Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: First Hispanic Woman Elected to US Congress to Retire
On Sunday, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced that this current legislative term will be her last, as she plans to retire from the US Congress and will not seek re-election.
After 38 years in the US legislative branch, where Ros-Lehtinen became the first representative of Cuban origin to be elected to the lower house, the representative stated that “it is time to take a new step.”
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Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said that it was a “great honor” to serve as a legislator and ensured that no particular event led her to make the decision, “It was only an understanding that I could continue to be elected, but it is not about being elected,” she explained.
The Cuban-American said that her decision was not influenced by the differences she has had with the president of the United States, Donald Trump, as well as with the Republican leadership in Congress. However, she emphasized once again: “I do not agree with many, if not most, of President Trump’s positions.”
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s decision opens the way for Democrats to target a seat in the House in the upcoming 2018 elections, especially in consideration of Hillary Clinton’s 20-point lead over Donald Trump in the district that Cuban-American represents.
Meanwhile, the congresswoman’s husband and campaign manager, Dexter Lehtinen, said one of the motives that prompted the Republican to make the decision was “to spend more time with her family.” And Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is the Florida representative with the longest tenure in Congress, has four grandchildren.
“I will continue to confront tyrants and dictators around the world,” said the parliamentarian, who was born in Havana, Cuba 64 years ago, and was the first Hispanic woman elected to a seat in the House of Representatives, in 1982.
As the time winds down until her retirement, Ros-Lehtinen will continue her activities for the next 20 months.
Republicans and Democrats will have plenty of time to field a candidate for the south Florida-based 27th district she represents.