Presidential Campaign and Candidates



Wayne Messam 2020 AnnouncementRemarks: Wayne Messam Launches Presidential Campaign, Proposal to Eliminate $1.5 Trillion in Student Debt

Miramar, Fla. ó Today, Mayor Wayne Messam formally launches his campaign for President at Florida Memorial University, the only HBCU in South Florida, and rolls out his plan to resolve the student debt crisis.

Remarks ó as Prepared for Delivery:

"Good afternoon, America!

"To my wife, Angela, my twin daughters, and my namesake...

"As many of you may now know...

"Iím the son a former contract sugar cane cutter. My immigrant father cut sugar cane in the Glades for over a decade, at times for only 75 cents a row of cane. My mother used to feed the workers in the migrant camp and later became a domestic worker.

"I was born in Pahokee, FL and grew up in South Bay. The area in South Florida affectionately known as the Muck. The lessons of hard work and self-confidence was instilled in me since I was a boy. My parents didnít make it an option about whether or not I would get an education. Because they knew, I could have a shot at achieving the American Dream.

"You know, The American Dream isnít ficticious to me, itís real. Hereís my story.

"National football championship with Bobby Bowden playing amazing teammates like NFL hall of famer Derrick Brooks, & Warrick Dunn. I even had a shot at the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals.

"After my NFL career was cut short, my wife and I started a construction business during the Great Recession

"Let me tell you about my first campaign...(city commission won by 30 votes - you canít tell me 1 vote doesnít matter - especially here in Florida).

"I then took on a new challenge, defeating a 16 year incumbent, then won reelection with 86% of the vote

"Now I know the national pundits and the status quo in Washington are asking ďwhy would a mayor run for President?Ē and ďis he qualified?Ē

"The real question should be what does Washington experience have to do with meeting the needs of the American people?

"Thereís a good reason that 2020 will be ďthe year of the MayorĒ. Mayors are on the frontlines of cleaning up Washington's mess.

"As Mayor I have:

"Beat out China to bring jobs to our city.

"Helped city recover from Hurricane Irma.

"Led the fight against oil drilling to protect the environment.

"Helped pass a living wage increase.

"Sued the state of Florida to fight for the right to reform our gun laws.

"During the recent government shutdown, I passed water bill relief for federal workers, to clean up Washingtonís mess.

"Recruited high paying jobs to put Floridians to work.

"Declared Miramar a safe place for immigrants.

"I'll put that record against any Washington politician on the left or right.

"Thatís why I stand before you todayÖ

"The son of an immigrant sugar cane cutter and a cook.

"A concerned citizen, sick and tired of being concerned.

"The mayor of a city with one of the nationís fastest growing economies, too morally disturbed by the state of our nation to wait my turn, too disgusted by the reckless and irresponsible behavior in the White House to turn a blind eye, too impatient with the pace of change, to sit idle while crisis after crisis piles up on the horizon...

"Today, I wanted you to hear first - I am running for President of the United States of America.

"Iím running because as Dr. King said ďthis is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualismĒ.

"Iím running for President so that my twin daughters and my son can grow up in a world where we face our challenges as Americans and spend our energy trying to solve them.

"No longer can weÖ

"Turn a blind eye to the student loan debt crisis.

"Accept anything but a short timeline to take action on climate change.

"Blindly accept that our country has a mass shooting nearly every single day.

"Fail to plan for the changing economy and the impacts of artificial intelligence.

"We are one nation.

"The American people are not ammunition to win a political battle.

"They are our only hope.

"Because of them thatís why change cannot wait.

"I'm running for President because our politics has become too small, our public morale, too decayed.

"It is time America leads the world again, and the only way we can do this is to go big. We must be bold and our foreign policy must reflect our values if we are to truly lead.

"We are capable of transformational change when we decide to work together as a human family.

"When we place the pursuit of happiness for every American as a priority, not just the ones we personally prefer.

"Americans may be the most blessed, but we have always risked that blessing for the greater good.

"Regardless of whether you worship God in South Carolina or remain in awe of the universe in Southern California, we all share the same heartbeat, the same need for clean air and water. The same desire to raise our children to be better than we were.

"We are inextricably linked and unable to detach from our greater humanity.

"Before they tell you that this is not possible and is all pie in the sky, let me tell you about the construction business my wife and I founded.

