Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

FLORIDA's 27th DISTRICT

Letter to DHS, DOJ and FBI Regarding Threats to Jewish Community Centers

2017/02/23


Ros-Lehtinen Comments on Administration Change In Public Accommodations Guidance for Transgender Students

2017/02/23

Ros-Lehtinen Comments on Administration Change In Public Accommodations Guidance for Transgender Students

“This lamentable decision can lead to hostile treatment of transgender students and studies have shown that bullying and harassment can be detrimental to the emotional and physical well-being of teenagers.”

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R – FL) made the following statement after changes to the established transgender bathroom guidance were announced. In 2015, Ros-Lehtinen, along with Rep. Jared Polis (D – CO), introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) prohibiting schools from discriminating against students based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Ileana is also supportive of the Safe Schools Improvement Act which would require schools to create a code of conduct against discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, and other important factors. Additionally, Ros-Lehtinen is a signatory to an amicus brief in G.G.v. Gloucester County School Board, urging the Supreme Court to grant equal protection to transgender students using public accommodations.

Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“This lamentable decision can lead to hostile treatment of transgender students and studies have shown that bullying and harassment can be detrimental to the emotional and physical well-being of teenagers. Evidence has shown that acceptance of transgender students lowers their risk of suicide. Jared and I introduced our SNDA bill to prevent discrimination of transgender young people and we will re-introduce it because our country benefits when everyone is accepted and we live up to our nation’s promise of inclusiveness.”

 

 

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Ros-Lehtinen Co-Leads Bill To Promote The Use Of South Florida’s Native Plant Species

2017/02/14

Ros-Lehtinen Co-Leads Bill To Promote The Use Of South Florida’s Native Plant Species

“Introducing this bill with my colleague, Mike, is a positive step in ensuring the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native species that characterize our communities and nation. We have a responsibility to help maintain a healthy and sound ecosystem that we can all be proud of.”

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R – FL) made the following statement after introducing the Botanical Sciences and Native Plants Act with U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D – IL). This bill would allow federal departments and buildings to utilize native plants in landscaping, land management, and restoration programs, in addition to establishing new grant programs to help conserve native plant populations from threats including invasive species. The bill language has support from over 40 local and national organizations including the following from South Florida: Florida Native Plant Society, Florida Association of Native Nurseries, The Institute for Regional Conservation.

Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“From the Silver Palmetto to the Beach Sunflower, South Florida is home to a diverse group of native plants, many that are unique to our tropical climate and growing conditions.  Introducing this bill with my colleague, Mike, is a positive step in ensuring the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native species that characterize our communities and nation. We have a responsibility to help maintain a healthy and sound ecosystem that we can all be proud of. I’m glad that this bill will also encourage young people to enter careers in botanical science.”

 

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On the House Floor, Ros-Lehtinen Praises Sanctions of Venezuelan Narco Traffickers

2017/02/14

On the House Floor, Ros-Lehtinen Praises Sanctions of Venezuelan Narco Traffickers

“Next on the sanctions list should be the judges and officers of these kangaroo courts in Venezuela who are behind these unwarranted incarcerations and are responsible for these injustices and human rights violations.” 

Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R – FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement on the House Floor today regarding the administration’s sanctions of two Venezuelan nationals with links to narco trafficking: Tareck El-Aissami and Samark Jose Lopez Bello. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“Thank you so much Mr. Speaker.

Yesterday, the new administration including Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took decisive action to hold Venezuelan regime officials accountable for their illicit activity.

The announcement was that two Venezuelan nationals were labeled as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Kingpin Act, including Venezuela’s second in command, the Vice-President of Venezuela, and his front man Lopez Bello.

It also identified 13 companies owned or controlled by these individuals, or other designated parties that pose a serious threat to U.S. national security, as well as the U.S. and global financial systems.

These designations were long overdue Mr. Speaker and represent a significant first step in what appears to be a positive fundamental shift in our policy towards Venezuela.

Just yesterday, my colleague Mario Diaz-Balart and I met with Vice-President Pence to discuss Venezuela and how Congress and the Administration can work together to craft a positive agenda to help the people in Latin America suffering without democracy or human rights.

