First Latina Elected to Congress Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Announces Retirement


Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Latina elected to Congress, has announced that she will be retiring.

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The 64-year-old Republican, who made history with her major election win in 1989, has served more than three decades in office.

"It's been such a delight and a high honor to serve our community for so many years and help constituents every day of the week," the Cuban-American politician said in an exclusive interview with the Miami Herald Sunday. "We just said, 'It's time to take a new step.'"

She will be retiring at the end of her term next year, and it is likely that a Democrat will take her place.

The Latina, who is a moderate Republican, was elected last November to Florida’s 27th district, which, according to the Herald, leans so Democratic that constituents voted for Hillary Clinton over President Donald Trump there by 20 percentage points.

Ros-Lehtinen doesn't have any doubts that she would still win in the district if she were seeking re-election, however. Working in office just isn’t appealing to her anymore.

"There was no epiphany. There was no moment, nothing that has happened that I've said, 'I've got to move on,'" she said. "It was just a realization that I could keep getting elected — but it's not about getting elected."

She also noted that her retirement has nothing to do with Trump, though she did vocalize that she takes issue with much of his administration.

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"I've served under all kinds of different dynamics in all these years that I've been in office here," she said. "Though I don't agree with many, if not most, positions of President Trump."