Gus Bilirakis

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Gus Bilirakis
Gusbilirakis.jpeg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 12th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Dennis A. Ross
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 9th district
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Michael Bilirakis
Succeeded by Alan Grayson
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 48th district
In office
1999–2007
Preceded by Sandy Safley
Succeeded by Peter Nehr
Personal details
Born (1963-02-08) February 8, 1963 (age 51)
Gainesville, Florida
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Eva Bilirakis
Children Michael, Theodore, Emmanuel, Nicholas
Residence Palm Harbor, Florida
Alma mater St. Petersburg Junior College, University of Florida, Stetson University
Occupation Attorney

Gus Michael Bilirakis (born February 8, 1963) is the U.S. Representative for Florida's 12th congressional district, serving since January 2007. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district, numbered as the 9th district from 2007 to 2013, includes much of the northern portion of the Tampa Bay Area. He has also served in the Florida House of Representatives.[1]

Early life, education and career[edit]

Bilirakis grew up in Tarpon Springs, Florida, but calls nearby Palm Harbor home. He was the grandson of Greek immigrants. His grandfather owned a local bakery where Bilirakis worked from a young age. He attended Tampa Bay area public schools and continued to work in his grandfather's bakery while growing up.

Bilirakis graduated from Tarpon Springs High School and St. Petersburg Junior College. He then attended the University of Florida, where he graduated in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in political science. He received his law degree from the Stetson University College of Law in 1989.

Bilirakis has a Tampa Bay area law practice, the Bilirakis Law Group, specializing in probate and estate planning, which he took over from his father, Michael Bilirakis. His father served in Congress from 1983 to 2007, and Gus helped run his campaigns.

Florida legislature[edit]

Tenure[edit]

Bilirakis was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1998 when he won the District 48 seat held for 10 years by Representative Sandy Safley, R-Clearwater, who decided not to run again. This district covers most of north Pinellas County, part of Pasco County, and part of Hillsborough County. He quickly became known as a consensus-builder who worked across party lines for the common good, as well as for focusing on constituent service.

Committees[edit]

During his tenure in Tallahassee (1998–2006), he chaired several prominent panels including Crime Prevention, Public Safety Appropriations, and the Economic Development, Trade, & Banking Committee.

Caucus membership
  • Congressional Hellenic-Israeli Alliance

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

Michael Bilirakis announced his retirement in 2006, and Gus Bilirakis immediately jumped into the race to succeed his father in what was then the 9th District. He defeated Hillsborough County Commissioner Phyllis Busansky in the general election with 55 percent of the vote. He has been reelected three more times with no substantive opposition.

Committee assignments[edit]

Gus Bilirakis meets with Diabetes advocate and former Miss America Nicole Johnson

In January 2009, Bilirakis was appointed Ranking Member [1](Lead Republican) on the House Committee on Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Management, Investigations and Oversight. In this role he is his party's top congressional watchdog over the Department of Homeland Security United States Department of Homeland Security.

Party leadership[edit]

Bilirakis is a member of the Republican Party's Whip Team and is Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Task Force for the Republican Policy Committee. Additionally, Bilirakis serves as a Co-Chair of the Congressional Military Veterans Caucus and the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues.

Platform[edit]

Official 110th Congress photo of Gus Bilirakis

Bilirakis has led efforts to enhance the United States' visa screening capabilities and has played a key role in efforts to strengthen America’s borders; most notably passing legislation to enhance the collection of biometric information from migrants captured at sea who are seeking illegal entry to the United States. He successfully placed legislative initiatives in the 9/11 recommendations bill that was signed into law to increase America's rail and public transportation security.

Bilirakis is also a leading sponsor of legislation to create a nationwide Silver Alert program. He is a signer of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge[2]

On September 29, 2008, Bilirakis voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.[3]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Michael Bilirakis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 9th congressional district

2007–2013
Succeeded by
Alan Grayson
Preceded by
Dennis A. Ross
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 12th congressional district

2013–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Michele Bachmann
R-Minnesota
United States Representatives by seniority
199th
Succeeded by
Bruce Braley
D-Iowa