Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2006, 4th term.

Born: February 8, 1963, Gainesville, FL

Home: Palm Harbor, FL

Education: Attended St. Petersburg Jr. Col., U. of FL, B.A. 1986, Stetson U., J.D. 1989

Professional Career: Intern, U.S. Pres. Ronald Reagan, 1983; Intern, NRCC, 1984; Aide, U.S. Rep. Don Sundquist, 1985; Teacher, St. Petersburg Col., 1997-2001; Practicing atty., 1989-2006.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Greek Orthodox

Family: Married (Eva Lialios) , 4 children

Gus Bilirakis, a Republican first elected in 2006 to succeed his father, 12-term Republican Rep. Michael Bilirakis, came into office initially distancing himself from partisan fights and focusing on his legislative agenda. But in 2010 he joined the Tea Party Caucus, and since then has displayed a sharper rhetorical edge in criticizing Democratic initiatives.

Bilirakis (bil-uh-RACK-iss) remembers stuffing envelopes at age 7 for Republican Louis “Skip” Bafalis, who lost his 1970 bid for governor but was elected to five terms in Congress. In college, Bilirakis interned in the Reagan White House and went on to earn a law degree from Stetson University. He worked for former Rep. Don Sundquist, a Republican who went on to become Tennessee’s governor, and later was a probate lawyer and estate planner. In 1998, he was elected to the first of four terms in the Florida House. Bilirakis’ career has always been closely tied to his father’s. When Michael Bilirakis decided not to seek a 13th term, his son was presumed to be the favorite for the seat and drew only nominal opposition for the Republican nomination. Gus Bilirakis was not shy about running on the family name. He touted the relationship on his website, appeared on the ballot as Gus Michael Bilirakis and raised money from many political action committees that supported his father, who had had a seat on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Democrats recruited Phyllis Busansky, a former eight-year member of the Hillsborough County Commission and the first executive director of the state’s welfare-to-work program. Busansky played up her background in health care and senior citizens’ issues. Bilirakis pointed to his own credentials as a lawyer who specialized in elder law. In the legislature, he had also spearheaded legislation supporting community health care centers that treat the uninsured.Bilirakis’ soft-spoken style contrasted with Busansky’s assertive personality. She ran television ads portraying Bilirakis as a follower and accused him of relying on his father’s reputation. She trailed in the polls for much of the campaign, but gained some momentum in October after criticizing Bilirakis for his “deep and lucrative ties” to GOP leaders who had failed to act on knowledge of sexually explicit emails that were sent by former Republican Rep. Mark Foley of Florida to congressional pages. The national Republican Party did not leave this race to chance. President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Speaker Dennis Hastert all stumped for Bilirakis and helped him raise money. He outspent Busansky $2.6 million to $1.4 million, and won 56%-44%.

In the House, Bilirakis showed signs of centrism. Soon after taking office, he voted to increase the minimum wage. And in 2008, he worked with Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat, to win House passage of a “silver alert” bill to assist states in finding senior citizens who disappear. He was one of just 10 Republicans in 2009 to support a bill to limit executive bonuses in financial companies receiving government bailout money. But in 2010, he took the House floor on several occasions to denounce the Democrats’ health care overhaul as a “government takeover.” He denounced the law’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, a cost-cutting panel charged with slowing the growth in Medicare spending, as an “unelected bureaucracy” that would trample on Congress’ oversight authority.

After the 2012 elections, Bilirakis was given a seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, where he came under attack from left-leaning groups for earlier signing a pledge that “opposes any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.” The pledge was circulated by Americans for Prosperity, a group run by conservative activist brothers David and Charles Koch. As a member of the Homeland Security Committee, Bilirakis focused on trying to address bureaucratic inefficiencies. In 2012, he was among the panel’s critics of BioWatch, a system for detecting biological attacks that has been plagued with technical deficiencies, and of a proposal for a $744,000 soccer field for terrorist captives at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. On the Foreign Affairs Committee, he followed his father’s footsteps in standing up for Greek causes.

