Tributes roll in for Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
House Speaker Paul Ryan
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is a force in every sense of the word. She has had an extraordinary life in public service, starting out as a teacher and rising to become the first Hispanic woman in Congress and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. A human rights champion, she is an unwavering voice for the voiceless in her native Cuba and around the world. For all she has achieved, Ileana remains as unassuming as ever. The joy with which she serves her constituents—and dotes on her grandchildren—is absolutely infectious. It is such a privilege to serve with Ileana, and I know the whole House joins me in thanking her and her family.”
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart
"Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is one of the most respected and admired Members of Congress. For almost four decades, Ileana has served our community with honor and integrity. From her days as an educator, to the Florida Legislature, and now ending her tenure in Congress, Ileana truly exemplifies what it means to be a public servant. She never seeks political expediency and always puts the interests of her constituents first. From one corner of the globe to another, she is tireless in her crusade for human rights and democracy.
"To say Ileana is a trusted friend and mentor to me is an understatement; she is a part of my family, and I will dearly miss 'mi hermana legislativa' in the halls of Congress. I wish nothing but the best for Ileana, her husband Dexter, their children, and their grandchildren as she begins this next chapter in her life."
Rep. Ted Deutch
"Ileana broke barriers as the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress and the first female Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She has been a stalwart champion for human rights around the world, a voice for the oppressed, an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ equality, and one of the most steadfast defenders of Israel. Her legislative contributions have led to some of the toughest international sanctions against Iran, North Korea and Venezuela, and the promotion of democracy worldwide.
Rep. Charlie Crist
"I'll miss having my friend in Congress with me, but I'm very grateful for her long, bipartisan service to our country."
Rep. Frederica Wilson
“It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. One of the great strengths of the Florida delegation is the ability of all of its members to put partisan differences aside and work closely together on issues of mutual interest and concern. Ileana and I have traveled to Haiti several times together to assess what was happening on the ground after devastating natural disasters and returned home to advocate on Haiti’s behalf. She also managed my Bring Back Our Girls bill on the House floor in December, which no other Republican from the Foreign Affairs Committee was willing to do. It was a critical step in getting the legislation passed and signed into law.
“Ileana was the first Latina woman to be elected to Congress. Throughout her tenure on Capitol Hill and her service in Florida’s House and Senate, she has been a force to be reckoned with and unafraid to veer from the Party line. I love Ileana and will miss having her as a colleague, but we will forever be friends.”
Cristóbal J. Alex, president of Latino Victory Fund
"Though we've disagreed with her party's policies, throughout her 30 year tenure, Rep. IIeana Ros-Lehtinen has served as a role model for millions of Latinos looking to break barriers in electoral politics. We see this moment as an opportunity for Democrats to recruit a proven progressive Hispanic candidate that reflects both the community in the policies they pursue and their demographics. It is only fitting to replace the first Latina elected to the United States House of Representatives with a candidate dedicated to building Latino political power.”
NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers
"Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is simply a force of nature. Her tireless work ethic was only matched by her charismatic personality. She represented her South Florida district well and she will be dearly missed in Washington. I wish her and her family the best. I am confident we will keep this seat red in 2018.”