By Dru Barcelo
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen recently announced that she was retiring from Congress at the end of her term next year. A Cuban-born, Republican affiliate, Ros-Lehtinen served for over 35 years, making her the most senior U.S. representative from Florida.
Ros-Lehtinen took oath to office in 1989, breaking a glass ceiling for Latina women and making history as the first ever Cuban American and Latina elected into Congress. She was also the first Republican woman elected to the House from Florida.
Having represented Florida’s 27th congressional district for over 35 years and served as Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee from 2011-13, the announcement of her retirement came as a shock to many after so many terms in which she has received bipartisan support.
While many have claimed that her retirement is due to conflicts with President Trump, she has since denounced such claims, claiming that the prospect of another two to four years in Congress isn’t appealing enough to her.
Though she is the black sheep of her party due to her moderate stances in contrast to her colleagues, she has been one of the most vocal fiscal Republican critics of President Trump, openly stating that she did not vote for her Republican party affiliate.
In the past two years, the Republican Representative repeatedly denounced her support for now President Donald Trump, while also being amongst the first to deny his attempts to repeal ObamaCare, winning over the hearts of many Democrats.
She has declared her disagreements with the President to be on issues pertaining to deportations, transgender rights, as well as healthcare reform.
What has made Ros-Lehtinen stand out is her ability to obtain bi-partisan support. Though she maintained a conservative ideology, she has displayed a fiscal Republican stance, especially with her open support of the LGBTQ community, being that her own son is transgender himself.
Ros-Lehtinen has acted as a voice for many Cuban Americans, inspiring many to follow in her footsteps, and she is considered an icon for many moderate Republicans in the age of radicalism.