Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen


Libyan Crisis Threatens U.S. Interests, Administration Must Play Larger Role, Says Ros-Lehtinen


Libyan Crisis Threatens U.S. Interests, Administration Must Play Larger Role, Says Ros-Lehtinen

“More than anything – more than military aid, more than financial aid – Libya needs U.S. leadership; leadership that can corral the various countries interfering in Libya, leverage our connections, and help push the political reconciliation process forward.”

(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 at a subcommittee hearing entitled “Libya Fractured: The Struggle for Unity.” Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“Nearly seven years after Gadaffi’s removal, Libya remains mired in civil conflict, political division, lawlessness, and economic crisis, with few signs of abating any time soon.

ISIS and al-Qaeda, though seriously degraded, are regrouping and as we’ve seen in a series of car bombings this year, they are still very much capable of violence. Despite backing by the United Nations and its partners, the western-based Government of National Accord, or GNA, has not been able to provide security or consolidate power throughout Libya’s vast territory. And it continues to clash with the eastern-based House of Representatives, backed by General Hiftar and his Libyan National Army, or LNA. Armed militias, some with ties to the LNA and GNA, profit off the lack of security and the rule of law, smuggling drugs, smuggling weapons, and people. And migrants, using Libya as a waypoint to Europe, suffer horrific treatment at the hands of smugglers, including torture, sexual abuse, and enslavement.

Adding to the chaos, a host of external actors continue to back different Libyan factions, with the U.S. and the U.N. supporting the GNA; Egypt, the UAE, and Russia supporting Hiftar; and Qatar and Turkey supporting the country’s Islamist groups. And as we saw when three French soldiers were killed fighting ISIS alongside Hiftar forces in 2016, even France has played both sides, sometimes assisting the U.S. and the GNA while at other times supporting Hiftar and his factions. All of this has made political reconciliation more remote, as both sides have dug in their heels and negotiations have stalled. The prospect of U.N-backed elections this year, which were probably too soon anyway, also seems to have fallen by the wayside.

There are some encouraging signs, however, including better governance at the local and municipal levels, and growth in the oil sector which, for now, has saved Libya’s economy from collapse. And it remains to be seen how Hiftar’s now confirmed hospitalization in Paris will impact Libya’s fractured state. If he is indeed incapacitated, will this be the opening that Libya needs for reconciliation, or will there be more chaos as his coalition breaks apart and his backers look for a successor?

With the challenges I’ve laid out, as well as the competing foreign policy priorities elsewhere, it is perhaps understandable that this administration would be wary of spending political capital in Libya. The administration does so at its peril, however, as this is a problem that is not going away, and is only going to get worse for the region, for Europe, for U.S. interests if it is not addressed.

Just last month, our U.S. Commander in Africa stated that “the instability in Libya and North Africa may be the most significant threat to U.S. and allies’ interests on the continent.” Our partners in Tunisia and Egypt are already feeling the impact; Mali, Chad, and Sudan have been impacted; and we’ve seen how ISIS networks in Libya can reach into Europe with the Manchester and Berlin terror attacks in the last two years alone.

Libya’s instability is a major problem for U.S. interests and we need a concerted effort from this administration to make it a priority. It’s past time to appoint a new U.S. Ambassador to Libya, and as soon as it’s viable from a security standpoint, we need to consider reopening our Embassy in Tripoli to increase engagement on the ground. The administration should also fill the empty Special Envoy slot as soon as possible so that the U.S. has another dedicated diplomat who can work with our partners and coordinate our Libya policy, whatever that may be. More than anything – more than military aid, more than financial aid – Libya needs U.S. leadership; leadership that can corral the various countries interfering in Libya, leverage our connections, and help push the political reconciliation process forward.

I urge this administration to give Libya the attention that it deserves.”


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La Falsa Transferencia de Poder de Raúl Castro en Cuba Comunista no Cambia Nada Para el Pueblo Cubano, Dice Ros-Lehtinen


La Falsa Transferencia de Poder de Raúl Castro en Cuba Comunista no Cambia Nada Para el Pueblo Cubano, Dice Ros-Lehtinen

“Reordenar las sillas del Titanic no significa que el pueblo cubano esté más cerca de la libertad que ayer.”

