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United States Congressman

curt clawson

Congressman Curt Clawson has been coming to Southwest Florida since his family settled in Bonita Springs in 1993. After a successful career as a business leader and former college basketball player, Clawson moved to Southwest Florida in 2011. He soon became involved in local water issues.  

Urged by local leaders and motivated by his family’s generations of service to their country, Clawson decided in 2014 to run in a special election to fill the vacated seat in Florida’s 19th Congressional District.  Clawson won the election on messages of constitutional conservatism, growing the economy and unifying the Republican Party of Southwest Florida.  

Clawson was sworn into office by House Speaker John Boehner on June 25, 2014, one day after winning the special election by nearly forty percentage points. 

Born in Tacoma, Washington, Clawson attended Batesville High School in Batesville, Indiana – a hotbed of Indiana high school basketball. As a senior in high school, Clawson led the state of Indiana in scoring and was recruited by Purdue Head Basketball Coach Gene Keady, where he later helped his team win the 1984 Big Ten Championship. As a senior captain on that 1984 Team, Clawson is known for making the first 3-point basket in Purdue history and making two clutch free throws to clinch the Big Ten Championship.

After graduating from Purdue, Clawson served a year-long Ambassadorial Scholarship for Rotary International, enrolled in graduate MBA studies in Monterrey, Mexico, and took some time to play for the local university basketball team. Clawson began his working career in manufacturing in 1986, as a supervisor on a muffler production line in Columbus, Indiana for Arvin Industries – the world’s largest manufacturer of automotive exhaust systems.

In 1990, Clawson graduated from Harvard Business School with a Masters of Business Administration degree, sponsored by Arvin. He returned to Arvin and held a variety of senior management level positions. 

In 1995, Clawson joined AlliedSignal (now Honeywell) as President of the Filters and Spark Plugs Group, which manufactured Autolite® spark plugs and FRAM® filters.  In 1999, he became President and Chief Operating Officer of American National Can – the world's largest manufacturer of beverage cans.

In 2001, Clawson joined Hayes Lemmerz International, Inc., a global leader in wheel rim manufacturing.  He served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company from September 2001 until his retirement in February 2012.  During his time at Hayes, Clawson successfully led the company out of the financial distress he inherited – without taking one penny of taxpayer money – saving thousands of jobs.

While at Hayes, Clawson established, and still principally funds, a shelter for homeless teen mothers on the east side of Detroit. He also stays active advising and mentoring young athletes in Southwest Florida. 

Clawson’s parents, Jack and Cherie, are residents of Bonita Springs.  When not in Washington, Curt enjoys spending time with them during the autumn of their lives. Together, they enjoy walking the beach, swimming in the Gulf, and watching beautiful sunsets.    Read More

Press Releases

Clawson Introduces H.R. 4793 Everglades Land Acquisition Act of 2016

The Long-Term Solution to Massive Discharges from Lake Okeechobee is Water Flow South

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Washington, March 18, 2016 | David James (202-225-2536) | comments

WASHINGTON – Continuing in his efforts to bring relief for Southwest Florida, Congressman Curt Clawson (FL-19) has put forth legislation to implement the long-term solution to the massive discharges of nutrient-laden waters from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers. Clawson’s Everglades Land Acquisition Act of 2016 (H.R.4793) would allow the federal government, through the Department of the Interior, to acquire land for storage and a new southern flow way from Lake Okeechobee, to direct water to the Everglades.

The Everglades Land Acquisition Act would set aside $500 million for the Department of the Interior to purchase land south of Lake Okeechobee. While land purchases have traditionally been the responsibility of the State of Florida, this bill would serve as another option to get water flow back into the Everglades at the soonest possible date.  Many experts agree that storage and a flow way south from Lake Okeechobee are critical to move fresh water to the Everglades and Florida Bay, and away from Southwest Florida.

According to a March 2015 study by the University of Florida, which reviewed the River of Grass Planning Process and storage north and south of Lake Okeechobee, “[A]pproximately one million acre-feet (maf) of storage can achieve a 90% reduction in lake-triggered discharge to the estuaries, meet 90% of the Everglades dry season target, and provide approximately 350,000 additional acre-feet of annual flow to the Everglades.”

Upon introducing the legislation, Congressman Clawson stated: 

“Many folks in Washington and in Florida have been working aggressively already on short-term solutions to the massive discharges from Lake Okeechobee.  The Governor, the South Florida Water Management District, and the Army Corps of Engineers have taken admirable emergency actions during the current crisis to move water south to the Everglades In addition, the South Florida Water Management District has invested in numerous temporary public and private storage areas for water.  Moreover, Florida and the federal government are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in a series of projects to store water north and south of Lake Okeechobee to restore the Everglades to a more natural state.  This needed restoration is just one part of the puzzle, and while those projects continue we must break ground on the long-term solution:  more water flowing south into the Everglades and Florida Bay.

“Many experts agree, and the science backs it up, that water north of the Everglades should move south through the River of Grass.  This legislation is simply restoring part of the natural plan for the Everglades, which allows for increased filtration and hydration for the southern Everglades and Florida Bay.

“As I travel throughout Southwest Florida I am heartbroken by the ecological and economic disaster caused by the heavy rains and these discharges.  My hope is that elected officials at the federal, state and local level can build on what they started and join this path forward to move water south to protect our way of life in Florida for generations to come.”

Clawson is already leading a bipartisan team, which introduced his legislation to expedite repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike by December 31, 2020.  The Dike legislation would bring needed short-term relief to the massive discharges from Lake Okeechobee, while the long-term solutions are implemented.  Clawson’s Dike legislation was introduced in conjunction with Governor Rick Scott’s State of Emergency declaration, to expedite the repairs on the Herbert Hoover Dike in order to increase its storage capacity.

Clawson’s bills follow coordinated meetings with state, local, and federal officials and stakeholder groups regarding the necessary actions that can be taken to reduce the discharges from Lake Okeechobee and restore the Everglades.  Clawson has long supported the full implementation of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP).

Following the bill’s introduction today, the Everglades Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Eric Eikenberg, stated: 

"Congressman Clawson clearly understands the need to reconnect Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay.  By storing and sending water south, Mr. Clawson's constituents will see a significant reduction in the harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee that cause economic and ecological damage.  Florida taxpayers will soon cross $3 billion in spending to create and expand man-made wetlands to clean up polluted water south of Lake Okeechobee.  As is outlined in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), water storage south of Lake O is tremendously important.”  


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