Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Welfare reformer, former Republican U.S. Rep Clay Shaw dies at 74

Former U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw died in Fort Lauderdale.

Former U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw died in Fort Lauderdale.

TALLAHASSEE — Former U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw, a longtime veteran of Congress who helped then-President Bill Clinton achieve his goal of ending "welfare as we know it," has died following a lengthy battle with lung cancer.

Shaw's family said in a statement that he died Tuesday night at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale. He was 74.

Shaw spent 26 years in Washington and was among the first in a line of Republicans who helped transform Florida from a state dominated by just one political party into the battleground state it is today.

He held positions in the city of Fort Lauderdale, including mayor, before riding into office with President Ronald Reagan in 1980. He survived several spirited challenges to his South Florida seat only to finally lose his spot during a Democratic wave in 2006.

"Clay cherished his time in the U.S. Congress representing the people of South Florida," said his wife, Emilie Shaw, in a statement. "He was a devoted family man setting a fine example for our 15 grandchildren. They will always be proud of Clay's love of country."

One of Shaw's standout moments was his role in helping shepherd in 1996 a contentious bill to reform the nation's safety net known as welfare. The measure put in place time and work requirements on welfare beneficiaries and gave states a much greater say in running the program.

Shaw had worked on previous efforts to change the program, but that legislation had stalled before Republicans won control of Congress in 1994. Clinton, however, twice vetoed welfare overhaul bills, prompting Shaw to complain at one point that the Democratic president had "caved in to the liberal wing of his party."

Clinton, who was running for re-election at the time, finally signed a third overhaul into law in August 1996 despite criticism from some Democrats that the measure would hurt the nation's poor.

Shaw, right before the bill was passed, said that the "the degree of success that we are going to have is going to be a victory for the American people, for the poor."

"He spent a long career in Congress trying to accomplish, without partisanship or rancor, what was best for the people in his congressional district," said former Republican U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, who once interned for Shaw.

During his lengthy career in Congress, Shaw also led an effort to eliminate Social Security earning penalties for working seniors, and he also pushed through federal legislation to help restore the Everglades

Shaw survived close calls, including nearly losing during 2000 election that saw George W. Bush win Florida — and the presidency — by 537 votes over Al Gore. Shaw, whose district included parts of south Florida that became the target of Gore's push for a recount, had to endure his own recount before winning by fewer than 600 votes.

His political career was finally derailed in 2006 by Ron Klein, who repeatedly criticized Shaw over Medicare, the federal health care program for the elderly.

Shaw was born in Miami and earned degrees, including a law degree, from Stetson University while also earning an MBA from the University of Alabama. He was elected mayor of Fort Lauderdale in 1975.

He is survived by his wife, Emilie, four children and 15 grandchildren. He will be buried in Cuba, Ala.

Welfare reformer, former Republican U.S. Rep Clay Shaw dies at 74 09/11/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 10:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Five ideas for party foods to bring to your potluck

    Cooking

    What's in a name? That which we call a casserole by any other name is still, well, a casserole. Generally a go-to for potlucks, casseroles are quick and easy to transfer, and they can feed a lot of people. But take a look at your next potluck table and count how many casseroles there are. You can change the game …

    iStockphoto
  2. Florida education news: School budgets, hiring freeze, new schools and more

    Blogs

    IN THE BOOKS: Gov. Rick Scott signs a new Florida Education Funding Program and several other education-related bills into Florida law. This year's new education laws …

    Gov. Rick Scott signed HB 7069 earlier in June, and on Monday added seven more education-related bills to Florida law.
  3. Palm Harbor bicyclist dies from injuries sustained in Bayside Bridge crash

    Accidents

    CLEARWATER — A Palm Harbor bicyclist died from injuries sustained last week when he was struck on the Bayside Bridge, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  4. Kremlin dismisses U.S. warning of chemical attack in Syria (w/video)

    World

    MOSCOW — The Kremlin on Tuesday dismissed the White House's warning that the Syrian government is preparing a new chemical attack and that President Bashar Assad and his military "will pay a heavy price" if it goes ahead.

    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, third right, prays on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at the Nouri Mosque in Hama, Syria, Sunday, June 25, 2017. [SANA via AP]
  5. EU announces record $2.7 billion antitrust fine on Google over search results

    Business

    BRUSSELS — The European Union's antitrust chief announced a record $2.7 billion fine against Google on Tuesday, saying that the powerful company illegally steered users toward its comparison shopping website.

    The European Union's competition watchdog has slapped a record 2.42 billion euro ($2.72 billion) fine on internet giant Google for breaching antitrust rules with its online shopping service. [Associated Press file photo]