In 2008, Bilirakis had a surprisingly easy reelection against lawyer and former naval submarine Officer Bill Mitchell, who criticized his opposition to the financial market bailout and to a bill extending the renewable energy credit, calling him “a friend of Big Oil.” Bilirakis largely ignored the attacks and won handily, 62%-36%. He had even less trouble in 2010, winning more than two-thirds of the vote over Anita de Palma, a retired concert pianist.

Redistricting in advance of the 2012 election moved his district north to take in all of suburban Pasco County, but it remained strongly GOP turf, and he won easily again with 64%.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5755

(202) 225-4085

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2112
Washington, DC 20515-0911

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5755

(202) 225-4085

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2112
Washington, DC 20515-0911

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-5755

(202) 225-4085

5901 Argerian Drive Suite 102
Wesley Chapel, FL 33545-4220

DISTRICT OFFICE

(813) 501-4942

(813) 501-4944

5901 Argerian Drive Suite 102
Wesley Chapel, FL 33545-4220

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-5755

(202) 225-4085

7132 Little Road
New Port Richey, FL 34654-5514

DISTRICT OFFICE

(727) 232-2921

(727) 232-2923

7132 Little Road
New Port Richey, FL 34654-5514

DISTRICT OFFICE

(727) 940-5860

(727) 940-5861

600 Klosterman Road Room BB-038
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689-1299

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-5755

(202) 225-4085

600 Klosterman Road Room BB-038
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689-1299

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 606
Tarpon Springs, FL 34688-0606

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(202) 225-5755

(202) 225-4085

PO Box 606
Tarpon Springs, FL 34688-0606

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Jeremy Pederson
Legislative Counsel

Aerospace

Jeremy Pederson
Legislative Counsel

Agriculture

Kristin Seum
Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

Kristin Seum
Legislative Assistant

Thomas Power
Legislative Director

Budget

Kristin Seum
Legislative Assistant

Education

Kristin Seum
Legislative Assistant

Environment

Kristin Seum
Legislative Assistant

Jonathan Vecchi
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Finance

Joe Millado
Military Legislative Assistant

Jonathan Vecchi
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Foreign

Jeremy Pederson
Legislative Counsel

Govt Ops

Kristin Seum
Legislative Assistant

Thomas Power
Legislative Director

Health

Kristin Seum
Legislative Assistant

Thomas Power
Legislative Director

Homeland Security

Joe Millado
Military Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Jeremy Pederson
Legislative Counsel

Intelligence

Joe Millado
Military Legislative Assistant

Judiciary

Jeremy Pederson
Legislative Counsel

Medicare

Thomas Power
Legislative Director

Military

Jeff Hoberg
Military and Veterans Caseworker

Joe Millado
Military Legislative Assistant

Rules

Thomas Power
Legislative Director

Science

Jeremy Pederson
Legislative Counsel

Small Business

Kristin Seum
Legislative Assistant

Technology

Jeremy Pederson
Legislative Counsel

Telecommunications

Jeremy Pederson
Legislative Counsel

Trade

Jeremy Pederson
Legislative Counsel

Transportation

Jeremy Pederson
Legislative Counsel

Veterans

Jeff Hoberg
Military and Veterans Caseworker

Joe Millado
Military Legislative Assistant

Kristen Sellas
Casework Director; Military and Veteran's Affairs

Election Results

2014 GENERAL
Gus Bilirakis
Unopposed
2012 GENERAL
Gus Bilirakis
Votes: 209,604
Percent: 63.48%
Jonathan Snow
Votes: 108,770
Percent: 32.94%
2012 PRIMARY
Gus Bilirakis
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Gus Bilirakis
Votes: 165,433
Percent: 71.43%
Anita dePalma
Votes: 66,158
Percent: 28.57%
2010 PRIMARY
Gus Bilirakis
Unopposed
2008 GENERAL
Gus Bilirakis
Votes: 216,591
Percent: 62.17%
Bill Mitchell
Votes: 126,346
Percent: 36.27%
2008 PRIMARY
Gus Bilirakis
Unopposed
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (71%), 2008 (62%), 2006 (56%)

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