Gus M. Bilirakis, Republican from Palm Harbor, was elected to Congress on November 7, 2006, to represent FloridaÃ¯Â¿Â½s Ninth Congressional District, which includes portions of Pasco, Pinellas, and Hillsborough counties.
Born on February 8, 1963, Gus learned about the importance of public service early in his life from his father, Michael Bilirakis, who represented the Ninth District in Congress from 1983 to 2006. The elder Bilirakis also instilled in his son pride in his family heritage and civic-mindedness, both of which Gus proudly exhibits today.
Early in his career, Gus volunteered on his fatherÃ¯Â¿Â½s congressional campaigns, interned for President Ronald Reagan and the National Republican Congressional Committee, and worked for former U.S. Representative Don Sundquist (R-TN). Gus earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida in 1986, and a J.D. from Stetson University in 1989. Gus then was a Senior Partner at the Bilirakis Law Group in Holiday, Florida, specializing in wills, trusts, and estate planning. He also taught government classes at St. Petersburg College.
Prior to being elected to Congress, Gus was overwhelmingly elected to four terms as a member of the Florida House of Representatives. 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, gaining valuable expertise that benefit his constituents today. 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 and being accessible to those he represented, traits he continues in Congress.
Also while in Tallahassee, Gus won bipartisan acclaim for being fair and accomplishing his key priorities. His leadership resulted in laws to make communities safer, improve transportation, reform government, recognize the sacrifices of AmericaÃ¯Â¿Â½s veterans, and expand the role that community health centers play in making health care more available to lower-income individuals.
In Congress, Gus works in a similar bipartisan manner to make homeownersÃ¯Â¿Â½ insurance more affordable, improve education, lower taxes, increase access to quality health care, protect veteransÃ¯Â¿Â½ benefits, ensure the long-term viability of Social Security and Medicare, make government smaller and smarter, and strengthen homeland security
His bipartisan work has also helped him to pass many of his own legislative initiatives in the U.S. House of Representatives and Congress during his first term In August 2007, President Bush signed into law a package of homeland security measures, including two proposed by Gus, which address public transportation and rail security. This marked his first legislative initiatives to become law as a freshman member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Currently, Gus serves as a Member of the House Committees on Homeland Security, VeteransÃ¯Â¿Â½ Affairs and Foreign Affairs. Additionally, Gus is the Senior Freshman Whip of the Republican Party and is Chair of the VeteransÃ¯Â¿Â½ Affairs Task Force for the Republican Policy Committee.
Gus lives in Palm Harbor with his wife, Eva, and sons Michael, Teddy, Manuel, and Nicholas.