By Gary Nager

With several dozen people crammed into every nook and cranny of his new district office in the professional park on S.R. 54, just east of Saddlebrook Resort, Dist. 12 U.S. Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R – Palm Harbor) has actually opened two new offices, including this one, his first-ever in Wesley Chapel.

“I previously represented the 9th Congressional District, which didn’t include this area,” Bilirakis said during the Wesley Chapel open house on January 30. “Now, I represent all of Pasco County, so we decided to open new offices in New Port Richey and Wesley Chapel, so our local constituents in those areas can better reach us.” The 12th District also includes parts of northern Pinellas and northern Hillsborough counties, including the parts of New Tampa, north of Tampa Palms.

Among the dignitaries on hand at the Wesley Chapel open house was Pasco County District 5 Commissioner Jack Mariano, as well as Roger Mitchell, the regional president of the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA), a Congressionally chartered, non-profit organization that represents the interests of the Sea Service community (e.g., the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard), especially the enlisted members of those forces, before the U.S. Congress.

Mitchell said Rep. Bilirakis, who is the Vice-Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Task Force for the Republican Policy Committee and Co-Chair of the Military Veterans Caucus, earned the recognition, “by a unanimous vote,” because of his “service to all U.S. military veterans.”

Rep. Bilirakis, who didn’t know he was even nominated, was obviously touched by the honor and gladly donned an FRA garrison hat given to him by Mitchell.

“I will cherish this award,” he said. “I know the good work that the FRA does on behalf of our (sea) service men and women.”

Rep. Bilirakis said that as the 113th Congress begins its work this month, there are, “many tough times ahead, and tough decisions that have to be made” to help pull the country out of its current economic woes. He added that he, “welcomes the input of every constituent,” so that he can make his decisions on some of the country’s most critical issues, “based on what the residents of the 12th District say they want.”

In other words, Rep. Bilirakis wants your input on any of the issues coming before Congress and he says the best way to contact him is by emailing him from his website, Bilirakis. “I see every letter and email sent to me,” he said. “And I want to hear from you!”

Rep. Bilirakis’ Wesley Chapel office (5901 Argerian Dr., Suite 102) is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For more info, call 501-4942.

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