(Washington, DC) – La Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Presidenta del Subcomité del Medio Oriente y África del Norte, hizo la siguiente declaración sobre la falsa transferencia de poder de Raúl Castro a su sucesor, Miguel Diaz-Canel. Declaración de Ros-Lehtinen:

“Aquellos que conocen la realidad del pueblo cubano saben que esta supuesta transferencia de poder de un tirano a otro no es un momento decisivo. Es otra mentira de la dictadura. Reordenar las sillas del Titanic no significa que el pueblo cubano esté más cerca de la libertad que ayer. El equilibrio de poder permanecerá en manos de la dictadura comunista. No nos dejemos engañar:

  • Raúl Castro todavía tendrá la última palabra. La opresión diaria de las Damas de Blanco y todos los defensores de la democracia continuará;
  • el régimen seguirá albergando terroristas y fugitivos de la justicia de los E.E.U.U.; y,
  • La dictadura Castrista continuara amenazando los intereses de seguridad nacional de E.E.U.U a medida que continua expandiendo su colaboración con Rusia, China, Corea del Norte, Irán, Venezuela y otros estados paria

La ley de los Estados Unidos es clara y esta farsa no cumple con los requisitos de un gobierno de transición en Cuba. La administración no debe reconocer este régimen asesino hasta que se cumplan los requisitos básicos de Helms-Burton:  

  • todos los prisioneros políticos deben ser liberados;
  • deben celebrarse elecciones libres, justas y transparentes supervisadas por observadores internacionales; y
  • se restablezca el respeto a los derechos humanos fundamentales del pueblo cubano.

Hasta entonces, apoyare al pueblo cubano en su lucha por la libertad y la democracia y luchare por responsabilizar al régimen de Castro, independientemente de quien sea el títere de cabecera, por los atroces abusos contra los derechos humanos.”




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Raul Castro’s Fake Transfer of Power in Communist Cuba Changes Nothing for the Cuban People, Says Ros-Lehtinen


Raul Castro’s Fake Transfer of Power in Communist Cuba Changes Nothing for the Cuban People, Says Ros-Lehtinen

“Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic does not mean that the Cuban people are any closer to freedom than they were yesterday”

(Washington, DC) - U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement regarding Raul Castro’s fake transfer of power to his successor, Miguel Diaz-Canel. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“Those who know the reality of Communist Cuba know that this so-called transfer of power from one tyrant to another is no watershed moment. It is more smoke and mirrors from the dictatorship. Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic does not mean that the Cuban people are any closer to freedom than they were yesterday. The balance of power will remain in the hands of the communist dictatorship. Let us not be fooled:

  • Raul Castro will still be calling the shots. Daily oppression of the Ladies in White and all pro-democracy advocates will continue;
  • the regime will continue to harbor terrorists and fugitives from U.S. justice; and,
  • Cuba will continue to threaten U.S. national security interests as it continues to expand its collaboration with the likes of Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and other pariah states

U.S. law is clear – this does not meet the requirements of a transition government in Cuba. The Administration should not recognize this murderous regime until the basic requirements of Helms-Burton are met:

  • All political prisoners must be released;
  • free, fair and transparent elections monitored by international observers must take place; and
  • the Cuban people’s fundamental human rights are being respected.

Until then, I will continue to support the Cuban people in their fight for freedom and democracy and will seek to hold the Castro regime – regardless of who is the ceremonial figurehead – accountable for its atrocious human rights abuses.”



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Ros-Lehtinen Concludes Delegation Visit to South and East Asia to Promote Human Rights and Scale Back China's Destabilizing Influence


Ros-Lehtinen Concludes Delegation Visit to South and East Asia to Promote Human Rights and Scale Back China's Destabilizing Influence

(Washington, DC) - U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Claudia Tenney (R-NY) concluded a delegation visit to South Korea, Taiwan and India. The trip's objective was to assess U.S. policy toward North Korea, to develop ideas to counter China's aggression toward Taiwan and to find ways to increase stability in Tibet through support of the Tibetan people in exile. Among the many official meetings the delegation conducted, they met with U.S. service men and women near the de-militarized zone in South Korea and were received by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the Tibetan exile community in Dharamsala, India. While on the visit, Ros-Lehtinen was personally presented with the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon by Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen for her contributions to U.S.-Taiwan relations.

