July 15 - Happy Birthday, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Posted on July 15, 2020

The first Cuban American - and the first Latina! - elected to Congress, in 1989.

The person selected to give a Republican response to the 2011 and 2014 State of the Union addresses - in Spanish.

The first Republican in the House to support same-sex marriage.

Former Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was born in Cuba on this date in 1952, and she came to the U.S. - Floriday, specifically - when she was seven. Her maternal grandparents were Sephardic Jews who had been active in Cuba's Jewish community, although Ros-Lehtinen herself was raised Catholic and is now Episcopalian. 

Ros-Lehtinen and her husband
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was elected to the Florida house in 1982, and that's where she met her husband, also a politician. He was a Democrat but switched parties before the two married. One of their two children (now grown) is a transgender LGBT rights activist!

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