The official blog of Team Bilirakis. Featuring the latest news and updates from the campaign trail. Check back frequently or sign up for updates.

Gus Defends His Record on Fighting the Opioid Crisis

Kurt Browning Endorses Gus

Gus Bilirakis Leads the Charge to Renew Brand USA

Sunshine State News

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From his perch as co-chairman of the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., continues his fight for Brand USA.

Established in 1979, the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus works to promote domestic and international tourism, including supporting Brand USA, a public-private partnership which works to bring visitors from across the globe to visit the United States. A similar caucus was launched in the Senate back in 2011. Bilirakis took over as a co-chairman of it five years ago.

This week, Bilirakis pushed to reauthorize Brand USA, an effort he successfully led back in 2014. Brand USA is penciled into expire in 2020. Bilirakis gathered more than 70 colleagues  to call on Congress to renew Brand USA and stress its importance.

The congressman also noted that the Sunshine State was very dependent on tourism and he pointed to figures indicating that 2018 is on pace to be a record year for tourism in Florida. In the first six months of the year, more than 65 million visitors came to the Sunshine State. More than 1.4 million jobs in Florida are supported by tourism.

“I am happy to have such widespread, bipartisan support on an issue that is of such importance to our state.  This is a commonsense issue that will help ensure our state’s economy continues to grow.  All Floridians benefit from tourism and the dollars these visitors spend in our communities,” said Bilirakis on Tuesday.

The caucus has more than 75 members including Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and Democrat U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel and Frederica Wilson from Florida.

First elected to Congress in 2006, Bilirakis is the vice chairman of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee. While he has usually won reelection by decisive margins, Democrats believe they have an outside shot of beating Bilirakis this year as he faces former FBI agent and federal prosecutor Chris Hunter in November. Angelika Purkis, a nurse practitioner, is also running against Bilirakis with no party affiliation.


Tampa Bay Reporter

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Gus Bilirakis is running for reelection to the House District 12 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

NEW PORT RICHEY – U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-New Port Richey, today (Sept. 18) received the endorsement of Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco.

“Gus is a strong advocate for our veterans and law enforcement,” Nocco said. “Whenever we need him, we know Gus is there for us. I enthusiastically endorse Gus and look forward to continuing to work with him to make sure Pasco County is a safe place to live, work and raise a family.”

Bilirakis said, “Sheriff Nocco is a proven leader who has made the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office one of the best in the nation. I am humbled by his support, appreciate his friendship and look forward to continuing our partnership to keep our neighborhoods safe.”

To view Sheriff Nocco’s video endorsement of Congressman Bilirakis, go  to youtube.com.

Currently, Bilirakis serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee and is Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Bilirakis said he works in a bipartisan manner to control federal spending, create jobs for middle class Americans, lower taxes, and seeks ways to make government smaller and more efficient. He remains committed to strengthening homeland security, improving education, increasing access to quality health care, protecting veterans’ benefits, and ensuring the long-term viability of Social Security and Medicare.

CD 12 includes all of Pasco County and parts of northern Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Bilirakis and his wife, Eva, have raised their four boys, Michael, Teddy, Manuel and Nicholas in the district.

Bilirakis is facing Democrat Chris Hunter and Angelika Purkis, who has no party affiliation, in the Nov. 6 general election. Oct. 9 is the last day to register to vote in the general election.

New CD 12 ad says Gus Bilirakis ‘is addressing the real issues’

Florida Politics

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U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis has released a new ad that highlights his efforts to help service members and veterans during his time representing Florida’s 12 Congressional District.

The ad, titled “Fighting for Warriors,” features a veteran, Bryan A., speaking about the lawmaker’s efforts and features clips of Bilirakis, a Tarpon Springs Republican, walking alongside Bryan and shaking hands with a number of military veterans, young and old.

“I served in the Army for 14 years. I was both a print photojournalist and then a Green Beret. Now I run a nonprofit called the Veterans Alternative,” Bryan A. says in the ad. “These alternative treatment options are saving warriors’ lives. I’m thankful that we have Gus. He is addressing the real issues that we’re facing.”

“What he consistently fights for is making sure that warriors receive the care, warriors receive the benefits that they deserve for serving our nation. The guy is always going to be there for his warriors. Gus is an amazing guy,” he concludes.

Highlighted during the video are the “Promise Act” and the “Cover Act.” The Promise Act would have required the U.S. Department of Defense to update their guidelines regarding opioid therapy for chronic pain, while the Cover Act would set up a commission to examine the benefits of incorporating complementary, alternative therapies for veterans’ healthcare.

Bilirakis was first elected to Congress in 2006 and has easily defended his seat in past elections. In 2018, he faces Chris Hunter, a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor who cruised in the three-way CD 12 Democratic primary with nearly two-thirds of the vote.

Hunter has thrown several barbs at Bilirakis, but the district is rated “safe Republican” by most political handicappers, including University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato‘s “Crystal Ball.” The district voted plus-19 for Donald Trump two years ago.

Additionally, Bilirakis held a substantial fundraising lead at the start of the general election season. Through Aug. 8, Bilirakis had raised more than $1.4 million for his re-election bid and had about $638,000 on hand compared to $465,000 in total fundraising and $254,000 banked for Hunter.

CD 12 covers all of Pasco and parts of northern Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.