Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (also known as Ileana Ros; born July 15, 1952) is a Republican United States Representative from Florida's 18th district map, holding that office since 1989. She was born in Havana, Cuba, was educated at Florida International University and was a member of the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate before entering the House. Upon her election to succeed the late Congressman Claude Pepper, she became the first Latina and first Cuban-American elected to the United States Congress.
Ros-Lehtinen has supported and sponsored several pieces of legislation for the Church of Scientology , attended Scientology events , received recognition from Scientology publications , and collected numerous sizable campaign donations from prominent Scientologists . Although earlier biographies listed her religious affiliation as Roman Catholic, she no longer makes reference to her religion in her official biography. Her mother was Jewish but converted to Catholicism.
Ros is very popular among the populous gay community of Key West (which is in her district), as she has sponsored or supported some LGBT-friendly legislation such as:
A hate crimes law. An employment discrimination bill to protect sexual minorities in federal jobs. AIDS prevention funding. A bill to allow openly homosexual military members (contrast with Don't ask, don't tell).