" I started a construction business from scratch with wife, scraping together our savings.

"Helped build green and climate-conscious projects, including the greenest school in the Southeastern United States, achieving LEED Platinum certification.

"I have overseen nearly half a billion in contracts, including working on the FLL airport.

"People in Washington talk endlessly about the need to rebuild our infrastructure and plan for a sustainable future, but have little to show for it.

"Well, Iíve done it and am ready to lead a nationwide rebuilding effort. Iím asking you to stand with me and together we can rebuild this great nation we love, from the ground up.

"My wife and I have been blessed to have the opportunity to create a successful business.

"We are eternally grateful for the opportunities available in America, and we want to make sure those opportunities remain available for all Americans.

"But as an American, it is my duty to keep it real and speak truth to power.

"Letís start first by addressing the elephant in the room that our country has not confronted head on: the student loan debt crisis.

"For many of you beginning your career, you carry a burden unlike any other burden faced by students of my generation.

"Weíre asking those in college today, those heading into college, and even those parents and grandparents who paid for their children and grandchildren to get a good college education, to pay off massive student debt as the price for the American Dream.

"This student loan debt crisis is not being addressed in at all Washington.

"I was lucky enough to get an athletic scholarship to Florida State University, but you should not have to be an athlete to get the opportunity of a quality college education in this country.

"On June 1, 1875, an article in the New York Times ran under the headline ďThe Expense of College EducationĒ.

"Apparently, the writer was beside themselves because parents back then were paying more in one year for their kids than four years of their own college education costs.

"Folks Ė itís 2019. More than 140 years later, we still have not solved the problem.

"We are still hitting our heads on the same issue and building towards an avoidable crisis that will negatively impact our economy.

"It is immoral for this country to require our citizens to take on tens of thousands of dollars of debt to achieve the American Dream.

"Here are the facts:

"Our education system is a ďdebt trapĒ for young Americans that will keep them struggling through their senior years.

"Over 45 million Americans owe more than $1.5 trillion in private and public debt - an amount that doubled in just ten years.

ďThe average loan for a four-year degree is nearly $30,000.

"Over 2.7 million Americans carry $100,000 in student loan debt.

"This is the second largest pool of consumer debt Ė second only to housing.

"This isnít just a young personís issue. Itís devastating even the young at heart.

"Student loan borrowers over 50 saw their debt increase by $28 billion in just one year.

"These are the facts.

"Now, letís discuss how we got here.

"The old truth remains that a quality education remains the best path into the middle class and beyond.

"The cost of a college degree has skyrocketed out of control.

"Mostly working class and middle class Americans are in need of student loans due to the lack of family capacity to support continuing their education.

ďMany entry level jobs historically require a college degree, barring entry to the job market.

"Many students who take out student loans often have to get a second job and struggle to make ends meet well into their senior years.

"Hereís my plan:

"I believe that Americans deserve a second chance to reach the American Dream.

"Before we can make college affordable for the next generation, we must provide relief to the one-in-four adult Americans now struggling with student loan debt.

"As president, I will push for national student loan debt forgiveness, paid for by repealing the Trump tax cuts for the wealthiest in this country.

"It is time for the federal government to cancel all federal and private student loans.

"The government would purchase student loans held by the private sector or assume responsibility for making payments on these loans.

"The goal is to zero out all student loan debt Ė regardless of the source.

"For student borrowers, either approach would provide immediate financial relief, freeing up an average $400 a month to spend, save or invest; and allow borrowers to begin building wealth at the same pace as their peers not burdened with student debt.

"Now I know, $1.5 trillion sounds like a daunting amount, but as the research shows, the benefits are significant and would benefit all Americans far more than the Trump tax cuts. It is clear the Trump tax cuts have fallen short, with slowing growth, rising deficits and most of the benefits going to corporations. Repealing this malignant tax cut and using the money to get rid of student debt would help all Americans.

"My plan would:

"Create 1.2 million to 1.5 million jobs over the first few years.

"Reduce the unemployment rate in a meaningful way.

"Add between $800 billion to $1 trillion to the Gross Domestic Product over 10 years time.

"Itís time we boost our economy and give Americans a second chance at the American Dream.

"To be clear, my plan would not only directly boost the economy, it would also help Americans rise across the board:

"Increase the number of new small business formed each year.

"Raise the number of degrees achieved.

"Bring more first-time buyers into the housing market.

