Michael Bilirakis

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Michael Bilirakis
Michael (Mike) Bilirakis.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 9th district
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Bill Nelson
Succeeded by Gus Bilirakis
Personal details
Born (1930-07-16) July 16, 1930 (age 87)
Tarpon Springs, Florida
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Evelyn Bilirakis
Residence Tarpon Springs, Florida
Alma mater University of Pittsburgh, University of Florida
Occupation Attorney, engineer, college professor, judge

Michael Bilirakis (born July 16, 1930), American politician, was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since 1983 until 2007, representing the 9th District of Florida.

Life and career[edit]

Bilirakis was born in Tarpon Springs, Florida but spent his childhood in Clairton, Pennsylvania.[1] He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh where he was a member of Sigma Pi fraternity.[2] 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.[3]

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.[2]

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.[4]


External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bill Nelson
Representative of the 9th Congressional District of Florida
Succeeded by
Gus Bilirakis