Wayne Messam, the mayor of Miramar, Florida, is scheduled to begin his first visit to California as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday by speaking to the USC College Democrats.

Messam is set to speak to the Black Los Angeles Young Democrats on Friday.

Messam announced his candidacy March 28, with a two-minute, six-second video recounting growing up as the son of Jamaican immigrants in an area of South Florida known as “Muck City” due to the large quantity of muck, in which sugarcane grows, then going on to play football at Florida State and starting a construction company.

“The problem in America as I see it is that we are not addressing these high-stake problems that we must deal with today,” Messam said on the video. “When you have a senior citizen who can’t afford her prescription medicine, Washington is broken.

“When our scientists are telling us if we don’t make drastic changes today, the quality of air will be in peril, Washington is broken. Every day, people are graduating from universities with crippling debt, stifling their opportunity for financial mobility, that’s what broken with this country.”

Messam has called for the federal government to cancel all federal and private student loans, changing the health care system “from the top down and drive down costs for patients, including giving the government more authority to negotiate prescription prices for seniors” and investing “in training the entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow.”

Messam began his political career in 2011 by being elected to the city commission in Miramar, a city in Southeast Florida near Fort Lauderdale with a population of 140,328, according to 2017 Census Bureau figures. Miramar is smaller than Pasadena (142,647), but larger than South Bend, Indiana (102,245), whose mayor, Pete Buttigieg, is expected to announce his candidacy on Sunday.

Messam was elected mayor in 2015, defeating Lori Cohen Moseley who had held the post since 1999, and re-elected last month. He was the 2018 president of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials.

As mayor, Messam has prioritized bringing jobs to the city. He puts leading the effort against oil drilling in the nearby Big Cypress National Preserve and proposing making “our city as a safe zone” for immigrants as among his top accomplishments.

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