Last week, Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey and I led a bipartisan and bicameral letter together with 32 of our Congressional colleagues to the President urging his administration to take immediate action against the Maduro regime for his illicit activity and for its gross human rights abuses.

And while this rounds of sanctions target the illegal drug activities of these regime officials, this is just the tip of the corruption iceberg in Venezuela Mr. Speaker.

In fact, Venezuela’s so-called Executive Vice President has facilitated drug shipments, has protected drug traffickers in Venezuela, and has alleged links with the U.S. designated foreign terrorist organization, and Iranian proxy, Hezbollah.

According to OFAC, the second individual also sanctioned is Lopez Bello, who laundered drug proceeds and generated significant profits as a result of illegal activities.

Holy Toledo!

While these announced sanctions were a critical first step, it pales in comparison to the dire humanitarian situation that Maduro and his cronies have created for the people of Venezuela.

Mr. Speaker, Venezuela has been on a downward spiral for years, and there have been bipartisan calls from Congress to take action in support of the Venezuelan people.

Maduro’s failed economic policies have the country with the highest inflation rate in the world, leaving his people without food, without basic necessities, or without medical supplies.

In most areas, hospitals and groceries have shut down due to lack of supplies and the people of Venezuela are forced to ransack what is left of these hospitals and stores for their basic survival of their families.

And how does the regime react when they see the suffering of their own citizens?

They are lining their own pockets at the expense of the suffering of the Venezuelan people.

An AP report showed that senior level officials, like Generals Rodolfo Marco Torres and Carlos Osorio, are allegedly orchestrating fraudulent schemes with suspected shell companies to personally profit instead of bringing food to the people.

Opposition leaders like Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma are still in jail or under house arrest.

Leaders like Maria Corina Machado of the National Congress is still not allowed to travel outside her country.

This is unacceptable Mr. Speaker.

Their so-called crimes: speaking out against the Maduro regime and standing up for democratic principles.

The regime stifles all who stand for democracy and freedom in Venezuela.

The opposition is vilified, is persecuted, and is arrested on false charges.

We must show Venezuelans that their fight is not in vain, that their actions are seen and that their cries are heard.

Next on the sanctions list should be the judges and officers of these kangaroo courts in Venezuela who are behind these unwarranted incarcerations and are responsible for these injustices and human rights violations.

Mr. Speaker, this is what America is all about – we stand firm by our values, firm in our ideals that we promote and defend them and we try to have other parts of the world be enlightened in this way.

Hope is dwindling quickly in Venezuela.

As human rights violations multiply, now is the time to hold Venezuelan regime officials accountable and we urge all responsible nations to join us in this struggle.

Thank you Mr. Speaker.”

 

 

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Ros-Lehtinen y Menendez Aclaman Imposición de Sanciones Adicionales a Venezuela

2017/02/14

Ros-Lehtinen y Menendez Aclaman Imposición de Sanciones Adicionales a Venezuela

Washington D.C.- La Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) y el Senador Bob Menéndez hicieron la siguiente declaración después de que la administración de Trump anunció que iba a designar a trece compañías y dos individuos involucrados en el narcotráfico, incluyendo a Tareck El Aissami por sus reportadas conexiones al tráfico de drogas, lavado de dinero, y otras actividades ilícitas. Este anuncio procede después de que Ros-Lehtinen y Menéndez enviaron una carta bipartidista al Presidente Trump la semana pasada urgiéndole que tomará acción en apoyo a los venezolanos que sufren bajo el régimen de Nicolás Maduro.

“Agregar a Tareck El-Aissami y a Samark Jose  López Bello a la lista de Nacionales Especialmente Designados por el Departamento de Tesoro es algo que se tuvo que haber hecho hace mucho tiempo, pero apoyamos estas sanciones porque señalan un paso fundamental  en la creación de un nuevo papel que Estados Unidos puede desempeñar durante la deteriorada crisis que enfrenta Venezuela. La semana pasada, nosotros escribimos una carta bicameral y bipartidista a la administración pidiendo acción contra los oficiales del régimen de Maduro quienes son responsables por el sufrimiento del pueblo venezolano y apoyamos este y cualquier otro esfuerzo para aliviar a los venezolanos que sufren bajo este régimen corrupto y opresivo. Con la democracia bajo asedio total y sin juicio justo o autoridad de la ley, tenemos y debemos hacer más para que el régimen de Maduro se haga responsable, incluyendo a todos en el tribunal responsables por el encarcelamiento injusto de Leopoldo López. Aplaudimos a la Administracion por actuar de manera rápida y decisiva ya que las violaciones a los derechos humanos, la persecución política y la impunidad en Venezuela no pueden quedar sin castigo.”

