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#16 on list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians — Gus Bilirakis

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tarpon Springs Rep. Gus Bilirakis earned props even from of his most zealous Democratic Party critics when he held three well-publicized town hall meetings in early 2017, where he steadfastly defended his opposition to the Affordable Care Act while acknowledging at the time that his GOP House colleagues didn’t have a replacement bill teed up to support.

The day before the House voted on the American Health Care Act 2.0 in early May, a spokesperson said he was undecided as conversations continue about the final form of the bill. But when it counted, he voted with the majority of his GOP colleagues in support of the bill.

“Gus is the quiet guy from Tarpon Springs who works hard and gets the job done,” says Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano. “He has a true servant’s heart, an outstanding staff and a desire to represent the people of his community to the best of ability.”

Fasano also praised the 54-year-old as someone who doesn’t crave the spotlight, an exception in Congress.

Bilirakis was No. 15 in the 2016 survey.

Joe Henderson’s Take

“There has been speculation that his seat in Congress could be in jeopardy over the health care issue, but I’m not buying it. I’ll give him a lot of credit for showing up to town halls earlier this year on that issue even though he knew he would be beaten up by angry voters. He doesn’t get enough credit, I think, for working to speed up the process where potential lifesaving drugs are approved by the FDA. He also is a champion for veterans, which makes him aces in my book.”

For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who made up the panel that amassed it, please read here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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