Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam is the latest Democrat to join the 2020 Presidential race, making it official in a video released on Thursday morning.
Messam, who boasts little recognition outside of Florida, has some steep hills to climb in this particularly candidacy but the gauntlet has been tossed. And, like many Democrats, Messam has focused on the notion of repairing the American Dream for all.
“I’m passionate about the American Dream because it’s not a fictitious thing for me,” Messam says in the announcement video. “It’s real for me.”
To highlight his point, he references his parents, immigrants from Jamaica, who left their home country with just a 5th-grade education in search of a better life for the family.
The American Dream my parents sought when they came from Jamaica with just a 5th grade education is fleeting. Together, we can put the American Dream back within reach for all #ChangeCantWait pic.twitter.com/oHwrBsx5uH
— Wayne Messam (@WayneMessam) March 28, 2019
Messam also alluded to other hot topic issues, such as climate change and the cost of prescription drugs within his messaging.
“The problem in America as I see it is that we are not addressing these high-stakes problems that we must deal with today,” he said. “When you have a senior citizen who can’t afford her prescription medicine, Washington is broken. 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.”
Although Messam, 44, has yet to announce any formal policies, however, just last week – while he was still in the exploratory committee-phase of his campaign, an aide revealed that he intends to focus on a way to wipe out the more than $1.5 trillion in student debt that Americans already know.
“The mayor firmly believes you cannot just move to debt-free college when student loan debt is stifling the American dream today,” the aide told Buzzfeed two weeks ago. “We’re declaring it as an issue that threatens the economic security of this country. We don’t have to walk into another Great Recession.”
That idea is something that Messam also alluded to in his campaign announcement.
“Everyday people are graduating from universities with crippling debt, stifling their opportunity for financial mobility, that is what’s broken with this country,” he said in the video.
When it all boils down to it, Messam is hoping to build his campaign on the American people and their hopes and dreams to restore the confidence in the American Dream – something that Messam himself is tied closely to, not only through his parents but through his own experience.
After growing up in “The Muck” around Lake Okeechobee, where his father worked as a sugar cane cutter, Messam went to Florida State University on a football scholarship and won a National Championship while there.
He owns a construction business with his wife and unseated a 16-year incumbent to become the first African-American mayor of Miramar, all points that he touches on in his campaign video.
“America belongs to all of us. The promise of America belongs to all of us. That’s why I’m going to be running for president, to be your champion,” he said toward the end of the video. “The same prospects of the American Dream that my father was able to achieve, we need to bring that back for every American.”