"With your help we can put our country on stronger footing and immediately give Americans a second chance at the American Dream.

"Change cannot wait any longer.

"This is not the only crisis on the horizonÖ

"No issue hits closer to home here in South Florida than gun violence.

"30 minutes from where I stand we have had two mass shootings - Parkland and Fort Lauderdale Airport - within the last two years.

"I have had my own run-in with this new American norm of the threat of gun violence...

"In 2017 [Aventura mall mass shooting scare]...

"Christmas shopping and crowds began to scream and run for cover, police with weapons drawn...

" [I] Took cover in the back with a few store employees, police cleared...

"As a result of Washingtonís refusal to address gun violence, here is our new norm:

"58 precious lives taken from us in Las Vegas, 49 lives destroyed at Pulse in Orlando, the 9 brave souls murdered trying to pray in Charleston, the tragedy at the University of Iowaís Van Halen Hall, and the countless number of victims of gun violence in American streets every day - many whose names we may never know.

"The trauma of this epidemic doesnít go away when the shooting is over. One student in California survived one mass shooting only to be killed in another one. Here at home, survivorís remorse claimed the lives of two Parkland shooting survivors, and snatched the life of a father whose daughter was brutally murdered in Sandy Hook.

"How bad could it possibly get?

"When you have 96 people die from gun violence every day in America, and today, as I stand before you, there is no gun reform bill on the Presidentís desk.

"Washington is broken.

"When you canít take your family to a movie or drop your child off at school without wondering whether or not it will be the last time that you see them.

"Washington is broken.

"Iím running for President of the United States to change that.

"Hereís my plan:

"When Iím President, it will be the number one priority for my administration to prevent mass shootings.

"I believe law enforcement should remove mass shooting weaponry from the hands of those suffering from mental illness, those who have a history of domestic abuse, and anyone on the terrorist watch list.

"Itís time to stop playing games with American lives.

"We cannot wait to have safe communities and schools.

"It will be my goal as your President to cut gun deaths in half by the end of my first term, with the goal to eliminate this threat entirely by the end of my presidency.

"No half-measures, no tiptoeing in the water.

"If anyone, Republican or Democrat has a plan that would cut gun deaths in half and bring this threat to an end, I urge them to bring that forward and I will support it.

"Weíve been here before.

"In 1985, CEOs of major car companies opposed seat belt laws.

"Why should we expect anything different from big gun manufacturers?

"Itís time we demand action from our government to keep us safe from gun violence and replace politicians if they wonít get to work to make it happen.

"One more child lost to gun violence is one - too - many.

"Change cannot wait to protect our people.

"Of course, we have yet another big challenge on the horizon.

"Today, in 21st Century America, the leaders of the political party in power do not believe in science.

"How bad could it possibly get?

"When you have hurricanes all across this state intensifying and Miami Beach floods when the sun is out due to rising sea levels.

"Washington is broken.

"By the end of this American century, as many as one million Floridians could lose their homes due to climate change and cost the country $120 billion dollars per year in property damages.

"The largest wildfires we have ever seen engulf the state of California in flames and snatched moms and dads, babies and grandparents from their families.

"Yet, all we hear out of Washington are attacks on proponents of the Green New Deal and silence from those with the political power to save lives.Washington is broken.

"Iím running for President of the United States to take direct climate action to change that.

"This is not just a coastal issue.

"Sections of the Midwest would see their ability to produce corn drop by 75% and 25% of soybean crop production could be at risk.

"Even this administrationís own reports say we if we donít act now, we could have irreversible damage to the air we breathe and the water we drink.

"Change canít wait.

"Iíve built a construction business overseeing nearly a half a billion dollars in projects and I helped build the greenest school in Florida, so I know how to create jobs taking action to prevent climate change.

"Hereís my plan:

"When Iím President, my administration will make it a priority to lead the world and take bold, direct, climate action that will rival the New Deal in scope, rise to the scale of this challenge, apply the urgency required to get the job done in ten years.

"Itís time we level with the American people.

"We can build the economy and solve the threat of climate change.

"Climate change is not a hoax. It is the premier danger to our very existence and the future of our children and grandchildren.

"We share this planet with every human in the world.

"It is time we live up to being good stewards of our environment.

"We cannot wait to lead the world.

"Change canít wait.

