A native of Cuba, former U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) served for almost three decades as a Member of Congress representing diverse areas in South Florida. She was the Chairwoman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In these roles, she led on pressing foreign policy issues, including championing the advancement of freedom and democracy for all, fighting Islamist extremism; supporting free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea; and imposing sanctions on human rights violators in Venezuela. Her record over nearly four decades of public service includes fighting against tyranny and oppression, particularly in her native homeland of Cuba, as well as working diligently to support and strengthen the US - Israel strategic partnership.
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was a member of the CIA Subcommittee and the National Security Agency and Cybersecurity Subcommittee. A strong proponent of education, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen holds multiple education degrees, including a doctorate from the University of Miami, Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from Florida International University, and an Associate’s degree from Miami Dade College. She began her career as a Florida certified teacher, and then founded, and served as the principal of a private bilingual elementary school.
She was the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress, as well as to the State of Florida House of Representatives and Senate. She is married to Dexter Lehtinen, former US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and a decorated Vietnam combat veteran. They have four adult children and nine grandchildren.