Who: Wayne Messam
Current position: Mayor of Miramar, FL
Campaign Website: http://wayneforamerica.com
Background: Messam attended Florida State University and played for their football team from 1993 to 1996. In 1997 he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems. He founded Messam Construction company before he was elected to the City of Miramar Commission in 2011. He later became mayor in 2015 and won re-election on Mar. 12, 2019, 16 days before he announced his presidential campaign.
2020 Campaign & Endorsements
Date Announced: March 28, 2019
Fundraising: $83,745 raised in first quarter
- Healthcare: Messam tweeted in March that, “Healthcare is a right — not a privilege. Far too many in this country are forced to decide between putting food on the table and paying for their prescription medications or visiting the doctor.”
- Immigration: In 2017, Messam took measures to combat President Donald Trump’s immigration policy within his city. He proposed regulations preventing immigration officials from entering city buildings and pre-kindergarten schools without a warrant.
- Environment: Messam stated in his campaign video that he supports taking actions to reverse the effects of climate change. “When our scientists are telling us if we don’t make drastic changes today, the quality of our air will be in peril, Washington is broken,” he said.
- Economy: Messam wants to relieve students of more than $1.5 trillion in debt from universities. “Every day people are graduating from universities with crippling debt, stifling their opportunity for financial mobility,” he said in his campaign video. Messam also supported a “living wage” for Miramar city, putting full and part-time workers above the state minimum wage.
- Criminal Justice: Messam wrote a column for the Orlando Sentinel in February, condemning politicians like Florida Secretary of State Michael Ertel for putting on blackface in the past. At the same time, he said that racial discrimination in the criminal justice system were missing from discussions about blackface. “People who face discrimination due to the color of their skin, are often obstructed by institutional barriers across our society -- from education and housing, to employment and healthcare, to voting rights and the criminal justice system,” he wrote.
- Gun Control: Miramar joined ten other Florida cities to sue the state over 2011 law, which asserts that if a city does so much as call a meeting to discuss gun-control legislation, officials from that city face a $5,000 fee and could be removed from office by the governor.“We can’t even propose or even enact public safety measures in our respective communities,” Messam said. “We think it’s punitive, we think it’s an overreach, and there needs to be a change—there’s no other reason why this penalty provision exists but to intimidate and chill lawmakers from enacting any type of regulation.”
Staffers report that Messam has failed to pay his campaign team.
This piece is part of our Election 2020 series. See below for more information on the most talked about Democrats challenging President Trump.