Despite his low name recognition, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam says his experience leading the city of Miramar and his ability to "live the American dream" makes him qualified to join the already packed field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders.
"When you compare mayors to Washington insiders, Americans see that mayors actually get the job done," Messam said during an appearance on CBSN on Wednesday. Messam cited his work in helping pass a living wage bill in his city as well as plans to forgive crippling student loan debt.
"When you think about the progress and the progressive issues we are tackling and solving in Miramar, I'm looking to take these issues nationally because the American people need someone who can champion these issues for them."
But Messam isn't the only mayor in the 2020 field. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, while still in the exploratory phase of his 2020 campaign, has been seeing a surge of support after securing over $7 million in donations in the first quarter of 2019.
Meanwhile, the Florida mayor, who said he dispatched police officers to respond to the deadly mass shooting in Parkland last year, said if elected, he would reduce gun violence by 50 percent the first 4 years in office. And by the end of his administration, he says he would end gun violence altogether.
"We cannot accept today the new norm that has come about in terms of mass shootings as well as violence on our streets," said Messam. "Action must take place right now."
Messam said since launching his campaign on March 30, his campaign has received contributions from 43 states and is "on its way" to reaching the Democratic National Committees requirement of 65,000 donors from 20 states in order to reach the debate stage.
Where Messam stands on the issues:
Medicare for All:
Many Democratic candidates have president embraced "Medicare for All," a plan to give all American government-backed insurance. Messam, meanwhile, said that he would propose his own plan that would "provide access to health care to all Americans." He called the Medicare for All plan "plausible" and said he would support expanding coverage. He noted, however, that he "also believes in choice as well."
"I think a common sense approach that provides health care coverage to all Americans is the best way forward," he added.
Messam said that the current crisis along the southern border is "just a symptom of how Washington has failed the American people." He said that right now, the country needs "comprehensive immigration reform" but did not go into specifics as to what that reform would entail.
"We should provide a pathway for citizenship to those who are contributing to our society," said Messam.
Messam said that he will be releasing his own tax returns and criticized President Trump for not releasing his.
"When you hide behind a veil of your financial business you never know who you're influencing, where your priorities lie. But I think it's important that the American people have some glimpse or some understanding of the financial standing of their commander-In-chief," said Messam.