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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Restoring Civility & Embracing Bipartisanship in Politics

January 18, 2018
Press Release
A Guest Editorial Written by Congressman Gus Bilirakis

 An airport employee, who I’ve come to know through the years, recently asked why I bother coming home every Friday, just to return to Washington a mere 72 hours later. The answer is simple, in addition to missing my family; I find there is no better reminder of the needs of the people I serve.

Lately, I have been struck by a common theme. While many in D.C. may be indifferent to the state of today’s politics, my constituents are sick and tired of it. They want to see civility restored, to see elected officials put aside their differences and to see results. I share the frustration of my constituents. I am in DC to get stuff done; and above all else to effectively govern, which requires cooperation and respect.  The tone of the national conversation has to change. 

With the advent of social media and the cacophony of cable news, its almost as if we have forgotten we can disagree without being disagreeable. People from both parties have good ideas, and the best laws are those that are the product of negotiation and input from all stakeholders. 

My colleagues on the left and the right share the same goals of ensuring Americans are safe and prosperous.  I’m a proud conservative, but I also respect all people, regardless of their political views and believe I can learn something from other people’s life experiences and perspectives.  I remain committed to looking for areas where we can find common ground.

Bi-partisanship works.  Since coming to Congress, countless provisions I’ve authored and worked tirelessly on behind the scenes have been signed into law.  As President Truman once said, “Its amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” So far in the 115th Congress, I’ve introduced 26 bills and co-sponsored 178 pieces of legislation.  Almost a quarter of these bills have already passed the House, but there’s more work to be done. Most recently, I have been working to ensure continued health care for millions of people using Community Health Centers, to lower the cost of Rx drugs, to guarantee the availability of affordable flood insurance and to improve the safety of airline travel.  Additionally, as Vice-Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, I work on a variety of initiatives to help our heroes.  These initiatives will have a meaningful impact on millions of Americans and should have widespread support, regardless of political affiliation.  

Our democracy cannot function without pragmatic, accomplished problem solvers. The people of my district want Congress to work together on some of the biggest challenges facing our nation including: national security, health care, immigration, infrastructure, global competitiveness and more. As we tackle these issues, I remain committed to putting people and ideas first. When we move beyond fearmongering and name calling, there is no limit to what our nation can accomplish.