U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis took over his northern Tampa Bay 12th Congressional District after his father Mike stepped down in 2006, and has wasted little time establishing himself as a regional pillar ever since.
Although an electoral favorite that year because of his prominent last name, Bilirakis withstood a strong challenge by Democrat Phyllis Busansky. His victory came in the same anti-incumbent wave election that saw the GOP lose 30 seats to Democrats.
In January, Bilirakis announced that he would continue to serve on the House Veterans Affairs Committee as vice chairman. Additionally, he will serve on the House Veterans Affairs Health Subcommittee.
Bilirakis was also the sponsor of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act in 2013 — legislation that is touted as strengthening the U.S. competitiveness in the global travel and tourism markets by reauthorizing Brand USA — a public-private partnership designed to encourage tourism to the United States. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Brand USA will cut the deficit by $231 million.
Bilirakis jumps up five positions from last year’s #14 ranking.
For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who comprised the panel that assembled it, please read here.