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Rep. Ros-Lehtinen and Sen. Menendez Hail Additional Venezuela Sanctions

2017/02/13

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen and Sen. Menendez Hail Additional Venezuela Sanctions

Washington D.C. –U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) issued the following joint statement after the Trump administration announced it will designate two individuals and thirteen companies involved in narcotics trafficking, including Tareck El Aissami for his reported connections to drug trafficking, money laundering and other illicit activities. Today’s announcement comes after Menendez and Ros-Lehtinen sent a bipartisan letter to President Trump last week urging him to take actions in support of Venezuelans suffering under the regime of Nicolas Maduro.

Joint statement by Ros-Lehtinen and Menendez:

“Adding Tareck El-Aissami and Samark Jose Lopez Bello to the Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals list is long overdue, but we welcome these sanctions because they signal a fundamental step in charting a positive role the United States can continue to play given the deteriorating crisis in Venezuela. Last week, we led a bicameral and bipartisan letter to the administration calling for action against Maduro regime officials responsible for the Venezuelan people’s suffering and we welcome this and any additional efforts to support Venezuelans languishing under this corrupt and repressive regime. With democracy under total siege in Venezuela and without any due process or rule of law left, we can and must do more to hold the Maduro regime accountable, including all those in the kangaroo court responsible for the unjust incarceration of Leopoldo Lopez. We commend the Administration for acting quickly and decisively as the human rights violations, political persecution and impunity in Venezuela cannot go unpunished.”

 

 

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Ros-Lehtinen Honored to be Selected by Speaker Ryan as Member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council

2017/02/10

Ros-Lehtinen Honored to be Selected by Speaker Ryan as Member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council

“There are some 15,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors estimated to be living in the South Florida community that I have the privilege to represent in Congress, many of whom I am proud to call friends”

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R – FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement on being appointed a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan.

Statement by Speaker Paul Ryan:

"Ileana has been a leader in Congress in the fight for justice for Holocaust survivors and ensuring that they can live their remaining years with the dignity and comfort they deserve. She strives to honor the memories of the six million Jews who were murdered during humanity’s darkest hour, and I could think of few more deserving of this distinction than Ileana. I know she will help advance the mission of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.”

Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“Being named a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council by Speaker Ryan is a remarkable honor and it is an undertaking which I will devote my efforts toward fully. There are some 15,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors estimated to be living in the South Florida community that I have the privilege to represent in Congress, many of whom I am proud to call friends. Individuals such as Jack Rubin, who passed away last summer, David Mermelstein, David Schaecter and countless others have inspired me to fight for justice for all survivors and to honor the memories of the millions of Jews and countless others who suffered at the hands of the Nazis. Their mission and the mission of the Holocaust Memorial Museum have been, and will continue to be, my mission to educate current and future generations to ensure that the world will never forget and never relive the atrocities of the past.”

 

 

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Ros-Lehtinen and Menendez Lead Bipartisan Letter to the President Urging Support for the Venezuelan People and the Cause of Human Rights, Accountability for Maduro’s Corrupt and Repressive Regime

2017/02/08

Ros-Lehtinen and Menendez Lead Bipartisan Letter to the President Urging Support for the Venezuelan People and the Cause of Human Rights, Accountability for Maduro’s Corrupt and Repressive Regime

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) were joined by 32 of their colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to president urging a number of actions in support of Venezuelans suffering under the regime of Nicolas Maduro. The letter calls for the administration to sanction Venezuelan officials responsible for human rights violations and corruption, including those allegedly involved in exploiting the Venezuelan food crisis. The letter also expresses support for increased funding for democracy and human rights programs in Venezuela and supports an investigation into Tareck El Aissami’s reported connections to corruption, drug trafficking, and terrorism. To read a copy of the letter, please click here.

Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“The dire humanitarian situation in Venezuela warrants an effective and clear foreign policy where all political prisoners, including U.S. citizens, are immediately released and human rights abusers are held accountable. The international community cannot continue to sit idly by as the Venezuelan people suffer from food and medical supply shortages, as human rights abuses multiply, and as criminal activities run rampant. The White House and the State Department must develop a proper response together with Congress to ensure that we help alleviate the anguish of the Venezuelan people and to further our own national security interests. This bicameral and bipartisan letter that I led with my colleague, Bob, shows that there is a broad consensus to urge the new administration to prioritize the cause of human rights, the fight against corruption and impunity, and to combat illicit activities ongoing in Venezuela.”

Statement by Menendez:

“For over 15 years, we have watched President Maduro and former President Chavez remove checks on the executive, corrupt the judiciary, usurp the powers of the legislature, politicize the military and deliberately suppress freedom of the press in Venezuela. The Maduro regime and its military have exploited and impoverished the Venezuelan people and continue to jail political opponents. Now, as we continue to see Venezuela on its downward spiral towards being a failed state, the Trump Administration should use the authority Congress granted it to exert American leadership by sanctioning more Venezuelan government officials and individuals violently oppressing their own people and threatening regional stability. The Obama Administration used these sanctions once, but President Trump must take more forceful action given the deteriorating situation.”

NOTE: Joining Ros-Lehtinen and Menendez in sending the letter were Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Norma Torres (D-CA), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Dan Donovan (R-NY), Mia Love (R-UT), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), David Cicilline (D-RI), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), and Tony Cárdenas (D-CA).

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Ros-Lehtinen y Menéndez Escriben Carta Bipartidista al Presidente Instando Apoyo a Favor del Pueblo Venezolano y a la Causa de los Derechos Humanos, y Exigir que el Régimen Corrupto y Represivo de Maduro Tome Responsabilidad por sus Acciones

2017/02/08

Ros-Lehtinen y Menéndez Escriben Carta Bipartidista al Presidente Instando Apoyo a Favor del Pueblo Venezolano y a la Causa de los Derechos Humanos, y Exigir que el Régimen Corrupto y Represivo de Maduro Tome Responsabilidad por sus Acciones

(Washington, DC) - La Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) y el Senador Bob Menéndez (D-NJ) fueron acompañados por 32 de sus colegas en carta bipartidista al presidente pidiendo una serie de actos de apoyo a favor de los ciudadanos venezolanos que sufren bajo el régimen de Nicolás Maduro. Esta carta pide a la administración que sancione a los oficiales venezolanos que son responsables por las violaciones a los derechos humanos y de corrupción, incluyendo a aquellos presuntamente  involucrados en la explotación de la crisis de alimentos en Venezuela.  La carta también demuestra apoyo para el incremento de fondos dirigido a programas de democracia y de derechos humanos en Venezuela y para la investigación sobre las citadas conexiones de corrupción, narcotráfico, y terrorismo por parte de Tareck El Aissami. Para leer la carta, haz clic aquí.

Declaración de Ros-Lehtinen:

“La crítica situación humanitaria en Venezuela amerita una política exterior efectiva y clara, en la cual todos los prisioneros políticos, incluyendo ciudadanos de Estados Unidos, sean liberados inmediatamente y aquellos que violan los derechos humanos tengan que rendir cuentas. La comunidad internacional no puede continuar de brazos cruzados mientras que el pueblo venezolano sufre de escasez de alimentos y suministros médicos, mientras se multiplican los abusos a los derechos humanos, y mientras las actividades criminales están fuera de control. La Casa Blanca y el Departamento de Estado deben desarrollar una respuesta apropiada junto con el Congreso para asegurar que se ayude a aliviar la angustia del pueblo venezolano y avanzar nuestros intereses de seguridad nacional. Esta carta bicameral y bipartidista que escribí con mi colega Bob, demuestra que hay un amplio consenso para poder requerir de parte de la nueva Administración que se le otorgue prioridad a las causas referentes a los derechos humanos, la lucha contra la corrupción y la impunidad, y para combatir las actividades ilícitas recurrentes en Venezuela.”

