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Democratic Candidate For President Wayne Messam Makes Case To Nevada Voters

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

In this Wednesday, March 27, 2019 photo, Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam, left, laughs with Stephen Turrisi, left, the director of training and technical services at JL Audio during a tour on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, in Miramar, Fla. Messam announced on Thursday, March 28 that he is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

It’s April 2019, some 14 months before Democrats pick their candidate to run against the likely Republican candidate, President Donald Trump. 

Eighteen men and women have announced they want to be the Democratic nominee - so far.

Nevada remains very important to candidates, especially because of its first-in-the-West status in the Democratic primary process. 

Many of those 18 candidates will be visiting, looking for money, supporters and volunteers. 

One of the first is Wayne Messam. He’s the current Mayor of Miramar, Florida, near Miami. He was in Las Vegas last week talking to representatives of the Culinary Union. 

Messam explained that his parents were immigrants from Jamaica. His father cut sugar cane for a living and his mother was a domestic worker. 

He got an academic and a football scholarship to Florida State University. After college, he played briefly for the Cincinnati Bengals but was cut before the season started. 

From there, he started his own construction company with his wife. 

A relative newcomer and almost unknown outside of the state of Florida, Messam understands he's a long shot.

“I realize the odds, but I’ve been fighting the odds all my life,” he said.

Messam believes his lack of experience in Washington politics is a good thing. 

“People see that Washington is broken," he said, "I’m not convinced that Washington experience equates to solving American issues because they’re not solving it.”

He said the experience he's received while being mayor would serve him well if he's elected. He said the same issues he's addressed as mayor, including the environment and building a friendly business climate, are some of the same issues the whole country is facing.

Another national issue that Messam has worked on in Florida is gun control.

He said there are several things that could be done to address gun violence that everyone could agree on, including a ban on assault-style weapons, a universal background check and keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them.

“If elected President of the United States within my first four years my goal will be to reduce gun violence by 50 percent. With the ultimate goal, by the end of my administration, to remove gun violence in totality,” he said.

Messam also wants to do something about student loan debt which he says is "crippling our economy." He wants to pay for a loan forgiveness program by rolling back President Trump's tax cuts.

Messam argues that the tax cuts only benefitted the very rich and corporations and those benefits never trickled down to middle -income and low-income people. 

“This notion that if you give corporations big tax cuts the corporations will invest back into people, time and time again, corporations have proven that they don’t do it to the point that they’re helping average everyday Americans," he said.

Wayne Messam, candidate for president

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.