On the visit to East Asia, Ros-Lehtinen said:

“With an inter-Korean summit set for later this month, this is a critical time for U.S.-North Korea policy. We must be in lockstep with our South Korean partners as we push for denuclearization in the North and ensure that human rights is a significant piece of our overall strategy. The pressure from sanctions is responsible for Pyongyang’s current willingness to talk and that pressure must be increased in order to extract concessions on the regime’s nuclear program. It was an honor to meet with our service members stationed in Seoul and learn about their role countering the North Korean threat.”

“Taiwan is an important economic and security partner facing constant Chinese pressure and coercion. With a democracy that is the polar opposite of Beijing’s repression, Taiwan is the natural ally of the United States and it is important that we facilitate high level visits and provide the necessary tools to defend against the Chinese threat. We must also help counter Beijing’s campaign against Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, especially in Latin America, by firming up our ties and substituting real cooperation for Beijing’s false promises. I was deeply honored to be recognized by President Tsai for my role in helping strengthen U.S.-Taiwan relations and look forward to continuing to work with our partner in the future.”

On the visit to India, Ros-Lehtinen said:

“The Tibetan issue is not only one of morality and justice but of U.S. security interests as Beijing implements increasingly repressive and destabilizing policies with far reaching consequences. I was blessed to discuss with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan exile community in Dharamsala their plight facing Chinese aggression and how Congress can advance U.S. interests by promoting Tibetan freedom. The administration must appoint a Special Coordinator for Tibet as mandated by law and press Beijing to reopen official negotiations with the representatives of the Dalai Lama to find a lasting solution to a human rights issue that threatens stability on the Tibetan plateau.”

NOTE: While in South Korea, the delegation met with Director General Choong-myun Lee  of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Korean Peninsula Peace Regime Bureau and were briefed by U.S. officials from the Embassy. While in Taiwan, the delegation discussed U.S.-Taiwan relations with our unofficial embassy, the AIT, and met with President Tsai Ing-wen, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, and National Security Advisor David Lee to discuss China, the Taiwan Travel Act, and U.S.-Taiwan relations. In India, the delegation received an update on U.S.-India relations and the geopolitical landscape of South and Central Asia from our Embassy and met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, President Lobsang Sangay, Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel in Dharamsala, India, home of the Tibetan exile community.




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Petition to Deny Parole to Shannon Melendi's Murderer





Victim Services Office

State Board of Pardons—Paroles

2 M.L. King, Jr. Drive, SE                  Re: Parole Hearings for:

Suite 458, East Tower                        Colvin C. Hinton, III

Atlanta GA, 30334                             GDC ID # 0001201616


Dear Parole Board:

Please deny parole to Colvin C. Hinton, III.  He is a sexual predator.  He kidnapped, raped and murdered Shannon Melendi.  Since the day of her disappearance, her parents, sister, and my South Florida community have struggled to become whole.  Colvin C. Hinton, III must not be let out of prison.

Shannon Melendi was a 19-year-old girl who grew up in South Florida.  She was her high school’s junior and senior class president, she was a soccer player, a Legal Eagle, she spoke before the UN and the US Congress, and she was so much more.  Her goals were to be a Navy JAG attorney and one day serve as a Justice on the United States Supreme Court.  She won a scholarship to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and was working as scorekeeper at a softball game when she vanished during her lunch break on Saturday, March 26, 1994.  Her mistake was to have let her guard down around the umpire at the game, Colvin C. “Butch” Hinton, III.

Hinton was a sexual predator who knew how to blend in amongst us. He appeared to be a church-going family man, but Colvin C. Hinton, III, had a three-time record of kidnapping, assault and rape, including on members of his own family, before Shannon.  One of his victims was 14-year-old Tammy Singleton, he kidnapped her, tied her up in his basement and as he tried to attack the girl, his first-wife walked in on him.  If he had been kept in prison, Shannon would be alive today.

