Updated Mar 30, 2019

Wayne Messam on the issues, in under 500 words

Wayne Messam. Photo: Thaddaeus McAdams/Film Magic via Getty Images

Editor's note: Messam dropped out of contention for the Democratic presidential nomination on Nov. 20, 2019. Below is our original article on his candidacy.

Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Fla., the city's first black mayor, owner of a construction company and the son of a Jamaican sugarcane worker, worked to enact gun control regulations in Miramar and criticized President Trump for his plan to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. He also plans to create policy on student loan debt forgiveness.

Key facts about Wayne Messam
  • Current position: Mayor of Miramar, Fla., since 2015
  • Miramar: City in the Miami metropolitan area, pop. 122,041
  • Age: 44
  • Born: South Bay, Fla.
  • Undergraduate: Florida State University
  • Date candidacy announced: March 28, 2019
  • Previous roles: President of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials; elected to the Miramar City Commission in 2011; former vice chair of Miramar's Planning and Zoning Board; licensed as a General Contractor, and owner of a construction business, Asset Builders, focused on environmentally friendly projects.
Wayne Messam's stance on key issues
  • Gun safety: Messam has worked to enact local gun regulations in Miramar to make a 5,000-seat amphitheater in the city gun-free. He, along with 5 other mayors, sued Florida Gov. Rick Scott last year to eliminate a state law that penalizes local officials if they enact municipal gun regulations.
    • He is against arming educators and teachers with guns in response to school shootings, calling the idea "asinine."
  • Climate change: Messam signed a letter that criticized President Trump for his plan to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord.
  • Immigration: "We need comprehensive immigration reform. ... We should provide a pathway for citizenship to those individuals who are contributing to our society and the overwhelming majority of them are law-abiding individuals," Messam said on CBS, adding that reform should include working with Mexico on the issue.
  • Tax cuts: "We will repeal the Trump tax cuts that was given last year that hasn't benefitted the American people," Messam said on Axios' Pro Rata podcast.
  • Resolving the student debt crisis: In addition to tackling college and higher education affordability, Messam wants to provide relief for the nearly "one-in-four" American adults up against ongoing student loan payments.
    • He has proposed a one-time, in-full federal government debt cancellation plan, in which borrowers would receive confirmation that their debt was forgiven within 60 days.
    • He believes repealing Trump's 2017 tax cut package is the best way to tackle $1. 5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt. "By repealing the tax cut, we'll be able to erase that debt," he said on Axios' Pro Rata podcast.
Key criticisms of Wayne Messam
  • Local politicians rarely make it to the White House, and another mayor who has already announced his candidacy, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, has a larger national profile than Messam, in part due to his 2017 bid to head up the Democratic National Committee.
  • He has little fundraising experience.
  • He was under investigation for an inaccurate campaign report during his 2015 bid for the mayoral seat by the Florida Elections Commission.
1 fun thing about Wayne Messam
  • He was a starting wide receiver for the Florida State Seminoles during the year they won the NCAA Division I-A football championship, 1993. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1997.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the other 2020 candidates

Go deeper

We can't just flip the switch on the coronavirus

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It feels like some big, terrible switch got flipped when the coronavirus upended our lives — so it’s natural to want to simply flip it back. But that is not how the return to normalcy will go.

The big picture: Even as the number of illnesses and deaths in the U.S. start to fall, and we start to think about leaving the house again, the way forward will likely be slow and uneven. This may feel like it all happened suddenly, but it won't end that way.

Go deeperArrow13 mins ago - Health

The Fed rescues Wall Street, but Main Street is another story

llustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In less than a month, the Federal Reserve has unleashed a multi-trillion dollar tour de force to buoy the U.S. economy against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: While it has steadied the markets, the Fed is poorly equipped to offset the hit being absorbed by small business owners and the close to 17 million Americans who have filed for unemployment in just the past three weeks.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 1,605,548 — Total deaths: 95,758 — Total recoveries: 355,983Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 466,299 — Total deaths: 16,686 — Total recoveries: 26,522Map.
  3. 2020 latest: Top conservative leaders are concerned the Trump administration isn't addressing the virus' long-term economic impact.
  4. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under a CDC public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  5. Business latest: After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  6. 1 "SNL" thing: "Saturday Night Live" will return this weekend in a remotely produced episode.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.