Gus Bilirakis

Gus Michael Bilirakis (born February 8, 1963) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Florida's 12th congressional district since 2013. A member of the Republican Party, he first entered Congress in 2007, where he succeeded his father Michael Bilirakis, representing Florida's 9th congressional district until redistricting. His district includes much of the northern portion of the Tampa Bay area. Bilirakis previously served as the Florida State Representative for the 48th district from 1998 to 2006.[1]

Gus Bilirakis
Gus Bilirakis, official 110th Congress photo 2.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida
Assumed office
January 3, 2007
Preceded byMichael Bilirakis
Constituency9th district (2007–2013)
12th district (2013–present)
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 48th district
In office
November 3, 1998 – November 7, 2006
Preceded bySandy Safley
Succeeded byPeter Nehr
Personal details
Gus Michael Bilirakis

(1963-02-08) February 8, 1963 (age 57)
Gainesville, Florida, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Eva Bilirakis
FatherMichael Bilirakis
EducationUniversity of Florida (BA)
Stetson University (JD)

Early life and educationEdit

Bilirakis was born in Gainesville, Florida and grew up in Tarpon Springs, Florida, the son of Evelyn (née Miaoulis) and Michael Bilirakis.[2] He lives in Palm Harbor and is 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 J.D. degree from the Stetson University College of Law in 1989.


Bilirakis operates 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 legislatureEdit


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.


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 membershipEdit

  • Congressional Hellenic-Israeli Alliance

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit


In 2006, Michael Bilirakis announced his retirement after 24 years in Congress, 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 to become the district's second representative. He has been reelected three more times with no substantive opposition.

Committee assignmentsEdit

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

Bilirakis' committee assignments include:[3]

Caucus membershipsEdit

In January 2009, Bilirakis was appointed ranking member[5] 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 United States Department of Homeland Security.

Party leadershipEdit

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.[6]

In 2010 Bilirakis signed a pledge sponsored by Americans for Prosperity promising to vote against any climate change legislation that would raise taxes.[7]

On September 29, 2008, Bilirakis voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.[8]


On April 10, 2014, Bilirakis introduced the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act of 2014 Act (H.R. 4450; 113th Congress), a bill that would extend the provisions of the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (Pub.L. 111–145), which established the Corporation for Travel Promotion (also known as Brand USA), through September 30, 2020, and impose new performance and procurement requirements on the corporation.[9][10]


In 2014, Bilirakis had a cameo as a job applicant in the feature film Walt Before Mickey starring Thomas Ian Nicholas, Jon Heder, and Armando Gutierrez.[11]

Political positionsEdit


Bilirakis supports repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).[12]

On February 11, 2017, Biliarkis hosted a townhall in Pasco County, Florida where he was faced with several protesters angry over the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, when the chairman of the GOP in the county, Bill Akins repeated the now debunked claim that the ACA contains "what is effectively known as death panels." Biliarkis nodded in agreement and later told CNN that "The board exists, OK? And I've voted to repeal the board." Congressman Biliarkis seemed to equate the death panel with the Independent Advisory Board, a 15-member committee that issues recommendations for reducing healthcare costs, subject to congressional oversight and approval.[13][14]

In early October 2018, Bilirakis released a campaign advertisement touting his work fighting opioids in Pasco County, Florida. In the advertisement, Bilirakis took credit for a law he did not have a hand in crafting. The 30-second ad flashed text about a "Bilirakis INTERDICT ACT" as Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said Bilirakis is "giving us the tools to do our job and get traffickers off the street." The INTERDICT Act provides funding and equipment to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for detecting imported fentanyl. But Bilirakis was neither a sponsor nor one of 18 co-sponsors, making it unclear how it is the "Bilirakis INTERDICT Act."[15][16]

Tax policyEdit

Bilirakis voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[17]