In 2005, Hinton was found GUILTY of murdering Shannon Melendi.   Though he has since confessed to kidnapping, brutally raping, and murdering Shannon, her body has not been recovered.  Hinton was sentenced to life in prison, with a chance for parole.  Please do not let this murderer out of prison.  Please give Shannon’s family, friends, and my community peace of mind, to know that her killer will remain behind bars where he rightfully belongs.

I respectfully request you deny parole to kidnapper, rapist, and murderer, Colvin C. “Butch” Hinton, III (GDC ID #0001201616).






1) Select and copy entire text in black above.

2) Click on the "Heart" for e mail form, under SUBJECT type Shannon Melendi  then paste.

3) Make sure to type your name and address.  And please REMOVE ANY ATTACHMENTS (auto signatures in the e mail are attachments).

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Harry and Harriette Moore - CSAC Postal Stamp Letter


U.S. Must Hold Saudis to Gold Standard in Any Nuclear Cooperation Agreement; Congress Must Strengthen Oversight Role, Says Ros-Lehtinen


U.S. Must Hold Saudis to Gold Standard in Any Nuclear Cooperation Agreement; Congress Must Strengthen Oversight Role, Says Ros-Lehtinen


“That is why Brad and I, along with Judge Poe and Ranking Member Keating of our Nonproliferation subcommittee, introduced a bill today that would amend this process – the Nuclear Cooperation Reform Act. We want to amend the Atomic Energy Act – the underlying law that governs these 123 agreements and the approval procedures – so that Congress reasserts its proper oversight role.”

(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 at a subcommittee hearing entitled, “Implications of a U.S.-Saudi Arabia Nuclear Cooperation Agreement on the Middle East.” Statement by Ros-Lehtinen (as prepared for delivery):

“Just last week, in an interview aired on CBS News, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia stated “but without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we would follow suit as soon as possible.” This interview aired just days after Energy Secretary Rick Perry flew to London to discuss a 123 – or nuclear cooperation agreement – with senior Saudi officials. Saudi Arabia is planning to build two nuclear reactors along the Persian Gulf in the near future, with plans to expand to at least 16 reactors across the country.

But what should alarm all of us is Saudi Arabia’s insistence that it be allowed to have enrichment and reprocessing capabilities and statements about acquiring nuclear weapons. The Crown Prince’s interview just last week is reason enough to have the administration pump the breaks on the negotiations and insist that there will be no 123 agreement that includes enriching and reprocessing. Unfortunately, from the little we do know from the Administration, it is looking at this deal in terms of economics and commerce, and national security implications only register as a minor issue, if at all.

I am not completely opposed to Saudi Arabia having a peaceful nuclear program, but the idea of Saudi Arabia having a nuclear program with the ability to enrich is a major national security concern. There are security risks to consider. As we all know, the Middle East region is constantly ensnared in conflict and instability or on the verge of conflict. We needn’t look further than on Saudi Arabia’s own borders, where the Kingdom is leading a coalition against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen. The Houthis already targeted Riyadh’s airport in a missile attack, Hezbollah is amassing its presence in Yemen, and you can be sure that any nuclear infrastructure that goes up will be a target as well.

There are also proliferation risks to consider and the precedent we may set if we allow Saudi Arabia to enrich, as other countries in the region will want similar capabilities. When we negotiated the UAE 123 agreement, our partners in the UAE voluntarily agreed to renounce enrichment and reprocessing capabilities and technologies. This was a watershed agreement, and this has become what we now know as the Gold Standard. The previous Administration abandoned the pursuit of the Gold Standard for all nuclear cooperation agreements after the UAE deal and it appears the current Administration is following suit.

That is why, yesterday, I joined our colleague from California, Brad Sherman, in sending a letter to the Administration urging it to pursue nothing short of the Gold Standard in its negotiations with the Saudis. Without those assurances, we feel it would be necessary to oppose the agreement - there are too many concerns and there’s no justification for our friends in Saudi Arabia to have enrichment and reprocessing capabilities. Unfortunately, the way the current system is set up, it is rigged in favor of the Administration getting its 123 agreements approved no matter what.