"Now some of you all may have seen me on Thursday debating with our friends on Fox News about the economy.

"The host of the show repeatedly asked me to pat Trump on the back for the economy

"I refused to do so.

"Hereís why:

"When you have Americans working two and three jobs to make ends meetÖWashington is broken.

"When senior citizens canít afford life saving medicine...

"Washington is broken.

"When big corporations take large tax cuts and refuse to provide a living wage for their workers...

"Washington is broken.

"Let me tell you about my record as a Mayor.

"There is a company headquarted in my city of Miramar called JL Audio...[They] manufacture speakers.

"They had a manufacturing site in China, and wanted to expand marine division. They had a choice to create more jobs in China or my city.

"As Mayor, I worked with Republicans and Democrats to fought get those jobs back into the United States.

"In just 2 short years, they doubled their workforce in my city.

"This story is proof that not only can we beat out China to create jobs here in America, but we can do this all over the nation.

"And if you give me the opportunity to serve as your President, we will.

"The challenge is larger than just the fight to create American jobs.

"Recently, The Chinese Communist Party published a manifesto of ambition on the front page of a daily newspaper. It read - and I quote:

"The world needs China, as all humans are living in a community with a shared future ... That creates broad strategic room for our efforts to uphold peace and development - and gain an advantage.Ē

"Meanwhile, we never know if the United States government is shutdown or open for business.

"Iím running for President, because the time to live up to our potential is now, not tomorrow.

"The future is happening every day and we are ill-prepared.

"It should be illegal to shut down the government and hurt American workers and families.

"Under my administration we would bring unnecessary uncertainty for American workers and businesses to an end.

"Four years ago, the president inherited the Obama economy with historic growth from the depths of a recession.

"Nearly years later, this administration has done next to nothing to prepare us for the future.

"All the while, reports surface that scientists in China created the first gene-edited babies, a process that challenges the moral and ethical leadership of the world.

"Instead of preparing us for the future, they decided to give millions in tax breaks to big corporations, who then turned around and cut jobs and laid off workers.

"When Iím President, repealing the Trump tax breaks for the wealthy will be on the top of my agenda.

"Iíve built a small business, and as Mayor, overseen one of the fastest growing economies in the nation. I know how to create jobs.

"Itís time we had a President who invests in training the entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow.

"The future holds an economy where every American is able to take his or her talent directly to market.

"We have seen the rise of ride sharing and home sharing, cryptocurrency and digital collectibles, yet we still train our workforce for jobs that will be replaced by artificial intelligence.

"When Iím President, we will establish an economic plan to soften the blow of the coming tech advancements on working and middle class Americans.

"And we will encourage young people to start their own businesses as a pathway to success and alternative to college.

"We should not just stand by while manufacturing jobs leave this country, leaving Americans holding empty promises.

"I have helped pass a living wage for workers, fought to attract high paying jobs for Floridians, and created jobs myself.

"Democrats donít need to be lectured on the economy when Democratic presidents oversee stronger job growth than Republican presidents.

"Hereís my plan:

"When Iím President, any American who wants a job will be able to get it and it will be a federal priority to put Americans to work in high paying jobs, with flexible benefits so they can spend more time with their family and friends.

"Success in the future means encouraging ďsmart workĒ.

"Letís bring back the creative American spirit.

"Now, we have discussed some of our domestic challenges, but my most important role as your President would be to protect our standing in the world and keep Americans safe.

"Iím running for President, because our role as an honest broker on the world stage has been damaged.

"President Trump befriends our enemies and makes enemies of our friends"

"On that basic principle, the Trump administration is failing to pass the smell test.

"The lack of long term peace and stability in the Middle East, so central to our nationís security, threatens the safety and security of our men and women around the world, our allies and partners in fighting terror, and our strategic economic interests.

"A major piece of this instability is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Every day this conflict persists is a more dangerous day for American national security.

"Our current failure to play a meaningful role in ending conflicts there is dangerously threatening our moral authority and standing in the world.

"I just recently returned from an independent fact-finding mission to Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron, and Tel-Aviv, meeting with top leaders from both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"I met with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, a mayor of one of the largest settlements, and the executive director of BíTselem - a leading human rights organization.

"I also met with the top negotiator on the Palestinian side who negotiated the Oslo Accords and the first woman elected to the Palestinian National Council.

