The lack of urgency to plan for the future and take action on the crisis we can see coming is the biggest threat facing our nation.
As you read this note, the gun violence epidemic continues to take far too many lives, climate change damages more homes and devastates more communities each year, skyrocketing healthcare costs cut off many Americans from the possibility of their American Dream, and crippling student loan debt leaves people of all ages with little hope for the future.
Washington is not working for the American people, and these big issues need fresh eyes and bold ideas from someone closer to the people, so our voice can be heard. Together, we can fundamentally change our country for the better and tackle these challenges with actions that match the scale and urgency of this moment.
I do not believe that the best ideas come from Washington.
Far too many of our friends and neighbors feel left behind and deserve someone in their corner who will fight for them. This moment requires leadership that will set us on a path to put the American Dream within reach for every single person in this country.
I learned the values of hard work and pride of community from a young age. My parents immigrated to South Florida from Jamaica with just a 5th grade education, seeking greater opportunity for our family. My father labored for 16 years in the sugar cane fields of the Florida Glades after coming to the United States, and my mom would cook to feed the migrant workers. I was born in rural Pahokee, Florida.
Thanks to the opportunity this country provided for my family, the support of my parents and mentors, and lots of time and effort in class and on the field, I earned a full football scholarship to Florida State University, where I started at wide receiver and was a member of the 1993 National Championship team.
After my NFL dreams were cut short, my wife Angela and I built one of the fastest-growing, minority-owned construction businesses in the country and our projects in the educational and non-profit space have garnered national recognition, including from the U.S. Green Building Council for building one of the greenest schools in the Southeast United States.
I then went into public service, first as a city commissioner, then rising to serve as a two-term mayor of Miramar—one of Florida’s most diverse cities.
Today, Miramar ranks as one of the fastest-growing city economies in the country. We actively foster innovation and development, from starting an aviation expo and tech camps to expose young people to the tools that can solve the problems of today and tomorrow.
I am proud of our record in Miramar as we’ve:
- Passed a living wage for city workers.
- Helped jobs shift to our city from China by making Miramar an attractive place for business.
- Recruited companies with high-paying jobs to hire Floridians.
- Led the fight against the oil industry’s campaign to drill in Big Cypress National Preserve, adjacent to the Everglades and just a few miles from our city.
- Joined mayors across the country to oppose climate denialism and pledge to support the goals of the Paris Agreement.
- Taken on the Trump administration to protect immigrants, proposing our city as a safe zone for those who come to this country seeking a better life.
- Sued the state of Florida to protect our residents from gun violence and overturn a law backed by the NRA.
- Proposed and passed relief on water bills for federal workers who were impacted by the shutdown.
My college sweetheart, business partner, and better half Angela and I have been married for more than 20 years as we’ve built our lives in Miramar and raised our kids. Our three children, Wayne II and twin daughters Kayla and Kyla, attend college in South Florida.
Wayne shows Former President Bill Clinton around Miramar, Florida, September 6, 2016