MICHAEL BILIRAKIS -- A former U.S. Representative (Congressman) from Florida’s 9th District, 1983-2006 (Republican)
Born in the Ninth District, in Tarpon Springs, on July 16, 1930, Mike and his parents, Emmanuel and Irene, Greek immigrants, left the area shortly thereafter. The family moved to Clairton, Pa., near Pittsburgh, where Mike grew up and attended school. After high school, he passed up college scholarship offers to work in the steel mills to help support his family. He later enlisted in the Air Force and served for four years.
After leaving the military, Mike studied engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. Upon graduating in 1959 with a B.S. degree in engineering, he began working with the Federal Power Commission in Washington, D.C. In that same year he married Evelyn Miaoulis of Tarpon Springs. Mike and Evelyn have two children, Manuel and Gus. Manuel is a medical doctor practicing in Palm Harbor and Gus is an attorney.
In 1961, Mike returned to Florida and earned a law degree from the University of Florida two years later. He then worked in the aerospace industry as a contracts administrator responsible for the Centaur program, the booster rocket that placed the first unmanned spacecraft on the moon. In 1969, he opened his own law practice in Holiday, Florida, invested in land and small businesses and taught several courses at local community colleges. Later, he accepted appointments as a county and a municipal judge.
In 1982, at the urging of friends, associates and residents of the newly-formed Ninth District, Mike accepted the challenge of his first Congressional race. He credits strong traditional values, close family ties and avid community involvement for his victories in 1982 and in subsequent re-elections. In his terms in Congress, Mike has carried those personal values to the national forum, supporting Social Security and federal retirement programs, reforming health care, education initiatives, aid to the victims and families of Alzheimer's disease, a strong national defense, Congressional accountability and a balanced federal budget.
Michael Bilirakus is the father of current Florida Congressman, GUS M. BILIRAKIS, from Palm Harbor, Florida, elected to Congress on November 7, 2006, to represent Florida’s Ninth Congressional District, which includes portions of Pasco, Pinellas, and Hillsborough counties. His son Gus is currently serving his second term in the United States House of Representatives.