Politics

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s hubby thinks she’s full of hot air. Here’s why he may be right.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen talks Trump and her next adventure

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Cuban American elected to Congress, reflects on her more than 35 years in elected office, why she’s glad she never endorsed Trump and what’s next for the Republican Party.
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U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Cuban American elected to Congress, reflects on her more than 35 years in elected office, why she’s glad she never endorsed Trump and what’s next for the Republican Party.

Is Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen “full of hot air,” as she said her husband teases her?

Depends on whom you check with and how you define “hot air.”

C-SPAN, the network that covers Congress and keeps track of the times that a member speaks on the House floor, lists the Republican Ros-Lehtinen, who holds the Miami-based District 27 seat, fourth with 81 speeches in 2017.

Only Republican Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania (122), Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee (115) of Texas and Republican Ted Poe (100) of Texas visited the floor more often.

By comparison, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz trailed at 19 floor days, Carlos Curbelo had 13, Frederica Wilson had 12, Fred Upton had 11 and Peter King had six.

Ileana reps
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., is flanked by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., left, and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 9, 2017. J. Scott Applewhite AP

“I enjoy speaking in the Chamber on local issues because it informs the constituents of important people and topics in our community,” Ros-Lehtinen said in an email to the Miami Herald. “My brief remarks also tell my Congressional colleagues of interesting activities in my hometown and international topics that should concern all of us.”

But is the congresswoman who announced that she is retiring in 2018, well, loquacious?

In a tweet posted Friday, Ros-Lehtinen quipped that her husband Dexter Lehtinen, Palmetto Bay’s village attorney, teases her as being “full of hot air.”

“Dexter lovingly jokes about my remarks because they aren’t exactly earth shaking,” she said with a chuckle.

C-SPAN doesn’t rank Congress members by total time on the floor, so a representative who yaks on for an hour or more once a month will place lower among floor visits. Ros-Lehtinen’s speeches are short and to the point, and she frequently uses her time to talk about Latin American issues that usually aren’t talked about outside Miami.

“I look forward to speaking, be the topic local or international. Next up: a shout out to a lady constituent who turns 112. I better hurry up with that one minute!” Ros-Lehtinen said.

“Also, it still gives me goosebumps when I speak on the House floor because I came to this great country not being able to speak one word in English. Is this a great country or what?!”

Howard Cohen: 305-376-3619, @HowardCohen

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