"After hearing from the stakeholders who would be a part of achieving a two-state solution, I came away convinced that Americaís standing is suffering under President Trump.

"The negative impact of this situation can not be overstated.

"We are witnessing the decline of Americaís ability to lead in the Middle East.

"When Iím President, we will reverse this decline and restore true American leadership, one thatís rooted in both our values AND our national security interest.

"For the last two years, the Trump administrationís Israeli-Palestinian policy has been led by ideological actors who have taken actions detrimental to American interests in resolving this conflict.

"Based on conversations I held with a wide-ranging and diverse group of Israelis and Palestinians on the breakdown in talks, it became clear that the Trump administration is failing both sides.

"This is not a new conflict, but the moment now is acute. And the Trump Administration is making the situation much worse.

"Instead of rallying our allies to take shared responsibility in resolving the conflict, President Trumpís team has pushed them away by inserting its own hard right radicalism into a conflict fraught with the potential for a religious war.

"This counterproductive approach not only harms the Israelis and Palestinians who both want peace, but it also serves to strengthen murderous extremists, like ISIS, who recruit off our role in this crisis and directly threaten American interests around the world.

"Over and over again, Israeli and Palestinian leaders made clear to me their desire to negotiate directly for peace.

"And it's not just high-profile figures like the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset or the top negotiator for the PLO. Itís also the everyday Israeli and Palestinians - the people I met in Ramallah, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv - who quietly shared their hopes for a two-state resolution and fears of what would happen if the region were to disintegrate into an all-out religious war.

"There was the Israeli cab driver, so overcome with emotion that he had to pull over, swearing his love for his Palestinian neighbors and describing how their families care for each other.

"Then there was the Palestinian shopkeeper, who despite living under harsh conditions in the occupied territories, displayed both compassion and understanding towards Israelis.

"Regular people are suffering and deserve American leadership, not misguided ideology and partisan talking points.

"The actions of the United States in resolving this conflict should not just reflect the interests of a small minority of right-wing, ideological voices.

"As a result of President Trumpís short-sighted thinking, our standing in the world has become diminished.

"Because of the current approach, the Palestinian side has entirely withdrawn from talks and quietly, Israeli officials scoff at the chances for success of the Trump administration's ham-handed approach.

"The next American president must change course and instead serve as an honest broker and a true chief of our national security interests.

"We are not truly secure when our long-time friend and dear ally, Israel, feels threatened to the point of occupying and securing land as a permanent solution, instead of peace.

"We are not secure when the Palestinians - have been fully disenfranchised, undermining effective diplomacy, yet this is what happens when a real estate developer leads an insular negotiations process that prioritizes right-wing voices over all others.

"It is time for America to lead a serious negotiation, not the one we currently have.

"We are not secure when 53 percent of Palestinians live in poverty, including over 400,000 children.

"Unlike President Trump, I have walked the streets of Hebron with a former soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces and visited Ramallah. I have also enjoyed a beautiful meal in Tel Aviv and explored the ancient glory of Jerusalem. The Israeli and Palestinian people still look to us to help them resolve their conflict.

"A restoration of American global leadership will require a restoration of American respect for all people and all faiths.

"We cannot disrespect the humanity of people and expect to be welcomed with open arms due to our military might alone.

"Our true power has always been our tolerance and ability to find alignment with the broader brotherhood and sisterhood of our fellow human beings.

"As your President, I will never lose sight of that fact.

"Every generation gets one moment.

"One moment that defines who we become for centuries.

"This election is our moment.

"What happens in this election will provide a clear window into the soul of our nation.

"Will we fall prey to those who stoke our anger for their political gain?

"Or will we rise to our better angels and restore sanity, empathy, and real American toughness.

"As your President, I will champion change and opportunity for all people, not just the wealthy or well-connected.

"My message to the American people is simple - If you believe change cannot wait another election or another year - I want to be our champion.

"If you believe we should finally forgive student loan debt, if you believe we can take action on climate change on Day One, if you believe that healthcare should be a right, if you believe that military-style weapons have no place on our streets or in our schools, if you are tired of the old ways of doing things, help me take this call for change to the national debate stage right here in Miami in June.

"Iím not backed by big corporate PACs. We wonít have the most big donors, but your $5, your $10, your $20 can change this country for the better.

"Go to and give what you can and I pledge to never give up in this fight.

"Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America."

Source: Wayne for America


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