Maryland Del. Joe Vogel announces run to be second Gen Z Congress member

·2 min read

Maryland state Del. Joe Vogel (D) could be the latest member of Generation Z elected to Congress.

“We need a new generation of leaders in Washington who understand exactly what’s at stake in this moment,” Vogel wrote Monday in a Twitter post announcing his candidacy for an open Maryland congressional seat. “We just can’t wait to end gun violence, secure our rights, protect our democracy, and save our planet.”

If he is elected in November, Vogel, 26, would be the second member of Gen Z to secure a seat in Congress, following Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-Fla.), who was elected during last year’s midterms. Vogel would also be the first openly gay member of Gen Z elected to Congress and the 14th out LGBTQ person to serve in the current Congress.

Vogel, who was elected to Maryland’s state House in 2022, hopes to succeed Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. Trone, the multimillionaire Total Wine founder, announced his candidacy for Senate last week after incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said he would not seek reelection next year.

Vogel is the first Democrat to jump into the race for Maryland’s 6th, a Democrat-leaning district won last year by Trone with more than half the vote. The district also was at the center of last year’s redistricting debacle, with Republicans arguing a map approved by the state legislature’s Democratic majority gave Democrats an unfair advantage.

A Maryland judge last year blocked the map as “a product of extreme partisan gerrymandering” and ordered the legislature to draw a new one.

Vogel, if elected, would be the youngest member of Maryland’s congressional delegation by more than 30 years. The delegation’s current youngest member is Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who is 60.

“When it comes to lived experience, there is an entire generational perspective that is missing,” Vogel said Monday in an interview with HuffPost. “There is an entire perspective of a community — of multiple communities — that have been missing in the conversation.”

“The idea of waiting 15-20 years — waiting my turn as they say — while all these challenges continue to threaten our very democracy, reverse our rights and make our planet unlivable for future generations, that is just not something I can sit by and watch happen,” he added.

As a Maryland state delegate, Vogel has mounted efforts to address a nationwide teacher shortage, fight the state’s fentanyl overdose crisis and better respond to and prevent hate crimes.

In a campaign video released Monday, Vogel said some “political insiders” have knocked his lack of experience in politics.

“Some said a Gen Z-er wouldn’t have what it takes to get things done in Annapolis,” Vogel says in the video. “But we got to work and proved people wrong.”

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