Miramar, Florida mayor Wayne Messam announced on Thursday that he is joining the packed crowd of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders, releasing a video on his campaign website advocating for the long-forgotten American dream. Messam became the first African American mayor of Miramar after unseating a 16-year incumbent in 2015.
In a video released on his campaign website, Messam recalled his parents immigrating to the United States from Jamaica, saying the idea of the American dream is "real" for him. "I'm passionate about the American dream because it's not a fictitious thing for me."
"The promise of America belongs to all of us, that's why I'm going to be running for president -- to be your champion," Messam added. The Democrat claimed that "Washington is broken," listing problems like rising prescription drug prices, the effects of climate change and crippling student debt.
Messam, a former wide receiver for Florida State University where he was a member of the 1993 national championship team under legendary coach Bobby Bowden, went on to build one of the fastest-growing, minority-owned construction businesses in the country.
While lacking name recognition outside Florida, Messam told CNN on Thursday that under his leadership, the city has passed living wage legislation and has made great strides recovering from Hurricane Irma. He has also filed a lawsuit against the state so local mayors can advocate for gun control in their cities.
"These are issues that have national implications and I'm looking forward to be that agent of change for the American people and I'm so excited to launch my candidacy to be the president of the United States," he said.
The self-proclaimed climate-conscious business owner touted his projects in the educational and non-profit space in his campaign video for garnering national recognition, including from the U.S. Green Building Council for building one of the greenest schools in the Southeast United States.
Messam will be the second mayor in the 2020 field, joining South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg who has formed an exploratory committee for president. Messam will make a formal in-person announcement on Saturday, March 30 in Miami Gardens, Florida.