Gus Bilirakis, a Greek-American from Palm Harbor, Florida, was named the state’s most bipartisan Congressman on Monday.
The honor comes at a time when US politics are particularly divided, and bipartisan agreement on many issues seems nearly impossible.
The Republican congressman ranked 27th out of the 435 total members of Congress, with Pennsylvania Republican Ben Fitzpatrick sitting at the top position, according to the Lugar Center Bipartisan Index.
The Lugar Center has ranked US Senators and Congresspeople in terms of their willingness to work across party lines for nearly 20 years.
Bilirakis represents his constituents by working across the aisle
Bilirakis recognizes that he represents his constituents, who “want their leaders to work together to do what is right for our country and the communities we serve.”
The Republican Congressman also stressed that Americans are “tired of partisanship and bickering.
“Progress is only possible when we are willing to cooperate with one another and prioritize the needs of our constituents. That is how I will continue to approach my work,” Bilirakis stated.
Greek-American Congressman Florida’s “most effective Republican”
Congressman Bilirakis has also been recognized for his efforts within his own party.
The Greek-American representative was named “Florida’s Most Effective House Republican” in April, according to the Center for Effective Lawmaking’s 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.
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.”
Bilirakis focuses on Greek-American issues
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.
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.
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 re-conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
He has also teamed up with Republican Nicole Malliotakis in a bipartisan effort to push the Biden administration to prioritize the Cyprus issue.