I was saddened when Ileana-Ros Lehtinen announced that she would not be running for reelection in 2018. After all, she’s been a political fixture in South Florida since 1982 when she was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives.
She didn’t stop there. She was elected to the Florida Senate in 1986, becoming the first Hispanic woman to sit in either chamber. And when Claude Pepper died in 1989, she won a special election to fill his seat and became the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress.
In her 30 years in Congress, she was both a stalwart opponent of the spread of Communism and a progressive on social issues, most notably on matters affecting the LGBT community. She was a strong supporter of the Head Start program for the very young and to increase the availability of federal student financial aid. And on top of that, she rose to chair the House Foreign Affairs committee.
Ileana is a product of South Florida. Although her family fled the Communist Cuban regime when she was eight, she attended Southside Elementary School in Little Havana, West Miami Junior High, and Southwest High School. She has an AA from Miami-Dade, a bachelor’s and master’s degree from FIU, and got a doctorate in education from UM in 2004 while serving in Congress.
She may have hoped to retire to the balmy shade of South Florida, but her work is not done yet. That’s why I am endorsing Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for President… of Miami-Dade College.
Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, the current President of Miami-Dade College announced that he was stepping down after holding the office since 1995. Under Dr. Padrón’s tenure, MDC has grown to the largest higher educational institution in America with nine campuses and an enrollment of more than 130,000 students, almost as large as the University of Central Florida, Texas A&M, and Ohio State combined.
Under Dr. Padrón, the trope that MDC is a “high school with ashtrays” has been buried deep underground. The college has become an economic engine for South Florida whose alumni include actors Sylvester Stallone and Oscar Issac, Pulitzer Prize winners Liz Balmeseda and Mirta Ojito, Children’s Trust Chair Modesto Abety, scores of business and banking CEOs and too many local politicians to count. Dr. Padrón’s legacy should continue.
MDC is a serious educational institution. It deserves a serious President.
Should a politician run a major educational institution? Ask the University of Miami. Donna Shalala was Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Health and Human Services when she was appointed to the presidency of UM. She served as the college’s President for 14 years, raising over $1.6 billion for the UM endowment and raising the prestige of UM while at it.
Ileana left Congress with favorable ratings among voters and, in spite of the blue tide that swept Congress in 2018, would likely have won reelection. She is well respected by members of the public on both sides of the political aisle.
I haven’t spoken to Ileana about this. I don’t know if she’s interested. I don’t know if she’s keen to toss her hat into the ring in what promises to be a wide search for the next MDC President.
But if she is interested, if the call to public service can capture her imagination once more, if the thought of new challenges and new horizons swiftens her heartbeat, we could find no better champion for the students of Miami-Dade College or the people of South Florida.
Really Grant Miller, your suggestion is ridiculous!
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is not qualified to be President of Miami-Dade College.
The Donna Shalala comparison is completely off the mark.
Donna was qualified to head the U. of Miami, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1988 to 1993, Secretary of Health and Human Services 1993–2001.
Reactionary Republican congresswoman frequently voted against the interest of her constituents, voted 55 times to end ObamaCare. Supported the ban on medicaid expansion etc.
Great article Grant.
Her as President? I’m not sure if that’s very very funny or very very sad.
I am not a complete fan of any politician, but I believe that your comments about Ileana are kind of offensive to her. However, by reading your entire comment I understood that you, as any other leftist, are blinded when it comes to people who have always deterred Communism.
What a shame that you read only what helps you criticize or insult those who have been blessed with the opportunity to be liked by many, without relying on how many lives were destroyed by their triumphs.
You talk like any of the cheap, ignorant Cubans at the beginning of the Cuban revolution calling people names that did not fit with their prior behaviors. I would like to know how many people have been murdered because of Mrs Lethinen and in what war. I would like to know where the heck do you get the impression that Mrs Lethinen would try to run for POTUS? Did you read the article right? No, you did not the first time, and then you had to make another negative comment because, as any leftist, Cubans who have made a place in the US Government are against the enslaving of a country by lying to the public, calling them criminals, and mentioning unsubstantiated facts about them. No one is perfect, Mrs Lethinen is not perfect, I am not perfect, and you Ty, are definitely NOT.
The politician in question began her career with plenty of vigor. She was determined, focused and conservative. At the tail-end of her tenure in an interview she alone shattered what she stood-for by boosting she was not a conservative, the political climate had changed and she went right along with it. I felt strongly betrayed after years of support. At the dawn of her career she now packaged herself as a spitting image of a moderate-liberal. She became LGBT-tolerant and openly denied she came on board in Congress due to the Reagan-Wave of values back in her day. She hung herself out-to-dry, so she should quietly retire and write childrens books.
“In the 1980s, Ros-Lehtinen lobbied for the release and pardon of Cuban exile Orlando Bosch, who had been convicted of terrorist acts”
Ros-Lehtinen was a petty, pandering politician. She showed her colors again during the Elian Gonzalez embarrassment.
You want another 30 years of that nonsense? There have been few times I’ve been happier than I was when she announced her retirement. Good riddance.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has been great as a U.S. Congressional representative. It is a sad day for her congressional district and the U.S. that she chose to retire from Congress. If she were willing to undertake the rigors as President of Miami-Dade College, the Miami-Dade community would be blessed with her in that position.
Perhaps the most suitable position for Mrs. Lehtinen would be as President of the Donna Shalala fan club?
I wonder if you felt the same way when Shalala became the president of UM.
Academic institutions shouldn’t be run by former politicians. Politicians are only interested in using academic institutions to serve political agendas. We shouldn’t allow the politicization of educational institutions.
Just like Ileana you’re an enemy of the US Constitution who believes in ignoring our country’s laws whenever they become politically inconvenient. Ileana shouldn’t be the president of anything. She’s a war criminal who belongs in prison for life. Even if she wasn’t a criminal thug she does not meet the legal requirements to run for POTUS as she’s not a natural born US Citizen. Our country needs Presidents that are committed to achieving world peace, protecting the environment, defending human rights, and promoting social and economic justice, NOT fascist, imperialist thugs committed to US/NATO and corporate domination of the world. We need public servants that will defend the interests of the working class and small businesses not the interests of international corporations who’s only motivation is to maximize profits at any cost.
I wholeheartedly agree with your endorsement Grant.
She is a pushover. She was the highest ranking republican in the foreign relation committee in the house when they were in the minority. Then as soon as they became majority she allowed men to take over the chairmanship . Pleasant but weak leader.
You are absolutely CORRECT!! I think Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen would be Terrific President of Miami Dade College, if she were interested! She served S. Florida’s interests, whether Republican or Democrat, very well! I hope you can interest her in accepting this new challenge.
Ileana is one of the only Republicans I have ever voted for. She is a centrist. Washington needs more people like Ileana. I agree, Ileana should run for President. OyVey, LosMios, if my Papa ever heard me say I would vote for a Republican he would have disowned me.
BTW, I grew up in a staunch Democrat family I was told to vote for my preference in the Primary, and vote the ticket in the General election. But Papa didn’t live to see our country so divided. I’m sorry Papa, but if Ileana runs for President I will vote for her.
She should run for president of the United States. Dream candidate: common sense on fiscal and business issues, laissez-faire on personal issues, and tough on foreign policy.
It’s very rare to have that combination in one politician. Wish we had it in one party as well.