Wayne Messam, the mayor of Miramar, Florida, announced Thursday that he’s running for president, joining more than a dozen other 2020 Democratic presidential contenders.
The 44-year-old Florida native announced his candidacy on CNN, accompanied by a YouTube video calling for “bold ideas and urgent action.”
“I’m the son of immigrants,” Messam told CNN. “My father came to this country from Jamaica as a contract sugar cane cutter, cutting cane for 75 cents a row of sugar cane, chasing the American dream. And I’m living that American dream. But I see that American dream slipping away for a lot of Americans.”
Miramar, located about 20 miles north of Miami, is home to roughly 140,000 people. Messam said that as mayor he’s been a staunch proponent of gun control, worked to stop oil drilling off the coast and guided his city through Hurricane Irma in 2017.
Asked why he’s the best Democratic candidate to beat President Donald Trump, Messam said it’s because “mayors get the job done.”
“We don’t have the luxury to shut down our governments,” he said. “When you look at what we’re doing in the city of Miramar in terms of bringing high-wage jobs to America, taking jobs away from China ― we’re actually taking head-on issues in terms of gun control, issues in terms of our environments. These are really important issues.”
Messam previously played college football at Florida State and started a “climate-conscious” construction company with his wife Angela.
He isn’t the only small-city mayor throwing his hat into the 2020 ring. Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced his candidacy in January.
Watch Messam’s YouTube video announcing his candidacy below.