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G. Harold Martin Award

G. Harold Martin Award

2007 Debbie Wasserman Schultz


Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s concern for children and working families first motivated her to run for office in 1992, where she made history as the youngest woman ever elected to the Florida State Legislature at the age of 26. Wasserman Schultz served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1992-2000 and in the State Senate from 2000-2004. On January 4, 2005, she was sworn in as a member of the United States House of Representatives where she continues her fight for the welfare of children and families as the Congresswoman from Florida's 20th Congressional District.


While Debbie Wasserman Schultz has made a name for herself in many areas, she is being recognized by the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the G. Harold Martin Award for her efforts to promote water safety and drowning prevention.


In the late 1990’s, Debbie became active with the Broward County Drowning Coalition and was primarily responsible for securing an initial special appropriation to help fund Broward County’s “Swim Central” in 1999 and subsequent appropriations.


“Swim Central” is a one of kind, county wide program that organizes in-school Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Elementary School water safety education and instruction. Since 1999, more than 120,000 children have gone through the SWIM Central program and over 1 million lessons have been provided.


In 2000, Debbie introduced and passed the Preston de Ibern/McKenzie Merriam Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act, which requires that all new residential swimming pools be surrounded by one of four safety barriers. The law was named for two beautiful children: Preston de Ibern, who was five years old at the time of his near-drowning and McKenzie Merriam, who was just eighteen months old when she drowned.

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