Declaración de Menéndez:

“Por más de 15 años, hemos visto al presidente Maduro y al ex presidente Chávez, eximir al poder ejecutivo de  investigaciones reguladoras, corromper al poder judicial, usurpar los alcances del poder legislativo, influir políticamente en las fuerzas armadas y suprimir deliberadamente la libertad de prensa en Venezuela. El régimen de Maduro y sus fuerzas armadas han explotado y empobrecido al pueblo venezolano y continúan encarcelando a políticos de la oposición. Ahora, mientras vemos a Venezuela en un espiral descendente hacia un estado fallido, la Administración de Trump debe utilizar la autoridad que le confirió el Congreso para ejercer el liderazgo Americano sancionando a más oficiales del gobierno Venezolano y aquellos individuos que violentamente oprimen a sus propios compatriotas y a su vez amenazan la estabilidad regional. La Administración de Obama usó estas sanciones una vez, pero el Presidente Trump debe intervenir enérgicamente dada la situación cada vez más deteriorada.”

NOTA: Junto a Ros-Lehtinen y Menéndez en enviar esta carta también estuvieron Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Nelson (D-FL), y Ted Cruz (R-TX),  y Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Norma Torres (D-CA), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Dan Donovan (R-NY), Mia Love (R-UT), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), David Cicilline (D-RI), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), y Tony Cárdenas (D-CA).

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Ros-Lehtinen and Menendez Letter

2017/02/08


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Rep.Ros-Lehtinen Supports LGBT Equality As Every Person Deserves Dignity & Respect #EveryoneWelcome

2017-02-15 21:20:15


On House Floor: Ros-Lehtinen Speaks On American Heart Month, How South Florida Can Be Heart Healthy

2017-02-15 17:17:24


On the House Floor, Ros-Lehtinen the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation's Work To Combat AIDS

2017-02-14 22:13:37


Ros-Lehtinen On House Floor:Sanctioning Venezuela Thugs For Drug Ties Needed To Help Those Suffering

2017-02-14 15:54:39


Ros-Lehtinen en Cafe CNN:Sancionar Los Q Abusan Pueblo Venezolano Necesario Para Promover DDDHH

2017-02-14 13:11:21


Ros-Lehtinen Congratulates US-Israel Alliance Supporter Alex Halberstein On Israel Bonds Award

2017-02-14 00:36:50


On House Floor, Ros-Lehtinen Recognizes South Florida's Women of Tomorrow + Take Stock in Children

2017-02-07 18:21:25


Ros-Lehtinen: We Remember Raoul Wallenberg's Heroic Actions and Must Solve Mystery Of His Fate

2017-02-07 16:52:24


On the House Floor,Ros-Lehtinen Speaks About Israel Bonds Miami Beach Event & Their Important Work

2017-02-07 00:10:10


Ros-Lehtinen En Univision Noticias: Comparar EEUU A Rusia Es Incorrecto,Aqui Celebramos Los Derechos

2017-02-06 23:55:14


Ros-Lehtinen on NBC6: To Compare Our Nation To Russia Was Inappropriate And Incorrect

2017-02-06 23:26:07


On CBS4, Ros-Lehtinen Says The President's Comment Comparing Us To Russia Is False

2017-02-06 22:22:29


Ros Lehtinen Celebrates The Contributions Of Catholic Schools In South Florida

2017-02-02 17:10:39


Ros-Lehtinen Celebrates The 85th Anniversary Of The Miami Lighthouse For The Blind

2017-02-01 17:30:24


On House Floor, Ros-Lehtinen Reacts To Administration Continuing Protections for LGBT Individuals

2017-01-31 17:13:55


On the House Floor, Ros-Lehtinen Urges the Administration to Work with Congress

2017-01-31 00:55:26


ON WPLG, Ros-Lehtinen Says Broad Strokes Executive Orders Will Nor Protect Our National Security

2017-01-31 00:47:16


En Univision, Ros-Lehtinen Reacciona A La Orden Ejecutiva De La Administración

2017-01-30 23:57:36


On MSNBC, Ros-Lehtinen Reacts To The Administration's Executive Orders

2017-01-30 15:48:28


On The House Floor, Ros-Lehtinen Celebrates La Rosa Blanca's 58th Anniversary

2017-01-24 17:47:14


Contact Information

2206 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3931
Fax 202-225-5620
ros-lehtinen.house.gov

I am proud to represent Florida’s 27th Congressional District, a diverse area which includes Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Hialeah, Key Biscayne, Little Havana, Miami, Pinecrest, South Miami, and Westchester.