When the Administration submits its agreement to Congress for our review period, we have hearings and we debate the merits of the agreement, but then the only way Congress can block the proposal is by passing a joint resolution of disapproval. Not only would Congress need a majority of votes for the disapproval, we would need a large enough majority in order to override a Presidential veto. That is not how this should work – these are agreements that have great national security implications. They all should have robust debate, they all should be thoroughly vetted, and then, if there is no Gold Standard, Congress should have to vote to approve the proposal and say in the affirmative, we agree with the President, this deal is a good deal.

That is why Brad and I, along with Judge Poe and Ranking Member Keating of our Nonproliferation subcommittee, introduced a bill today that would amend this process – the Nuclear Cooperation Reform Act. We want to amend the Atomic Energy Act – the underlying law that governs these 123 agreements and the approval procedures – so that Congress reasserts its proper oversight role. Our bill would force a vote of approval on any 123 agreement that falls short of the Gold Standard, and that is the way it should be. We should not allow these agreements to come into force passively and we should not cede our authority to oversee and approve these agreements to the Executive Branch. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses.”


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Students rally for LGBTQ protections in landmark education legislation


Students rally for LGBTQ protections in landmark education legislation

Polis, Baldwin, Ros-Lehtinen, Scott, and Takano author Student Non-Discrimination Act

Washington: Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.; Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.; Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va.; and Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif. introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA), which would help protect public school students from bullying, harassment, and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  The bill has over 100 cosponsors in total.

The Student Non-Discrimination Act is more necessary than ever, as the Departments of Education and Justice - under the guidance of President Trump, his Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions – rescinded Obama Administration guidance on the rights of transgender students and refuse to investigate cases of discrimination against transgender studentsPolis, Ros-Lehtinen, and over 90 other members of congress recently asked the Dept. of Education to reverse course and investigate cases of transgender discrimination

“All students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, have the right to a safe learning space and should feel comfortable at school,” said Polis.  “Congress needs to act and let all students know that we are on their side, and we not only believe everyone belongs - we believe that every child deserves a safe and civil learning environment.”

“Congress must make absolutely clear that every student, including LGBTQ youth, must have access to an education free from discrimination, harassment and bullying,” said Baldwin.  “As multiple federal courts of appeals have recognized, current law is properly understood to protect these young people.  But with the Trump Administration walking back the federal government’s commitment to equality, it is critical that Congress act to eliminate any doubt and ensure these students are protected from discrimination.” 

“As a former Florida certified teacher, I recognize that schools should be safe places where learning is the memorable experience students takes with them. I’m once again introducing the Student Non-Discrimination Act with my colleagues, Jared and Mark, to increase protections for LGBT students. We have seen too many cases of LGBT youth feeling unaccepted, and this can lead to depression, substance abuse, and, in some cases, suicide. We have the opportunity to make a difference by fostering a more inclusive environment for students to succeed,” said Ros-Lehtinen.

“School must be a place where all students feel welcome and safe. We know that LGBT students face higher rates of discrimination and bullying, both of which increases their likelihood of skipping school, underperforming academically, and dropping out. I am proud to cosponsor this important legislation that will ensure LGBT students have access to equal educational opportunities,” said Scott.

“After more than 20 years teaching in California’s public schools, few things matter more to me than ensuring that every young person in America is able to attend a school free from fear and discrimination. That is why I am proud to join Rep. Polis as he reintroduces the Student Non-Discrimination Act. America’s LGBTQ youth often face harrowing discrimination in their schools — mistreatment that can impact their academic achievement and forever limit their success in life. At a time when three-quarters of LGBTQ youth report feeling unsafe in their school - and are twice as likely as their non-LGBTQ peers to experience harassment or violence - Congress must act to provide these young people with the protections they deserve. Every young person in America should receive an education that allows them to fulfill their potential in life, and this legislation is an important step to providing that education to our LGBTQ youth,” said Takano.

The group of legislators drafted the legislation for students like Emma and Marc who have endured harassment at school. 

Emma, a student in Fort Collins said: “I am a student who identifies as part of the LGBT community. I have come out to my family and close friends, but just because they accept me doesn't mean my school does. Even if my school told me straight forward they accepted and supported me, that doesn't limit the actions of the individual students. I have overheard and been in the middle of conversations that are negative towards the community, and for the sake of keeping my identity safe, I don't speak out against it. Passing the act to protect LGBT students in their school environment will be at least a step towards treating comments that put down the LGBT community as any other rude and bullying comment.”

