Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen relies on record for re-election to congressional seat in UM’s district

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is running to defend her seat as Representative of Florida's 18th District. Photo Courtesy of Ros-Lehtinen for Congress.

Rather than answer the attacks of opponent and Democrat Annette Taddeo, Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen plans to run on her congressional record to get re-elected on Nov. 4 as the representative of Florida’s 18th district.

Ros-Lehtinen believes her record has shown she has an interest in helping many college students face a harsh, post-graduate situation.

“This image of the lazy college student that is at a toga party is something of the past,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “College classes are very demanding on student’s time and there is a lot of pressure to succeed. It’s not an easy time. Then, after all that, students face a tough job market and student loans. ”

To help graduating students find jobs out of college, Ros-Lehtinen has been working with committees to collect and organize information about job opportunities for recent college graduates. She hopes this collection of data will facilitate the job search.

Ros-Lehtinen also wants to give students additional job search assistance by providing more funds to public and private colleges so they can hire college counselors with real-world experience.

“We cannot say our responsibility ends when the student receives the diploma,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “We need to help students get a satisfying job… This is the missing ingredient in many college educations.”

Simplified federal aid applications and more scholarships for transfer or summer students are also part of her plan to help college students.

This attention to education has been part of her political career since its inception in 1982, when she became the first Hispanic woman elected to be a state senator in Florida. As a state senator, she created the Pre-Paid College Tuition Program.

“That was one of my most successful programs, many college students could not afford college if I would have not passed this legislation,” she said.

Her tenure in Congress has directly affected students’ education at the University of Miami. Ros-Lehtinen, who earned her doctorate at the University of Miami in 2004, has brought back $500,000 dollars to the University of Miami’s Center of Atmospheric Study and $2.5 million dollars to UM’s environmental monitoring program.