Wayne Messam, the 44-year-old mayor of Miramar, Florida, told Joy Reid Sunday on MSNBC’s “AM Joy” that he’s confident about his ability to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020 if he wins the wide-open Democratic nomination.
“I speak directly to the issues that plague America. Just the other day I was on Fox News. I’m not afraid to go over on the other side to debate the critical issues,” he said, pointing to two of his top policy objectives, universal health care and student loan debt forgiveness.
On Thursday, Messam joined the crowded field of Democratic candidates seeking the party’s presidential nomination.
Miramar’s first Black mayor is the son of Jamaican immigrants who came to the United States with a fifth-grade education and the goal of achieving the American dream. In fact, his campaign messaging centers on helping folks achieve the American dream that he said is slipping away for many.
“I’m convinced that Americans will see the issues we are fighting for, in terms of making sure they achieve the American dream—the same American dream that attracted my immigrant parents from Jamaica to this country to allow me to live the American Dream. I started a successful business, passed a living wage in my city (of about 140,000 people),” he told Reid. “All these issues, when Americans get a chance to look at Wayne Messam they’ll see a mayor who knows how to get the job done, who speaks to the issues that directly impact their family’s and their lives, so that they could have a second chance at the American dream.”
Messam grew up in South Florida and played college football for the Florida State University Seminoles, from 1992 to 1996, as a wide receiver where he helped the team win a national title as a redshirt freshman. While in college, he was elected student council vice president as part of the school’s first all-minority ticket as a senior.
Messam served one term on the Miramar City Commission before becoming mayor in 2015 and winning re-election earlier this month. The liberal Democrat had a visible presence on Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president and Andrew Gillum’s 2018 run for Florida governor.
“Mayors get the job done. We’re closest to the people,” Messam told Reid. “This is the most wide-open presidential nomination process on the Democratic side in some years.”