The longtime Greek-American Congressman from Florida, U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis, was recently named “Florida’s Most Effective House Republican, according to the Center for Effective Lawmaking’s recently released list of lawmakers in the U.S. House.
Florida Politics reports that “The independent project issues rankings of lawmakers based on their ‘Legislative Effectiveness Score,’ which is calculated using 15 indicators that capture the ability of a lawmaker to advance their agenda.
“Bilirakis scored +1.713, the highest of any Florida Republican House member,” they noted.
Bilirakis, the son of longtime Florida representative Mike Bilirakis, stated after the accolade was given to him “My constituents send me to Washington to get things done on their behalf, and that is my primary focus as I work to better our community and the lives of those I serve.
Bilirakis prioritizes “Ongoing relationship-building”
“Achieving that goal requires ongoing relationship-building with all stakeholders.
“While I am never willing to compromise my principles, I do believe in working together to find common ground. I will continue this approach as I work to address the serious challenges facing our nation.”
The Congressional effectiveness study also showed that Bilirakis, who represents parts of north Pinellas and Pasco counties, including the Greek-American stronghold of Tarpon Springs, is “the most effective House member from the Tampa Bay area.”
Florida Politics noted that “overall, he scored as Florida’s second most effective lawmaker in the House, coming in behind Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch, who received a score of +2.828.”
Defense, health care, Greek-American issues addressed by Bilirakis
Adding that the Hellenic -American caucus member was the 12th most effective Republican lawmaker in the entire Congress, they noted that the issue most often addressed in Bilirakis’ legislation during the 116th Congress was defense.
He sponsored ten bills related to the issue, including one that was passed and has now been signed into law.
The native of Pinellas County also stood out for his focus on health policy, for which he sponsored six bills, including one that passed but was not signed into law.
The Center for Effective Lawmaking’s annual list is the result of a joint partnership between the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and Vanderbilt University.
This is of course not the first time that the veteran Congressman has been singled out for such praise. He earned the same accolade after he authored 27 bills that were signed into law from 2015 to 2018 as well.
Grandson of Greek immigrants represents Floridians after father’s retirement
The ranking means that Bilirakis ranked 32nd out of 437 Congressional representatives in the Lugar Center Bipartisan Index.
Last November, Bilirakis won his latest bid to represent Florida’s 12th congressional district, the area encompassing New Port Richey and areas north of Tampa. Raised in Tarpon Springs, the Florida native is the grandson of Greek immigrants, and has now been elected in the House of Representatives for the 8th consecutive time.
With 63 percent of the votes counted, Bilirakis gathered a 62.8 percent majority of the electorate against 37.2 percent, which went to Democratic candidate Kimberly Walker.
In 2006, following the retirement of his father, Michael Bilirakis, from the U.S. House of Representatives — and the seat that he had held for 24 years — Bilirakis entered the race and was successfully able to continue his family’s legacy.
A practicing lawyer, Bilirakis has made a name for himself as being a particularly active member of Congress, serving on the Energy and Commerce Committee and as Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
In addition, Bilirakis is also a member of the Republican Party’s Whip team, the Republican Study Committee, the Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus, and is a ranking member on the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Management, Investigations, and Oversight.
Bilirakis is also Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Task Force for the Republican Policy Committee, serves as a Co-Chair of the Congressional Military Veterans Caucus.
Of particular importance to the Greek-American community, Bilirakis is also a leading member of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, speaking out regularly on issues such as Turkish encroachments on Greek territory and the reconversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.