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|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 9th district
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Bill Nelson|
|Succeeded by||Gus Bilirakis|
July 16, 1930 |
Tarpon Springs, Florida
|Residence||Tarpon Springs, Florida|
|Alma mater||University of Pittsburgh, University of Florida|
|Occupation||Attorney, engineer, college professor, judge|
Life and career
Bilirakis was born in Tarpon Springs, Florida but spent his childhood in Clairton, Pennsylvania. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh where he was a member of Sigma Pi fraternity. He also attended George Washington University for a time. He earned a law degree from the University of Florida. Bilirakis served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War.
Bilirakis has worked in various capacities. He worked as a steelworker while in college in Pittsburgh and later worked as an engineer. Bilirakis spent the majority of his professional career as an attorney and also taught law classes. He served as a municipal judge in both Tarpon Springs and New Port Richey, Florida.
He made his first run for office in 1982, contesting the newly created and then politically balanced 9th District. He narrowly defeated State Representative George Sheldon by 4,300 votes. However, he was reelected with 78 percent of the vote in 1984 and was reelected 10 more times, never facing serious opposition. He even ran unopposed in 1988, 1994, 1998 and 2004.
His committee assignments include membership on the Energy and Commerce Committee as well as being vice chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee. He played a key role in enactment of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act and re-authorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act. He was the lead congressional sponsor of The Nurse Reinvestment Act of 2002 and authored the Organ Donation Improvement Act. National Journal's Almanac of American Politics called him one of the most "legislatively productive" members of Congress.
Bilirakis retired in 2006. His son, Gus, a Florida state representative, defeated Democrat Phyllis Busansky in the 2006 congressional race for the elder Bilirakis's House seat. Bilirakis is of Greek ancestry and is married.
In August 2009, Bilirakis was added to Governor Charlie Crist's short list to Replace U.S. Senator Mel Martinez.
- Still young at heart, Mike Bilirakis enjoys life after Congress
- "Founders' Award" (PDF). The Emerald of Sigma Pi. Vol. 89 no. 3. Summer 2004. p. 5.
- United States Congress. "Michael Bilirakis (id: B000463)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Voting record maintained by the Washington Post
- "Bilirakis Reflects on Career" in St. Petersburg Times
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|U.S. House of Representatives|
|Representative of the 9th Congressional District of Florida