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Maxwell Frost goes to Washington

Maxwell Frost stomach ache. Or at least that’s the glamorous and unsuspecting reason the 26 year-old Florida Congressman gave me for being late. On a gray, sweltering day, I’m sitting with his younger campaign coordinator, Rayanne Anid 10, at the College Park Café, Orlando’s oldest restaurant. It’s the week between Christmas and New Years when most people are still hiding out in their pajamas, so we all have a little leeway in being on time.

Anid, a recent University of Central Florida political science grad, told me how she met Frost, who will be the first after being sworn in (in a week) Gen Z Congressman, presides over Florida’s

th Congressional District, which spans most of Orange County. Universal Studios and the people who run the surrounding tourism economy are crammed into the convoluted network of highways in the metropolitan area. After the shooting in Parkland, Fla., the leadership group was formed — and Frost worked for it for two years. When he announced his run for Congress in 2021, he invited several former colleagues to his campaign; for many, it would be their first. “I was still a graduate of UCF,” Anid said of those early days in the campaign, stunned by her beginner’s luck. “We basically never sleep!” Frost, I would find, has an innate charm and warmth; when he finds people he trusts, he tends to take them for a ride with a little persuasion.

Frost finally arrives, looking a bit flustered, but in a neat blue suit. He slipped into the booth and immediately ordered a coffee with milk. I sensed that the rest of the restaurant’s patrons were perked up by the presence of this imposing young man, whom they almost certainly recognized from the media attention he’d received in recent weeks. Before this fall, he had never had a photo shoot. Now, he’s done several things, including the one in this article. He described to me a surreal experience in which, while he was drumming in the garage, a leaf blower was pointed at his face and Annie Leibovitz roared in his general direction. “It’s just to set the mood,” Frost said with a laugh. “I’ve been playing the drums and she’s been yelling. I’m not sure if I should be yelling too.”

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