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Republican

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R)

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-3931

Address: 2206 RHOB, DC 20515

State Office Contact Information

Phone: (305) 668-2285

Address: 4960 SW 72 Avenue, Miami FL 33155-5544

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Staff
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Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Arango, Cristian
Congressional Aide
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Bustos, Argentina
Congressional Aide
Del Portillo, Christine
Deputy Director; Scheduler
Fernandez, Keith
Communications Director
Ferrer, Christopher
Legislative Correspondent
Hueck, Erick
Congressional Aide
Ramos, Grace
Congressional Aide
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Sanz, Maytee
District Chief of Staff
Vazquez, Mercy
Congressional Aide
Arango, Cristian
Congressional Aide
Bustos, Argentina
Congressional Aide
Hueck, Erick
Congressional Aide
Ramos, Grace
Congressional Aide
Vazquez, Mercy
Congressional Aide
Sanz, Maytee
District Chief of Staff
Fernandez, Keith
Communications Director
Del Portillo, Christine
Deputy Director; Scheduler
Boffelli, Gabriella
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brooks, Wes
Legislative Assistant
Ferrer, Christopher
Legislative Correspondent
Salpeter, Joshua
Legislative Director
Del Portillo, Christine
Deputy Director; Scheduler
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Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Committees
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Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Biography
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  • Elected: Aug. 1989, 12th full term.
  • District: Florida 27
  • Born: Jul. 15, 1952, Havana, Cuba
  • Home: Miami
  • Education:

    Miami-Dade Comm. Col., A.A. 1972, FL Intl. U., B.A. 1975, M.S. 1986, U. of Miami, Ed.D.. 2004

  • Professional Career:

    Teacher, principal & owner, Eastern Academy Elem. Schl., 1978–85.

  • Political Career:

    FL House of Reps., 1982–86; FL Senate, 1986–89.

  • Ethnicity: Hispanic/Latino
  • Religion:

    Episcopalian

  • Family: Married (Dexter); 4 children

Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in 1989 became the first Cuban-American and the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress. Since then, she has blazed an unusual political trail – generally conservative on fiscal and foreign policy matters with moderate-to-liberal stances on gay rights, immigration, and other social issues that have kept her popular at home. Read More

Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in 1989 became the first Cuban-American and the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress. Since then, she has blazed an unusual political trail – generally conservative on fiscal and foreign policy matters with moderate-to-liberal stances on gay rights, immigration, and other social issues that have kept her popular at home.

Ros-Lehtinen (ross-LAY-teh-nin) was born in Havana. She came to Miami at the age of 8 not knowing English and graduated from Miami Dade Community College and Florida International University. She became a teacher and then was the owner of a private school. In 2004, she got her doctorate in education from the University of Miami. Her dissertation was on U.S. House members’ views on national testing for high school students. She was elected to the Florida House in 1982, at age 30, and to the state Senate in 1986. While there, she met her husband, Dexter Lehtinen, who also served in both houses of the legislature and as U.S. attorney in Miami during the first Bush administration. In 1989, Ros-Lehtinen ran for the U.S. House in the special election after the death of Democrat Claude Pepper, one of the most enduring liberals in American politics and a staunch opponent of Castro. At that time, there were no Republicans and no Cuban-Americans representing Miami or Dade County. Democratic nominee Gerald Richman played on suspicions of Cubans and won the votes of 96% of blacks and 88% of non-Hispanic whites. Ninety percent of Hispanics, almost all of them Cuban, voted for Ros-Lehtinen. That was enough to give her a 53%-47% victory. In the years afterward, the district became more Hispanic, and she had no serious challenges until 2008.

Ros-Lehtinen’s voting patterns have become more centrist as the House GOP has veered to the right. She is a longtime supporter of gay rights, backing same-sex marriage and serving as one of the first GOP members of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. LGBT issues are personal to her; her daughter Amanda is now a transgender man named Rodrigo Lehtinen. She was one of just 23 House Republicans to oppose a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in June 2012 that Democrats called unacceptable, and she earlier abandoned the majority of her party in voting to support an increase in the minimum wage; raising automobiles’ fuel-economy standards; tightening food safety; and giving the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate some tobacco products.

When Republicans won a House majority in 1995, she refused to sign the party’s Contract with America policy manifesto and was a harsh critic of Republican attempts to pass English-only legislation, to cut off welfare benefits for legal immigrants—she voted against the 1996 welfare bills—and to reduce the immigration quota for relatives of U.S. citizens. In the 2007 debate over immigration, she pleaded with Republicans not to alienate the growing Hispanic voting bloc. Ros-Lehtinen backed Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential bid despite his hard-line immigration stance, saying his position on economic issues mattered far more to her.

