Politics Maxwell Frost: Behind the Scenes (and in the Underground Tunnels!) at the Capitol with the Gen Z Congressman Get an inside look at our day with freshman Rep. Maxwell Frost, the history-making congressman featured in this week's issue of PEOPLE By Kyler Alvord Kyler Alvord Twitter Kyler Alvord leads PEOPLE's politics coverage as a news editor for the brand. He joined the publication in 2021 on the crime beat. People Editorial Guidelines Published on January 26, 2023 11:09 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Trending Videos 01 of 12 New Stomping Grounds Maxwell Frost. Cheriss May Newly elected Florida Rep. Maxwell Frost welcomes PEOPLE to his new part-time home: the U.S. Capitol. Between the velvet ropes where he stands, rioters marched two years prior in an attempt to thwart Joe Biden from getting the presidency. Now, Statuary Hall has regained some of its joy and sanctity, as tourists walk among lawmakers and business proceeds as usual. 02 of 12 The People's Person Cheriss May The first Afro-Cuban member of Congress knows that he's just one voice in a chamber of 435 representatives, but 26-year-old Frost is determined to use his seat at the table to ensure that a variety of perspectives are considered before legislation is passed. "You want that table to be representative of all the different plights, struggles, experiences, cultures, loves and fears that our country has," he says. While Frost may not be able to speak for every Afro-Latino, Gen Zer or working-class person, he will better represent those groups by sharing their point of view. "'Intersectionality' is the buzzword of the century, but it is really important." 03 of 12 Time Management Cheriss May Frost leaves the House chamber after finishing his final floor vote of the week. He has a quick break before attending a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and debates whether there's time to drop some things off at his office in an adjacent building. "Well, it is the Hispanic caucus," he chuckles, his posture getting decidedly more relaxed. "They'll all be late." Frost was ceremonially sworn into the Hispanic caucus at a riverside auditorium the night prior, with a large audience there to witness the members' induction. The congressman was a fan favorite — any time his name came up, the crowd roared. After the show, as fellow members of Congress departed the venue with ease, Frost got trapped by a photo line at the base of the stage. He stuck around for a while — unwilling to deny anyone access to him — and wrapped up by 9 p.m., exhausted but touched by the kind words he received between selfies. 04 of 12 Manners First, Politics Second Cheriss May Frost holds an elevator door open to let other passengers in as he begins the journey from the House chamber to his office. Asked if lawmakers on opposite sides of the aisle are cordial with one another when they're crammed in these tight spaces, the congressman says that — even if you can tell there's some underlying tension — most people are much less explosive in person than you'd expect from their social media posts and fiery floor speeches. "Someone could have a huge fight with Marjorie Taylor Greene on Twitter, and then the next day be walking on the floor and be in the same elevator," he explains. "My assumption from what I've seen so far is that they probably just wouldn't say anything to each other." He continues: "Outside of this building, like some of the things people have said to each other online, those are all fighting words. But there's a decorum here [in the Capitol]." 05 of 12 The Capitol Subway Cheriss May Frost takes a moment to hydrate on a quick subway ride beneath the Capitol Complex. The Capitol subway system consists of three private lines that allow members to quickly travel between their offices without going above ground. This particular subway line was built in 1965, and the people-mover's signature red seats have been occupied by a number of legends over the years. 06 of 12 Lobby Talk Cheriss May Frost runs into longtime Rep. Sanford Bishop, dean of the Georgia congressional delegation, while waiting for an elevator. In a chamber as big as the House of Representatives, there are a lot of people Frost still needs to get to know. He uses any chance he can get to become acquainted with a new colleague or say hi to the members he's already had the pleasure of meeting. 07 of 12 A Sweet Corner Office Cheriss May Frost enters his D.C. team's headquarters in the Longworth House Office Building, just across the street from the Capitol. For a freshman, he scored a pretty sweet deal: it's a corner office, meaning there are windows all around; it's newly refurbished, meaning the curtains and carpets won't aggravate his allergies; and it shares a hallway with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 08 of 12 Early Decor Cheriss May The congressman's staff has big plans for his office decor, hoping to "Florida it up" with artwork that feels like home. Before commissioning the art, though, Frost set up the basics. On top of a mini-fridge beside his desk sits a record player, where Frost spins some of his favorite vinyl throughout the day. Also in his office is a sentimental calendar he received as a Christmas gift from his younger sister that's equal parts emotional and fun. It's of his grandma, Yeya, one of his biggest inspirations who died weeks before his election at the age of 97. "Each month is different pictures of her eating," he explains. "We would go to restaurants and she would get a full branzino and eat the whole dang thing ... It was always a joke in our family that 'Yeya eats the most.'" And then there's the most notable piece of artwork, a larger than life banner handmade by Manuel Oliver, whose son, Joaquin, was killed in the 2017 Parkland school shooting. The painting depicts Joaquin and Frost, with the words, "Time to save lives! Get on board or get out of our way!" (Before running for Congress, Frost served as national organizer for March for Our Lives, a youth-led organization formed to prevent further gun violence in the wake of Parkland.) 09 of 12 A Quick Celebration Cheriss May Congressman Frost had plans to spend his 26th birthday working in Florida, but before he jetted off, his office wanted to take a quick moment to celebrate him. His scheduler and friend, 23-year-old Trinity Tresner, runs down to the House of Representatives gift shop to pick up some "gag gifts," and finds a small cake at Whole Foods that won't trigger any of his food allergies. "I just think everyone should feel celebrated," Tresner says, as she shows PEOPLE what she bought him: two pairs of socks, wine stoppers and whiskey glasses, each of which were covered in Congress-related phrases and pictures. 10 of 12 A Love-Filled Whiteboard Cheriss May While Frost is away at a meeting, Tresner also turns the waiting room whiteboard into a space for staff and guests to write kind notes to the congressman in honor of his birthday. It starts off a little slow, but by the end of the day, it's all filled up. Looking ahead, Tresner hopes to use the whiteboard as a place where people can leave uplifting messages or draw pictures for the congressman, to motivate him and the whole team to never lose sight of their impact. 11 of 12 An Unlikely Journey Cheriss May This time two years ago, Frost had never even considered running for Congress, but after multiple people encouraged him to vie for outgoing Rep. Val Demings' seat, he decided to take the leap. A working-class minority who's faced financial hardship, personal loss and the trauma that comes with fleeing from gunfire, he approaches lawmaking with resilience and groundedness. Frost doesn't expect to solve every issue, but he plans to use his unique position to do the most good for the largest number of people. "You need your basic necessities met to have true freedom in this country," he says. His job, as he sees it, is to help Americans from every walk of life secure those needs. "I think people should have the resources they need to find joy in their lives." 12 of 12 The Road to Washington Cheriss May To read more about Rep. Maxwell Frost's inspiring — and often light-hearted — approach to lawmaking, pick up a copy of this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.