WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, March 1, 2006, the Greek American Friends of Gus Bilirakis hosted a fundraising reception at Ozio Restaurant to support the Republican candidate’s campaign for U.S. Congress. Gus Bilirakis, currently a fourth term state legislator in the Florida House of Representatives, is running for office in Florida’s 9th U.S. Congressional District. He is vying to succeed his father, U.S. Congressman Michael Bilirakis, who is retiring at the end of this term.
“Gus Bilirakis is well on his way to achieving success and following in the grand legacy of his father, Congressman Mike Bilirakis, who is with us here tonight,” said Event Chairman Nick Larigakis. He also added that members of the Greek American community represented at the event “absolutely look forward to working very closely with Gus. No doubt he will be in the Congress, come 2007, to continue working on the many issues that are so dear to us: U.S.-Greek, U.S.-Cyprus relations, the rule of law, but also, of course, issues that affect us as Americans as well.”
Referring to his experience campaigning in the Greek American community thus far, Gus Bilirakis pointed out that, “We’ve been going around the country, and the support has been just wonderful, the reaction has been tremendous from the Greek American community.” He also noted his commitment to supporting the range of issues important to this group and underscored by Mr. Larigakis.
Gus Bilirakis has an extensive political resume, having begun his first activity in politics decades ago working on his father’s campaign, interning in the Reagan White House, and then working as a Congressional staff member. In his eight years in the Florida House of Representatives, he has chaired several high impact committees, including the Crime Prevention Committee, the Public Safety Appropriations Committee, and the Economic Development Trade & Banking Committee.
This range of experience provides Mr. Bilirakis with the solid background and exposure he needs to skillfully respond to constituent needs through effective policy making. Combined with his tremendous drive to become the next Congressman for Florida’s 9th District, he is well-positioned to meet the challenges of a seat in U.S. Congress.
“This is what I want to do. It’s a sacrifice…. But I know that a good part of the reason is that we need a Greek American in Congress, and there’s a huge void there to fill,” Mr. Bilirakis asserted.
Mr. Bilirakis’ parents were both in attendance at the event to demonstrate their support. Congressman Bilirakis underscored the importance of gaining a stronger Greek American presence on Capitol Hill.
“My biggest message to Greeks around the country… is to try to get young people, all Greek Americans involved in the process not only as candidates, but also to get involved in the network, to get involved in forming groups to communicate with whoever the Congressman or elected official is in their area,” stated the Congressman. Congressman Bilirakis is currently the only Greek American in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In addition to his political success, Gus Bilirakis has a thriving Tampa Bay area law practice, where he practices probate and estate planning to help seniors prepare for their future. He has been hailed on several occasions by different community organizations for his leadership, and has been named Legislator of the Year. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Watson Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Tarpon Springs Elementary School Business Partner Board. He is a member of the Elks, Moose Lodge, Masonic Lodge, Egypt Temple Shrine and the Order of AHEPA.
The event host committee included: Kostas Alexakis, Gus Andy, Thanos Basdekis, Nick Karambelas, Jim Lagos, James Marketos, Peter C. Pappas, Jim Pedas, Ted Pedas, Andreas Pericli, Gene Rossides, Savvas Savopoulos, and Ted G. Spyropoulos.