When Republicans reclaimed control of the House in 2011, Ros-Lehtinen took over as chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee. She developed an extremely tight relationship with the panel’s ranking Democrat, Howard Berman of California, and they worked closely on imposing economic sanctions on Iran as a response to its developing a nuclear program. In 2010, they formed the bipartisan Working Group on Iran Sanctions Implementation to help ensure that U.S. and international sanctions on Iran are fully enforced, and in 2012 she introduced a bill with Iowa Democrat Bruce Braley to compensate the U.S. hostages who were held in Iran in for 444 days starting in 1979. (The legislation did not move, but the movie Argo about the hostage crisis gave it some attention.) Ros-Lehtinen shared Berman’s strong support for Israel and is a fierce critic of Middle East regimes such as Syria that are accused of sponsoring terrorism. And she was a strong supporter of the war with Iraq. When a series of revolutions began to take place in 2011 throughout the Middle East, beginning in Tunisia and Egypt, Ros-Lehtinen kept close tabs on the Obama administration’s involvement. She initially criticized the White House for failing in Egypt to act quickly enough to press for reform, and she chastised the administration for waffling on how to handle the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ros-Lehtinen strongly backed the 1996 Helms-Burton law that tightened sanctions against Fidel Castro, and she has opposed farm-state Republicans who have sought to relax the trade embargo on Cuba in effect since 1961. In February 2008, after Castro stepped down as head of state, she called for his indictment for shooting down two Brothers to the Rescue planes in 1996. Cuba’s state-run newspaper, Gramma, once called her “a ferocious wolf disguised as a woman,” which she shortened in Spanish to “LOBA FRZ” and proudly put on her license plate. Republican term limits forced her to yield the Foreign Affairs gavel in 2013 to California’s Ed Royce.

As the 2008 election approached, national Democrats thought Ros-Lehtinen might be vulnerable. Democrat Annette Taddeo, owner of the LanguageSpeak translation service, launched a challenge and financed it with $400,000 of her own money. Colombian-born Taddeo favored the embargo on Cuba but wanted to ease travel restrictions and money transfers. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poured $1.4 million into television ads, and New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi campaigned for Taddeo. Ros-Lehtinen won 58%-42%, even though the district voted 51%-49% for Obama. “If I can make it in this election, I can make it in any election,” she told The Miami Herald.

Obama even called with congratulations, but Ros-Lehtinen, thinking that one of the local radio stations was pulling a prank, hung up on him. She said, “I thought, ‘Why would Obama want to call a little slug on the planet like me?’” When White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel called to explain, she hung up on him, too. Then Berman called and persuaded her that the calls were genuine. She took the president’s second call, and the two shared a laugh over the episode.

The 2010 election marked her return to dominance. She took 69% of the vote, and two years later she won again with 60%.

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Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Election Results
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2012 General
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R)
Votes: 138,488
Percent: 60.17%
Manny Yevancey (D)
Votes: 85,020
Percent: 36.94%
Thomas Cruz-Wiggins (NPA)
Votes: 6,663
Percent: 2.89%
2012 Primary
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R)
Unopposed
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (69%), 2008 (58%), 2006 (62%), 2004 (65%), 2002 (69%), 2000 (100%), 1998 (100%), 1996 (100%), 1994 (100%), 1992 (67%), 1990 (60%), 1989 special (53%)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Votes and Bills
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National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 48 (L) : 52 (C) 51 (L) : 48 (C) 47 (L) : 53 (C)
Social 48 (L) : 52 (C) 56 (L) : 44 (C) 53 (L) : 47 (C)
Foreign 43 (L) : 57 (C) 43 (L) : 54 (C) 38 (L) : 60 (C)
Composite 46.3 (L) : 53.7 (C) 50.7 (L) : 49.3 (C) 46.3 (L) : 53.7 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC7066
LCV2017
CFG4150
ITIC-100
NTU6262
20112012
COC94-
ACLU-23
ACU4857
ADA255
AFSCME0-
Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Find AG in contempt
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop detainee transfers
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Limit campaign funds
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $820 billion stimulus
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Let guns in national parks
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass cap-and-trade
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar federal abortion funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Share immigration data
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Foreign aid abortion ban
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Ban gay bias in workplace
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 8/08
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • No operations in Iran
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Free trade with Peru
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
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