At a Glance
- Career History: Florida Senator (1983-1989), Florida Representative (1983-1986), Teacher, Principal, and Owner, Eastern Academy Elementary School (1978-1985)
- Birthday: July 12, 1952
- Hometown: Miami, Fla.
- Alma Mater: A.A.-Miami-Dade Community College (1972), B.A.-Florida International University (1975), M.S.-Florida International University (1986), Ph.D.-University of Miami (2004)
- Spouse: Dexter Lehtinen
- Religion: Catholic
- Committees: House Foreign Affairs Committee (chairwoman)
- DC Office: 2470 Rayburn House Office BuildingPhone: 202-225-3931
Path to Power
Born in 1952 in Havana, Cuba, Ros-Lehtinen was 7 when she and her family arrived in Florida in the expectation that Fidel Castro's revolution would blow over in weeks. But it became clear the family would remain in the United States after the Bay of Pigs failure.
Ros-Lehtinen graduated from Miami-Dade Community College and Florida International University, then became a teacher and later the owner of the Eastern Academy Elementary School.
Ros-Lehtinen is among the most independent-minded Republicans, voting with the GOP during the 110th Congress 84.7 percent of the time. She has been an outspoken opponent of abortion rights, but is moderate on other cultural issues including immigration and gay rights.
In 1994, she was one of three House Republican incumbents who didn't sign the party's "Contract with America." Ros-Lehtinen argued that one of the ten bills that the contract sought to bring to a floor vote was "unconstitutional and inhumane" because it sought to ban welfare programs for non-citizens, including legal resident immigrants.
Ros-Lehtinen, along with brothers Reps. Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) are leaders in the anti-Cuban government movement in the Miami area. Lincoln Diaz-Balart retired in 2010 and his brother, Mario, ran and won his district.
Dexter Lehtinen, Ros-Lehtinen's husband, is a former U.S. attorney under the George H.W. Bush administration who helped produce the "Swift boat" ads that helped sink 2004 Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) presidential campaign. The couple met while both were serving in the Florida legislature.