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Wayne Messam: Everything you need to know about the 2020 candidate

Wayne Messam.
Photo: Thaddaeus McAdams/Film Magic

Little-known Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam, the city's first black mayor and the son of a Jamaican sugar cane worker, has been contemplating a bid for the presidency for months. In January, he sought advice from political advisers during the U.S. Conference of Mayors summit in Washington, D.C., as the Miami Herald reported. He has also already consulted with potential donors, per South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Key facts about Wayne Messam

  • Current position: Mayor of Miramar, Florida, since 2015
  • Age: 44
  • Born: South Bay, Florida.
  • Undergraduate: Florida State University
  • Date candidacy announced: Messam said he is launching an exploratory committee on March 13, 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.
  • Climate change: Messam signed a letter that criticized President Trump for withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord.

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

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