ENG: Gus Michael Bilirakis (born February 8, 1963) is the U.S. Representative for Florida's 12th congressional district, serving since January 2013. He is a member of the Republican Party. He previously represented the 9th district from 2007 to 2013. He has also served in the Florida House of Representatives.
Early life, education and career
Bilirakis grew up in Tarpon Springs, Florida, as 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. While his father Michael Bilirakis was a Member of Congress from 1983–2007, Gus helped run his campaigns.
Florida legislature - Tenure
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.
U.S. House of Representatives
In January 2009, Bilirakis was appointed Ranking Member (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.
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.
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.
On September 29, 2008, Bilirakis voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
Bilirakis will support a limit on consecutive terms in Congress should the House of Representatives consider relevant legislation.
January 24, 2013