Fundraiser in Support of U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (Vid & Pics)

Congressman Gus Bilirakis, the U.S. Representative for Florida's 12th congressional district. (Photo: TNH/Kostas Bej, FILE)

ASTORIA – Greek-American Congressman Gus Bilirakis, the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 12th congressional district, voiced his commitment to continue to strongly support Greek national issues during a fundraiser organized by PSEKA (The International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus), at Dionysos Restaurant in Astoria on October 15.

PSEKA President Philip Christopher introduced Rep. Bilirakis praising his work and pointing out that the Greek community should support Greek-American and Philhellene candidates, regardless of their party origin.

“I cannot hear that ‘I do not support him because he is conservative, I do not support the other because he is liberal.’ Our priority must be the Greek national issues. We had in our area, from the Democratic Party, Joe Crowley, who supported Greece. However, he lost the Democratic primary [to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] essentially Astoria. Hellenism, which he so supported, did not vote for him. This is something that should not happen again,” said Christopher.

Taking the floor, Rep. Bilirakis referred to his efforts over the years during his term for issues such as the Cyprus problem, Macedonia, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Halki Seminary, and Turkish provocations. Indeed, he revealed an incident that had taken place during his brief stay in Turkey on a political trip, where he spoke in a strong tone to the country’s Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, in a private conversation.

About U.S. President Donald Trump, he spoke positively, noting that “his government is the first, Republican or Democratic, who listens to us seriously,” adding that he is the only Greek-American candidate for Congress from the Republican Party.

“I have contact with President Donald Trump. You know Mr. Trump’s attitude towards Turkey. His is the first U.S. government, Republican or Democratic, who listens to us. I cannot promise things, but I will continue to fight. If the battle is lost, we will no longer have this opportunity,” Bilirakis said.

Shortly afterwards, speaking to The National Herald, the congressman expressed his concern about the fact that there are fewer Greek candidates running for office, noting that younger Greek-Americans prefer professional careers rather than politics.

“Unfortunately, politics today is not so attractive because it is not as clean as it used to be. Nevertheless, when we win in November, we should try to attract as many Greek-Americans as we can. ”

PSEKA President Philip Christopher and Congressman Gus Bilirakis at a fundraiser in his honor at Dionysos restaurant in Astoria. (Photo: TNH/Kostas Bej)

“The Greek-American Lobby is Not Supported”

On the issue of the need for Greek-Americans in positions of power, PSEKA President, Philip Christopher, condemned the criticism that the Greek-American and Greek-Cypriot lobbies have received for years on its influence on U.S. policy on national issues. While congratulating AHEPA on its activity, Christopher noted that there was no support.

“While Turkey spends $100 million annually on public relations here, Greece and Cyprus together spend less than what we are spending together in this room. There are some who say ‘why don’t you do something.’ The Greek-American lobby is fighting and things would be much worse if it was not in the trenches,” Christopher said, concluding that “the time has come, apart from other things, for the U.S. political leadership to understand that Turkey is an unreliable ally, besides being a fundamentalist Islamic country.”

AHEPA Supreme Vice President Jimmy Kokotas was also present and noted that the younger Greek-Americans should be more politically active.

Congressman Gus Bilirakis, the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 12th congressional district, spoke at a fundraiser in his honor at Dionysos restaurant in Astoria. (Photo: TNH/Kostas Bej)
Congressman Gus Bilirakis, the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 12th congressional district, spoke at a fundraiser in his honor at Dionysos restaurant in Astoria. (Photo: TNH/Kostas Bej)

4 Comments

  1. Another vote for me, I will make promises, but he even states in certain things he can’t make promises? So then why support…Still never liked the I am this or that ethnicity so I am fighting for my group in America, and whatever country I or my family came from. Your a Representative in America you must fight for all…

  2. Gus Bilirakis is one of the most honorable people in politics today in the whole country. He fights like nobody else for our veterans and seniors. He is working hard on the opioid epidemic. He knows how his grandparents worked to build a small business and is pro-growth on economic issues.

    Gus does not make promises on Greek issues because he is an honest man and no one can promise any certain result. He does promise to fight like hell on our issues, and we can believe him because he has been doing that for more than a decade.

    The Turks spend $100,000,000 on Washington lobbyists against us every single year. With his seniority and important committee assignments Gus alone is probably worth about $10,000,000 a year to Greek-Americans. If we don’t support and protect his position in DC, shame on us!

  3. Ok the Michael will take your endorsement as worthy of support.

    But remember a promise can fail, or it can make you work harder..No promises, no failures, then why be there.

  4. Pavlo my friend first thank you for the kind words. I think that we are very close to saying the same thing. Gus has promised to work very hard to protect the interests that Greek-Americans care about. I believe he will do that because he has a Long record of doing that in the past. He acknowledges that despite how hard he works he cannot promise any certain result. He is only one 1 of 435 congressmen and congresswomen, and the Turks spread money to lobbyists all over town to tell lies about what they are doing on Cyprus and in the Aegean. But Gus works hard and does his best. We need to do our part and help keep our Greek-Americans of both parties in Congress. Blood is thicker than water! Have a blessed day my friend Pavlo.

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