Last week, the American Hellenic Council organized a meeting with visiting Greek-American Republican Congressman from the 9th District of Florida Gus Bilirakis. The event was courtesy of George and Bettina Kallins and was held at the Capri Laguna Inn Hotel in Laguna Beach, CA.
Mr. Bilirakis was visiting Southern California as part of a 2010 campaign trip to inform us and hear from the local Greek-American community on issues that concern all of us. It was not the first visit by Mr. Bilirakis who has been a vocal supporter of Greek-American issues in the past in the House of Representatives.
Dana Rohrabacher at American Hellenic CouncilIt was a beautiful day for the the event at the renovated patio of the Capri Laguna Inn Hotel overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The event lasted for most of the afternoon. Several AHC members from Orange County, Los Angeles as well as San Francisco and other prominent guests gathered to meet and listen to Congressman Bilirakis. Among other AHC members, Mr. Nick Dourbetas, who is running for Superior Court Judge in Orange County in 2010 attended the event.
Local Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R – CA46th) who is serving in the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House together with Mr. Bilirakis honored the event with his presence. Both Congressmen spoke of the need for protection of American national security interests at home and abroad.
Mr. Bilirakis, who is also serving in the Veteran Affairs and Homeland Security Committees spoke of his recent visit to Afghanistan and expressed how difficult, yet how critical the American military engagement is in that part of the world. The Congressman also spoke of how US Interests are served by promoting democracy and peace and how important Greece is as an ally to the promotion of those very principles in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Mr. Bilirakis vowed for continued efforts on his behalf in Congress for promoting a peaceful solution for Cyprus by calling for the removal of the occupying Turkish military a reunification of the island. He also referred to his recent visit to Turkey and how he asked for the re-opening of Chris Cox, Andrea Catsimatidis, Bettina Kallinsthe Halki Seminary in Istanbul from Turkish authorities as part of their commitment to honor religious freedoms.
Later on in the day, the guests at the event had the opportunity to speak extensively with the Congressman on a one-to-one basis and express their opinions. Mr. Bilirakis was very genuinely open and friendly and open to discussion about several issues even though he was far away from his electoral base. He extended an open invitation to anyone attending to visit his office on their next visit to the nation’s capital.