Gun policyEdit

From 2015–2016, Bilirakis accepted $2,000 in direct campaign contributions from the NRA's Political Victory Fund;[18] As of 2017, Bilirakis has an "A" rating from the NRA, indicating a voting record that is generally pro-gun rights.[19] As a U. S. Congressman, Bilirakis has voted on several pieces of legislation pertaining to firearms. He supported H. R. 38, which would enable concealed carry reciprocity among all States if and when it is signed into law.[20] In March 2017, Bilirakis voted in favor of the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, which, if signed into law, would prohibit, in any case arising out of the administration of laws and benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs, any person who is mentally incapacitated, deemed mentally incompetent, or experiencing an extended loss of consciousness, of the right to receive or transport firearms, without the order or finding of a judicial authority of competent jurisdiction.[21] Following the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, Bilirakis signed a letter written to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives urging them to reevaluate the legal status of bump stocks, though no action has been taken as of March 2018.[22]

In the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, Bilirakis said that he would be willing to consider gun control legislation, "if that's what it takes."[23] Bilirakis said that, specifically, he would support more school resource officers in schools.[23] Bilirakis also announced his support for legislation that would "ensur[e] that those who are mentally ill do not have access to weapons."[24]

Nagorno-Karabakh warEdit

On October 1, 2020, Bilirakis co-signed a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that condemned Azerbaijan’s offensive operations against the Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, denounced Turkey’s role in the Nagorno-Karabakh war, and called for an immediate ceasefire.[25]

Personal lifeEdit

Bilirakis has four children.[26]


  1. ^ "Florida House of Representatives – Gus Michael Bilirakis - 2014 – 2016 { Crisafulli }". Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Ancestry® | Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History Records". Archived from the original on 2016-03-13. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  3. ^ "Committee & Leadership Assignments". Congressman Gus Bilirakis. 2017-05-19. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  4. ^ "Members". Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Current Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers Archived 2011-07-25 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-06-04. Retrieved 2014-10-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Bailout Roll Call". 2009-10-03. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  9. ^ "CBO – H.R. 4450". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  10. ^ "H.R. 4450 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Gus Bilirakis". IMDb. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  12. ^ Williams, Kathryn. "Tax bill debate reaches Palm Harbor". Tampa Bay Newspapers. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  13. ^ Bradner, Eric. "'Death panel' disputes erupt at Florida GOP congressman's town hall". CNN. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  14. ^ "Sarah Palin falsely claims Barack Obama runs a 'death panel'". @politifact. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  15. ^ Schallhorn, Kaitlyn (2018-10-11). "Florida congressman seemingly takes credit for opioid bill he didn't sponsor in campaign ad". Fox News. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  16. ^ McManus, Tracey. "Bilirakis takes credit for law he did not craft in new ad touting fight on opioids". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  17. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (19 December 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  18. ^ Grinberg, Emanuella (21 February 2018). "These Florida lawmakers accepted money from the National Rifle Association". CNN. Atlanta. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  19. ^ "Gus Bilirakis' Political Summary on Issue: Guns". ISPY. Vote Smart. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  20. ^ "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 663". U.S. Federal Government. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Letter to the Hon. Thomas Brandon, Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives – Bipartisan Letter to Ban Bump Stocks" (PDF). Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  23. ^ a b Staff Reports (27 February 2018). "Delegation for 2.27.18 — Insights from the Beltway to the Sunshine State". Florida Politics. Peter Schorsch. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  24. ^ "Congressman Bilirakis Issues Statement in Response to Tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School". Congressman Gus Bilirakis. U.S. Federal Government. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  25. ^ "Senate and House Leaders to Secretary of State Pompeo: Cut Military Aid to Azerbaijan; Sanction Turkey for Ongoing Attacks Against Armenia and Artsakh". The Armenian Weekly. October 2, 2020.
  26. ^ "About Gus". Archived from the original on 2014-12-08. Retrieved 2014-12-11.

External linksEdit

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

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

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Albio Sires
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Vern Buchanan