The International Swimming Hall of Fame Gold Medallion Award is
presented each year to a former competitive swimmer for his or her national
or international significant achievements in the field of science, entertainment,
art, business, education, or government. There are no restrictions other than
the recipient must be an outstanding adult whose life has served as an
inspiration for youth.
E. Clay Shaw, Jr. is a leader. He is a 13-term U.S. Congressman from
Florida's 22nd Congressional District, which includes parts of Broward and Palm
Beach counties. His re-election over and over again is a reflection of his
accepted leadership style, commitment to his ideals and values and distinguished
political career to get the job done. As a youngster, Shaw helped develop
these qualities through participation in sport, as a competitive swimmer.
Born April 19, 1939, Clay was raised in Miami at a time when
Dade County was still mostly rural. His father practiced as Dade County's
first trained urologist, and the Shaw family owned and operated a tree nursery
in Dania. Originally purchased in the 1930's, the nursery is still in
As a young student at Horace Mann Junior High, Clay took an
early interest in school athletics. Initially playing football and
baseball, his passion for swimming arose from unexpected circumstances.
After suffering a knee injury, Clay fell in love with swimming.
He energetically trained and became captain of his Miami Edison
High School swim team. He led the Miami Edison team against rival schools
in Broward County, including Fort Lauderdale High, where he swam at the famed
saltwater Casino Pool on Fort Lauderdale Beach. The Casino was the
predecessor of the Hall of Fame Pool where his children would swim growing up in
Fort Lauderdale. Clay would later go on to compete in the AAU Junior
Olympics. Recreationally, he was a lifeguard at La Gorce Country Club on
During his high school years, Clay met Emilie Costar and after
five years of dating, was married in 1960 while both were students at Stetson
University in Deland.
In 1961, Clay graduated from Stetson University with a degree
from the School of Business. His next step was the University of Alabama
where he successfully completed a Master's Degree and earned his CPA degree.
Then it was back to Stetson for a law degree, after which he moved his family to
Fort Lauderdale and entered the practice of law.
His service to the City of Fort Lauderdale began in 1968, when
he became Fort Lauderdale's Assistant City Attorney. He and Emilie were
busy raising their four children: Mimi, Jennifer, Doc and J.C.. Later that
same year, he was named Chief City Prosecutor and went on to serve as Associate
Municipal Judge from 1969 to 1971.
After reading Barry Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative,
Clay's interest in politics rapidly grew. In 1971, he was elected to the
Fort Lauderdale City Commission, serving as Vice Mayor form 1973 to 1975, and
later as Mayor for three terms between 1975 and 1980. Shortly thereafter,
"Mayor" Shaw became "Congressman" Shaw, following his successful campaign to
represent Florida's 22nd Congressional District. He and the family bought
a second home in Washington, D.C..
He first served on the Judiciary Committee, concentrating on
anti-narcotics legislation with measures to provide for a national drug
enforcement office. In 1988, he won assignment to the influential Ways and
Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives and since that time has
chaired the Human Resources Subcommittee, the Social Security Subcommittee and
most recently the Subcommittee on Trade.
Shaw's list of accomplishments during 25 years in Congress is
long and impressive. He has worked tirelessly to strengthen and improve
the Social Security system. He helped lead repeal of a provision that
penalized people who continued to work after age 65. He authored the
groundbreaking Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, commonly known
as the Welfare Reform Act and signed into law by President Clinton in 1996.
In 2002, the House passed a Shaw-sponsored bill to boost social security
benefits to widows and older divorced women. He is known around Washington
and the entire country as the leading voice on social security reform.
He is also co-author of the Port and Maritime Security Act,
which increased funding for the Coast Guard and other Homeland Security measures
at the nation's seaports.
Even after 25 years on Capitol Hill working on both national and
international issues, Congressman Shaw's gaze has not drifted from the South
Florida community. Congressman Shaw is the co-author the $8.4 billion
Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan designed to preserve, protect and
restore Florida's most precious natural treasure, the greater Everglades
ecosystem. Other endeavors of which the Congressman is particularly proud
include: rezoning Fort Lauderdale to accommodate the city's rapid population
growth; multiple beach re-nourishment projects promoted through his House
Coastal Caucus to ensure a federal role in beach re-nourishment; and securing
critical federal funding for the Tri-County Commuter Rail, Fort Lauderdale
Airport renovation, and the establishment of effective security measures at Port
Everglades. His subcommittee on trade has promoted expanded trade to Latin
America. He understands and supports President Bush's commitment to tax reform
and how it affects the family.
In Fort Lauderdale, he chaired the 1986 Blue Ribbon Citizens
Committee which oversaw the General Obligation Bond Issue approved by local
voters providing funding for the revitalization of Fort Lauderdale Beach, the
International Swimming Hall of Fame and Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex and the
creation of Riverwalk in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Congressman Shaw and his wife Emilie, continue to call Fort
Lauderdale their home. They have raised four children and 15 grandchildren.
For a quarter of a century, he has displayed the same passion for achievement in
Congress that he displayed so many years ago in the swimming pool.