Marc, a student in Erie said: “I'm an LGBT student, and I've faced harassment on the bus coming home from school by my peers. I've been called tranny, yelled at, and watched others be yelled at as well. Because of this I have to wait another hour before coming home, change my work hours, and it's been very stressful on me. Passing the SNDA act would be a blessing. I'd be able to get home on time and ride the bus without fear of being attacked.”

A national study of adolescents in grades 7 - 12 found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers. Further, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, negative attitudes toward LGBT youth put these students “at increased risk for experiences with violence, compared with other students.”

Numerous advocacy groups locally and nationally have championed the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

“At a time when the Trump administration has chosen to turn its back to LGBT students, it’s more important than ever for Members of Congress to step up. The ACLU applauds Representatives Polis, Ros-Lehtinen, Scott, and Takano, as well as Senator Baldwin, for today’s introduction of the Student Non-Discrimination Act. No student in our nation’s public elementary and secondary schools should ever be denied a quality education because of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This legislation will help to ensure that our public schools are places where every student, including those who are LGBT, can learn and thrive,” said Ian Thompson, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

"Every child in this country has a right to feel safe in their school. The Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) would provide crucial protections against discrimination for LGBTQ young people, one of the most vulnerable groups in our community. We thank Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Mark Takano (D-CA), and Bobby Scott (D-VA) for their leadership on this issue and being champions of equality for all people,” David Stacy, Human Rights Campaign (HRC).


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03.20.18 - Sherman, Ros-Lehtinen Letter to Administration - Saudi Arabia 123 Agreement Gold Standard


Nuclear Cooperation Reform Act of 2018


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On Local10: Ros-Lehtinen Celebrates Israel's 70th Anniversary of Independence

2018-04-20 19:31:02

On CBS4: Ros-Lehtinen Calls Cuba Transition of Power a Sham

2018-04-20 19:29:52

En Telemundo, Ros-Lehtinen Habla Sobre el Legado de Barbara Bush

2018-04-20 19:27:49

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen: Fake Transition of Power in Cuba Does Not Make the Cuban People Any Freer

2018-04-18 17:13:07

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Recognizes Sylvester Cancer Center at the University of Miami

2018-04-18 16:12:51

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Recognizes the 25th Anniversary of UM-NSU CARD

2018-04-17 19:32:17

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Congratulates University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary.

2018-04-17 19:30:57

Rep. RosLehtinen Recognizes Debbie's Dream Foundation and their Upcoming Gala

2018-04-12 17:50:52

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Congratulates Lotus House for their Grand Opening of Lotus Village

2018-04-11 17:44:06

Ros-Lehtinen Applauds Annual Walking For Friendship Event to Raise Awareness of Special Needs

2018-03-23 15:55:53

Ros-Lehtinen Recognizes The Victory Center for Its Service to Those with Autism in South Florida

2018-03-22 14:07:34

Ros-Lehtinen Congratulates Best Buddies Miami for a Successful 3/17 Friendship Walk

2018-03-20 16:39:52

On the House Floor, Ros-Lehtinen Honors the Life and Sacrifice of SSgt Carl Enis

2018-03-19 23:29:16

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Calls for Additional Sanctions on Venezuelan Regime to Combat Human Rights Abuses

2018-03-08 18:06:40

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Recognizes MDCPS Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho for His Outstanding Career

2018-03-06 17:54:50

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Commemorates the Life Russian Human Rights and Anti-Putin Activist Boris Nemstov

2018-03-06 17:51:30

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Speaks on Anniversary of Brothers to the Rescue Shootdown by Castro Regime

2018-02-14 15:49:30

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Speaks in Support of Bill Sanctioning Those Involved in Attrocities by Hamas

2018-02-13 23:16:57

Ros-Lehtinen Bill Authorizing Enhanced Cooperation with Jordan Passes House of Representatives

2018-02-05 22:57:57

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Recognizes the 2018 Jewish Community Services of South Florida Matzah Mitzvah

2018-02-05 19:55:27

Contact Information

2206 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3931
Fax 202-225-5620

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


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