Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has been honored by a bipartisan group including House Speaker Paul Ryan and former Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her work as the first Hispanic and first female chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Current and former congressional colleagues from both sides of the aisle and a wide variety of prominent citizens celebrated her work at a Washington event co-sponsored by Florida law firm Shutts & Bowen LLP to unveil her portrait in the House Foreign Affairs Committee chambers, where it will hang in perpetuity.
At the Nov. 18 ceremony, speakers commended Ms. Ros-Lehtinen for her lifelong championship for human rights, for the rule of law and freedom for victims of oppression not only in her native Cuba, but around the world, and for her unfailing support for the State of Israel.
“Frank Shutts, as founder of The Miami Herald and Shutts & Bowen, would have been proud of this occasion,” said Shutts & Bowen Partner Ed Patricoff, chairman of the firm’s International Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Group and the firm’s representative at the Nov. 18 ceremony. “Our firm stands by Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen’s commitment to protecting human rights for those who have been denied access to the courts, for those who have been denied due process and the protection of the rule of law and for those who have lost their freedom or their lives at the hands of brutal dictators."
The event was attended by dozens of current and former members of Congress, including Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) former Rep. Howard Berman (D-Cal.), Florida Reps. John Mica, Gus Bilirakis and Ander Crenshaw, Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as well as South Florida Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Carlos Curbelo and Mario Diaz-Balart, and former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen received praise and honor from all quarters. Democrat Nancy Pelosi was the kickoff speaker and praised Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen for breaking the glass ceiling as the first female and first Hispanic chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Former Speaker Pelosi affectionately described Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen as her friend and praised her bipartisan ability to work with both Republicans and Democrats alike on important global issues such as national security, human rights, and support for Israel.
Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen was also honored by her husband, Dexter Lehtinen, former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, by former Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles “Charlie” Rangel (D-N.Y.), by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, by former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Berman, by Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, by David Mermelstein, a Holocaust survivor and Vice President of the Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA, by Jorge Luis García Pérez (Antúnez), a Cuban resistance leader and former prisoner of conscience, by Harry Wu, Executive Director, Laogai Research Foundation and former prisoner of conscience, and by the Honorable John Bolton, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations and former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.
Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen has dedicated her life to fighting for human rights for those who have suffered under brutal dictatorships such as those in Cuba, China, Russia and Venezuela. She has also been an undying and faithful supporter of the State of Israel and Holocaust victims worldwide.
To read Patricoff's Letter to the Editor published in the Miami Herald about this event, click here.