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Gold Medallion


E. Clay Shaw, Jr.

Swimmer - United States Congressman, House of Representatives


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 existence today.rams and volunteered his time and service to teach school children swimming. 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 Miami Beach.


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.

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