Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz To Discuss Government’s Role in Water Safety
Fort Lauderdale -
at The Swimming Hall of Fame on Saturday.
As part of the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s 43rd Annual TOYOTA Honoree Weekend, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will participate in a panel discussion on “Government’s Role in Promoting Water Safety,” on Saturday, May 12th, at the International Swimming Hall of Fame. The public is invited free of Charge.
The panel discussion will begin at 11:00 AM in the ISHOF auditorium, located within the Hall of Fame Aquatic Complex, 1 Hall of Fame Drive in Fort Lauderdale, one block south of Las Olas on A1A. The panel discussion will follow a presentation by Professor Jeff Wiltse about his award winning book, “Contested Waters: A Social And Cultural History of Swimming Pools in America, which begins at 10:00 AM. The eleven o’clock panel discussion will be moderated by Bruce Wigo, CEO of ISHOF. Other Panelists, in addition to Wiltse and Wasserman Schultz are Bjarne “Ike” Eikevik, president of “Swimming Pools by Ike” and past president of the Florida Swimming Pool Association
, Kelvin Juba, historian and consultant to the Amateur Swimming Association of Great Britain, Barry Shaw, President of the S.W.I.M.S. Foundation, a fundraising not-for-profit that supports Broward County’s Swim Central program, and Jim Ellis, swimming coach from Philadelphia whose life story was the basis of the recently released film, Pride
, starring Terrance Howard.
Wasserman Schultz is the 2007 recipient of ISHOF’s G. Harold Martin Award, presented annually to a recipient who has demonstrated long and exceptional leadership, insight and dedication to the water safety of children and the cause of making “Every Child A Swimmer.”
Born on Long Island, NY, Debbie Wasserman Schultz attended the University of Florida and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science in 1988 and with a Master’s Degree in 1990. Her concern for children and working families first motivated her to run for office in 1992, where she made history as the youngest woman ever elected to the Florida state legislature at the age of only 26. Wasserman Schultz served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1992-2000 and in the State Senate from 2000-2004. On January 4, 2005, she was sworn in as a member of the United States House of Representatives to continue this fight for the welfare of children and families as the Congresswoman from Florida's 20th Congressional District.
While Wasserman Schultz has made a name for herself in many areas she is being recognized by the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the G. Harold Martin Award for her efforts to promote water safety and drowning prevention.
In the late 1990’s, Wasserman Schultz became active with the Broward County Drowning Coalition and was primarily responsible for securing an initial special appropriation to help fund Broward County’s “Swim Central” in 1999 and subsequent appropriations. “Swim Central” is a one of kind, county wide program that organizes in-school pre-K, K, and Elementary School water safety education and instruction. Since 1999, more than 120,000 children have gone through the SWIM Central
program and over 1 million lessons have been provided. Today, there are more than 100 elementary schools that participate in SWIM Central
educational programming and transporting students to neighborhood pools for in-pool water safety instruction. The success of SWIM Central
has gained attention nationwide. It is the only program of its type in the country, which has heightened parent and community awareness and acted as a conduit of water safety programs -- benefiting many thousands of children, protecting our County's most precious commodity and our future.
In the Florida legislature, her tireless work on behalf of the Florida Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act helped to ensure its passage and has saved the lives of unknown numbers of toddlers from accidental drowning in Florida pools. More recently, in the 110th Congress, she sponsored legislation to increase the safety of swimming pools and spas by requiring the use of proper anti-entrapment drain covers and pool and spa drainage systems, by establishing a swimming pool safety grant program administered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to encourage States to improve their pool and spa safety laws and to educate the public about pool and spa safety, and for other purposes.