Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Dudley Randall Biography - A Poet from an Early Age to Ferrol Sams Jr Biography » Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: 1952—: U.S. Congressional Representative Biography - Quickly Adapted To New Country, Won First Election, Took On More Controversial Issues

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: 1952—: U.S. Congressional Representative - Quickly Adapted To New Country

miami florida house english


The daughter of accountant Enrique Ros and his wife Amanda Adato Ros, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was born in Havana, Cuba, on July 15, 1952. She was raised Catholic like most other Cubans, but her mother's father was Jewish. The family left Cuba in 1960, a year after Castro seized power, and supported the U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion aimed at toppling the Castro government in 1961. After that effort failed, however, the Ros children were raised as Americans.

Ileana spoke no English at all when she arrived in Miami, but she adapted quickly to her new homeland. "She was such a normal person to grow up with," her childhood friend Maria St. George told the Globe. "When I first met her she was a very American Cuban, not very Latin."

That quick adaptation, however, masked much hard work. Growing up in the 1960s, Ros-Lehtinen did not have the benefit of bilingual education classes, and she would resist Republican-inspired English-only legislation when she became a political leader. "I was lost during the first year I was in the United States because we did not have those bilingual programs," she told Insight on the News. "In my second year it was better, and in my third year I was ready for my English classroom." Ros-Lehtinen's father stressed the importance of education, living away from his family for a time in order to improve his English and eventually earning an American college degree through night courses in Miami.

Ros-Lehtinen chose an educational career for herself, earning an associate's degree at Miami-Dade Community College in 1972 and going on for a bachelor's degree at Florida International University in 1975. In 1986 she earned a master's in educational leadership from the same school, and she began work on her doctorate in the 1990s. After teaching for several years in the mid-1970s, she opened a private elementary school of her own, the Eastern Academy, teaching and serving as its principal until 1985.

At a Glance . . .


Born Ileana Ros on July 15, 1952, in Havana, Cuba; daughter of Enrique Emilio Ros and Amanda Adato Ros; married Dexter Lehtinen; children: Amanda, Patricia; stepchildren: Katharine, Douglas. Education: Miami-Dade Community College, AA, 1972; Florida International University, BA, 1975, MS, 1986; University of Miami, doctoral studies, 1990s. Politics: Republican.


Career: Teacher, mid-1970s; Eastern Academy Elementary School, founder, principal, and teacher, 1978-85; Florida House of Representatives, state representative, 1982-86; Florida Senate, state senator, 1986-89; U.S. House of Representatives, Florida's 18th District representative, 1989–; Committee on International Operations & Human Rights, chair, 2001–.


Addresses: Office—2160 Rayburn House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20515. Website—www.house.gov/ros-lehtinen.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: 1952—: U.S. Congressional Representative - Won First Election [next]

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or

Vote down Vote up

about 5 years ago

por favor nececito ayuda:fuy a cuba por cuestiones de enfermedad de un hijo que tenia enfermo y volvi y a hora me queren deportar,y me dicen que tengo que poner un abogado y yo no tengo dinero para pagar uno,ya estoy trabajando nececito que alguien me finance el dinero para poder pagarlo por fabor ayudem guillermo