Congressional pioneer Ileana Ros-Lehtinen keeps radar up for opportunities to bring more dollars to her varied district
Eighteen years in Congress, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen still exudes the excitement and enthusiasm of a newly elected lawmaker straight off the campaign trail. A self-proclaimed "grassroots, pothole congresswoman," Ms. Ros-Lehtinen spends much of her time championing for local needs, she said, including transportation, education and the environment. Through the Omnibus Bill, passed last month, she helped secure $681,000 for the City of Miami Beach's gang and drug prevention program, $350,000 for the Miami Dade College Freedom Tower Historical Museum project and more than $5.5 million for the Miami River dredging project, among other appropriations. As 2008 begins, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen says she plans to help tackle property tax and insurance issues, as well as how to bring troops "home in a way that does them honor, that doesn't degrade their service overseas." Still a supporter of the decades-old Cuban embargo, she says her hope is that other countries will jump on board. Ms. Ros-Lehtinen was interviewed in her parents' Pinecrest home by Miami Today staff writer Risa Polansky.
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