I was born in Havana, Cuba on July 1952. At the age of eight, my family and I were forced to flee from the oppressive communist regime of Fidel Castro. We settled in Miami and put down permanent roots in our community. I attended Southside Elementary School in Little Havana, West Miami Junior High, and Southwest High School. In the years following, I earned an Associate of Arts degree from Miami-Dade Community College in 1972, Bachelors and Masters Degree in Education from Florida International University in 1975 and 1985 respectively, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Miami in 2004. I consider education a lifelong journey.

I began my career as a Florida certified teacher. I also founded and served as the principal and teacher of a private bilingual elementary school in Hialeah. I was inspired to enter public service by many of the parents and students; to fight on their behalf for a stronger educational system, lower taxes, and a brighter economic future.

In 1982 I was elected to the Florida State House of Representatives and the Florida Senate in 1986, becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve in either body. In the state legislature I authored the Florida Prepaid College Plan, which is now the largest pre paid college tuition program in the nation. More than one million Florida families have used this program to send their children to college.

I was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1989– the first Hispanic woman to serve in Congress–following a special election to fill the seat held by the late Claude Pepper. I have been strongly returned to Congress since, winning 60% of the vote in 2012.

To this day, I remain committed to improving the lives of my constituents and our beautiful South Florida community. As the economy remains a pressing issue, I support reducing taxes and cutting back unnecessary government spending. I also support plans to balance the federal budget and increase tax incentives for small businesses and middle class families. South Florida has also felt the devastating effects of the housing crisis. I have fought to end predatory lending practices by mortgage companies and extend the first time homebuyers tax credit.

Given my background in education, I have worked to strengthen the Head Start program. I have also supported legislation to increase the availability to student financial aid and revise the cumbersome and complicated Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) process.

I am a strong advocate of programs that address the serious problem of domestic violence against women. I was a lead sponsor of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which increases resources towards the prosecution of domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual assault. I also support legislation to increase criminal penalties for perpetrators of Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud is a deplorable practice which robs hardworking seniors of the benefits they spent a lifetime earning, while also wasting billions in taxpayer dollars.

As the wife of a Vietnam veteran and step-mother to Marine aviators, I am passionate about improving our nation’s military, safeguarding veteran’s health care, and ensuring that returning veterans have access to a college education. I have been an outspoken critic of the Miami VA’s recent failures to notify veterans who were at risk of infection, due to contaminated colonoscopy equipment. I also authored legislation awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). These women pioneers had been denied recognition for their service during World War II.

I am Chairman emeritus of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and am now Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. In this role, I continue to voice my strong support for the state of Israel and human rights, including my opposition to Castro’s dictatorial regime in Cuba. I have also led on pressing foreign policy issues including the fight against Islamist extremism, and support of free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.

I also serve as a member of the House Committee on Rules. This Committee decides what legislation makes it to the House floor and its members are chosen by the Speaker of the House. My priorities as a member of this Committee is to get our nation’s economy back on track and ensure passage of legislation that betters the state of our nation.

I am the proud wife to Dexter Lehtinen, mother and step-mother to 4 adult children, and grandmother to two beautiful baby girls – Morgan Elizabeth and Caroline Grace.


Serving With

Matt Gaetz

FLORIDA's 1st DISTRICT

Neal Dunn

FLORIDA's 2nd DISTRICT

Ted Yoho

FLORIDA's 3rd DISTRICT

John Rutherford

FLORIDA's 4th DISTRICT

Ron DeSantis

FLORIDA's 6th DISTRICT

Bill Posey

FLORIDA's 8th DISTRICT

Daniel Webster

FLORIDA's 10th DISTRICT

Gus Bilirakis

FLORIDA's 12th DISTRICT

Dennis Ross

FLORIDA's 15th DISTRICT

Vern Buchanan

FLORIDA's 16th DISTRICT

Tom Rooney

FLORIDA's 17th DISTRICT

Brian Mast

FLORIDA's 18th DISTRICT

Francis Rooney

FLORIDA's 19th DISTRICT

Mario Diaz-Balart

FLORIDA's 25th DISTRICT

Carlos Curbelo

FLORIDA's 26th DISTRICT

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