florida. It’s one of our top three
largest issues in Central Florida. It helped people understand that I’m part of this community.”

Frost, who started working at age 15, had always had good credit, a work ethic his father instilled in
him. “It’s vulnerable talking about having bad credit. Before I ran, I was in a very good position
because I had been working since I was 15. I worked at SeaWorld and Publix, so I’ve always been
working and saving.”

Running for congress is a full-time job that requires money. “I decided to run, but it’s not meant for
people who don’t have much money.”

Despite the obstacles, Frost represents Florida’s 10th congressional district, the seat Val Demings
held before her run for Senate. A member of the Democratic Party, Frost began his political career
at the early age of 15, but he didn’t start with a burning desire for politics.

Frost attended Osceola County School for the Arts, a percussionist like his father, where he was a
member of the jazz and symphonic band. He also picked up his interest in politics from his father.

“My dad, he’d be watching Bill Maher. I would hear a bit at ten years old and then go to school,
find my conservative friend, regurgitate the same thing, and start some argument,” he laughs. “But I
always wanted to work in music.”

Sandy Hook Changed Everything

On Dec. 14, 2012, “It was literally before a concert. We were at this restaurant, we were eating, and
then I saw what happened at Sandy Hook on the television. It was breaking news. My life started
changing when I started learning about gun violence and how it impacts folks.”

Watching the images of children walking out of the elementary school with their hands in the air
was pivotal for Frost. “Seeing that gave me a lot of anxiety at the concert. I couldn’t play right that
night. I kept looking around, wondering if someone would walk in and shoot me and shoot my

That’s when Frost made the connection that would change the trajectory of his life. “I went on
Facebook and I found somebody named Sarah Clements. I messaged Sarah, and I said, ‘Hey, I’m
Maxwell Frost from Florida, and I’d love to help out.’”

Joining their efforts in D.C. was life-changing. It was through the lobbying, the vigils, and the
relationships he formed that “changed my life. It was like an emotional whiplash; that, coupled with
my upbringing and the foundation of my life, put me in a place where I decided to dedicate my life
to fighting gun violence.”

Frost returned from the Sandy Hook trip to Washington, D.C., with a new mission. At first, he had
difficulty finding what he called a “political home.” Frost found it in student government, focusing
on student advocacy, attending school board meetings, and becoming a student organizer.

Every year, Frost returns to the vigil with the Newtown Action Alliance and is a proud honorary
member of the Newtown-Sandy Hook community.

Mr. Frost Goes to Washington

His resumé reads like someone far more seasoned: Organizer with the ACLU, National Organizing
Director of March for Our Lives, active with Obama’s 2012 campaign, volunteered with Newtown
Action Alliance, an organization created in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School
shooting, volunteer for the Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Margaret Good campaigns. And
that’s the shortlist.

The moment he was elected, Frost hit the ground running. If he feels any hesitancy or imposter
syndrome, it doesn’t show. Despite his charm and warm smile, Frost will not back down from a
fight or mince words. It would be a mistake to be deceived by his youthful vigor. When he opens
his mouth, it’s all substance.

For example, when younger people ask how to become a congressman, his answer is wise beyond
his years.

“When I have someone asking for advice on how to become a congressman, first off, I validate the
excitement. I will not put a damper on anyone.”

“But then I say, ‘You’re telling me what you want to be, but what do you want to do?’ Most people
want to be this or that. My goals are to do something. It’s not about wanting to sit in a position of
power, to want to be a congressman. What do you want to do in this life?”

Frost is grateful for those who supported him on his journey. First on his list are his mom and dad,
his teachers, Russ Weaver, Paul Parker, and Molly Waldeck. And then there’s Bernie Sanders,
Representatives Anna Eskamani, Carlos Guillermo-Smith, and Barack Obama. “Growing up seeing
him speak, seeing someone who looks like me, and being young. It’s part of why I’m here today.”

Above all else, Frost wants to spread a message of inspiration. “We’re at a time where living in this
state is very difficult. We have a governor abusing his power to target and oppress marginalized communities, including working-class people. I would encourage people to keep the joy. In these
times, it is a radical act to be joyful in this state right now, and we’ll keep the fight.”

Now that he’s been in office for almost three months, is he getting used to being addressed as

“No. It’s not normal; it’s everything but normal. They say that when it becomes normal, then it’s
probably time to find another job. I agree. It is the honor of a lifetime to represent my home; this is
the community where I was born and raised. I’m still getting used to it, but I feel blessed.”


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Written by T. Michele Walker

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