Florida congressman mourned as strong industry advocate

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U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw, a longtime Republican member of Congress in South Florida who helped repeal the luxury tax, died after a lengthy battle with lung cancer. He was 74.

“I am very sad to report the passing of a very good friend to me and to the boating industry, former congressman Clay Shaw of Florida,” Marine Retailers Association of the Americas director of legislative affairs Larry Innis wrote in an email to members. “He was one of the key members responsible for the repeal of the luxury lax.”

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 that it is today, according to an Associated Press report.

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," his wife, Emilie, said in a statement.

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

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