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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


It didn't take Clawson long to become thorn in GOP side

Ft. Myers News-Press

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Washington, Aug 4 | comments
by Ledge King
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It didn't take Rep. Curt Clawson long to become a thorn in the side of GOP leaders.

The Bonita Springs Republican, who won a special election in June, joined about a dozen of the House's most conservative Republicans this past week, including Michele Bachmann, of Minnesota, and Steve King, of Iowa, to make sure any effort to address the growing border crisis also prevents the Obama administration from processing any more children crossing the U.S.-Mexico line.

They said they'd support the border bill backed by House Speaker John Boehner only if GOP leaders promised there were enough votes for their companion legislation: a bill to prevent President Barack Obama from deferring deportations of young immigrants illegally in the U.S.

The influx of child illegal immigrants has increased dramatically over the past three years.

The conservatives' insistence forced Boehner to pull a border security bill from floor consideration Thursday because there weren't enough votes to pass it.

On Friday, the border bill passed 223-189 (with Clawson's support). It includes funds to boost border security, hire more immigration judges and National Guard troops, and house and care for the thousands of illegal minors held at the border.

Shortly afterward, the House voted 216-192 to pass the measure pushed by Clawson and his fellow conservatives.

Clawson said that measure is humanitarian (the trip that children are making from Central America to the U.S. is dangerous), fair (deferring deportations of illegal immigrants is unfair to those who have been waiting years to enter the country) and financially prudent (it costs money to care for the children).

"It puts a strain on the United States by having lots of people come that we didn't expect," he said. "So now we're in crisis mode. And any time that in an organization that we are in crisis mode, we overspend."

Democrats opposed the measure, saying it's not only inhumane to turn away children at the border, but the bill also would end up deporting young people who arrived here years ago as small children through no fault of their own.

Michigan Democrat John Conyers called it "one of the most mean-spirited and anti-immigration pieces of legislation that I've ever seen."

The bill is not going anywhere. Senate Democratic leaders have vowed to kill it and Obama said he would veto it.

Rubio on foreign policy

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida doesn't think much of President Barack Obama's foreign policy (no surprise there). Rubio said if he decides to run for the White House in 2016, he'd take a decidedly more aggressive tack as president.

First, the Cuban American from West Miami, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says he'd be much more involved in affairs of this hemisphere.

From civil rights and corruption concerns in Venezuela to financial distress in Argentina, this part of the globe has been largely ignored by the White House and the Congress, Rubio told reporters this past week.

"I'll get a lot of interest from (Florida Democratic) Sen. (Bill) Nelson and (New Jersey Democratic) Sen. (Robert) Menendez, and then you start running out of people who are willing to spend a lot of time focused on the issue because it doesn't have the kind of hot spots you find in the Middle East or other places," he said.

He also said he'd take a tougher stance with Russia in its conflict with Ukraine, with Iran on its nuclear program, and with China about its relationship with neighboring countries.

"The president's (2008) campaign on foreign policy was driven by the idea that the reason why we had these problems around the world was because George Bush was too involved, (that) basically we told people what to do far too often," Rubio said. " (So) we… allowed other nations to fill the void… and what we found is that, absent American leadership, what's created is a vacuum, and that vacuum leads to chaos. And you're seeing evidence of that everywhere."

Getting started

It's been a series of firsts for Clawson.

On July 17, he introduced his first bill, a measure to correct flood mapping errors on Gasparilla Island and Marco Island. The bill was first introduced by Rep. Connie Mack IV before he left to run for the Senate, and was picked up by Republican Rep. Trey Radel, who resigned in January after a cocaine arrest.

On Tuesday, Clawson delivered his first floor speech, a defense of Israel's right to defend itself by going after Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

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