NEW YORK.- On November 2, Kostas Alexakis, from Grasonville Maryland in Queen Anne’s County, has a very good chance to become the second Greek American in the US House of Representatives joining congressman Michael Bilirakis of Florida. On Saturday, May 22, 2004, Kostas Alexakis was voted as the replacement candidate for Maryland’s First Congressional District on the Democratic ticket. He replaced Ann Tamlyn who was forced to withdraw after her win in the primary election due to severe illness.
Mr. Alexakis will now contest the general election against Wayne Gilchrest, the incumbent of 14 years. Mr. Alexakis is a businessman, a community activist, and a tremendous supporter of the Democratic party at all levels, national, state and local. But for our community, he is a proud Greek American, sensitive for the concerns of our community and always present at the events of our lobby in Washington D.C., for Greece and Cyprus.
Kostas Alexakis was born on June 16, 1954, in Vasilakion, just south of Sparta, Greece. He grew up in this little community of 200 families, attending the one-room elementary school with 34 other kids before his family moved to Athens in 1964 and immigrating to the U.S. in August 1967. He has spent his teenage years in Arlington, Virginia, where he attended both junior high and high school. He has a degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University. He moved to Baltimore in 1998 and has been active in both the social and political life of the city, having established several businesses in the city beginning in 1993.
Since May 21, 1995, He has been married to Laura Faibish, an attorney originally from Houston, Texas. They have one child; a soon-to-be 6-year-old, Eleni.
GreekNews spoke with Mr Alexakis, at the Athenagoras Awards Gala event of the Archons, in New York City.
Q: How is your campaignmoving?
A: We have a very good chance of winning assume that we can implement the marketing and the publicity campaign that’s about the 20th of October.
Q: Your opponent is the incumbent and he has the edge of course. Aree people tired of incumbents this year?
A: He’s out of touch on two issues. One issue is the bay, he took the position to be a steward of the bay, turns out he’s been reporting on the progress bay using a computer model and has been rejected by the democratic environmentalists, who have supported him thus far. He also took a position against the no child left behind act which Bush has initiated.
You know that beyond that Bush has initiated on is the first serious effort to reform the public school system, which I support. His second opposition which needs to be repealed because he thinks that standards work against the creativity of teachers, which I think is irresponsible and that is getting him rejected by the Republicans. So I think I have a fair chance on the issues.
Now in addition he has not been very active, for the last 6 years he has been talking about retiring every 2 years and so he has not really organized well. Therefore with an organized effort in the end I think I can get him dislodged and I can win. The district is large, all different counties so I had to go county by county, there’s no unified media market. There’s not one paper, there’s not one television. It’s a cable market and also regional county wide newspaper. So I have to go district by district, have editorial reviews, interviews with the editors of each paper , it takes time but they are writing about the positions that I have taken and their lining up behind me which is very, very good.
Q: It’s a presidential year, it’s a very close election, how is this going to effect your campaign?
A: It will energize the democrats and the republicans throughout Maryland are not diehard, they’re not real hard republicans. They are soft republicans, so as the democrats are soft democrats. That’s how you ended up with a republican governor in Maryland. So even though he has a positive effect, it’s not really a strong positive effect. The most positive effect in my race is the Mikulski’s race. Senator Mikulski has endorsed me and we’re running as a team in that district. Seeing every county in that district is about 6 years ago. So I think that’s going to have a much better effect.
Q: I know the Greek Community in Washington is massing behind you. How Greek Americans have helped your race?
A: Well, I was born in Laconia. I was born in Sparti, the Laconians have been very, very much behind me. They have not been asked, and they’ve contributed. I am shocked with the checks that are coming throughout the country from Laconians that I don’t even know.
Nick Larigakis of American Hellenic Institute has been very supportive and its from the credit of Mr. Rossidis who is a republican but sees the value in having a congressman who is a Greek, in Congress. And as for the rest of the community it’s difficult to agitate people, because people don’t really know. I kept it quiet because I wanted to be discreet against the incumbent. And I purposely did not do any fundraising ahead of time because I didn’t want the money to show. So now it’s a matter of getting the word out and your paper is helpful in that effort, I very much appreciate your interest in my race and I hope I make it worth spending this print on me.