Plenary Speaker:

Gus Bilirakis (R), U.S. Rep. of Florida's 12th Congressional District


Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis is a Republican from Palm Harbor, representing Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes all of Pasco and northern parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. He was first elected to Congress on November 7, 2006, and is currently serving his fourth term in the United States House of Representatives.

Gus serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee and is Vice-Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He is a member of the Republican Party's Whip Team, Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Task Force for the Republican Policy Committee, Co-Chairman of the Military Veterans Caucus and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Hellenic-Israel Alliance. Working in a bipartisan manner, his main priorities include controlling government spending, creating jobs for middle class Americans, finding ways for government to operate smaller and smarter, and lowering taxes. He is also 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.

The Energy and Commerce Committee is the longest-standing committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. As the only Florida Republican on the Committee, Gus continues to be a strong voice for Florida, and his roles on the Health, Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, and Energy and Environment Subcommittees are highly beneficial for our state.

Gus is also known for his work on behalf of veterans. In his role as Vice-Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and a member of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs (DAMA) Subcommittee, Gus continues to ensure our nation’s heroes remain a top priority.

Prior to being elected to Congress, Gus served four terms in the Florida House of Representatives (1998-2006), where he chaired several prominent panels, including Crime Prevention, Public Safety Appropriations, and the Economic Development, Trade and Banking Committee.

Gus earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida in 1986 and a J.D. from Stetson University in 1989. He interned for President Ronald Reagan and the National Republican Congressional Committee, and worked for former U.S. Representative Don Sundquist (R-TN). He also currently teaches government classes at St. Petersburg College.

Gus and his wife, Eva, have four sons – Michael, Teddy, Manuel, and Nicholas.