Profile: Incoming House Foreign Relations Committee Chair Rep. Ros-Lehtinen

BY Linda J. Scott and Kwame Holman  December 17, 2010 at 12:38 PM EDT

When the Republicans take over control of Congress in January, one gavel will fall to a woman whom colleagues on both sides of the aisle describe as a “human dynamo in a small package.” Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, known around Capitol Hill as “Ily”, is also known for her sheer, relentless energy.

The Florida Representative is poised to take control of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the only woman to head a major committee in the 112th Congress, and the first Hispanic woman to serve in Congress. Congress now boasts it’s own Hispanic Caucus, but most of its members are Democrats. Ros-Lehtinen says that will change:

Under her leadership, the committee will push for a block on any dialogue with Cuba, a country she and her family fled when she was 7-years old:

She also talked about dealing with North Korea:

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen expressed a strong desire to work with President Obama on myriad issues, acknowledging that they may have differences but that Congress has a role in setting foreign policy initiatives. She says she has faith in the president’s administration and in him as commander-in-chief. She is especially complementary of General Petraeus and servicemembers in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere — some of whom are family members:

As for her new job, Ros-Lehtinen says she’ll need many blessings. She will be sworn in with 20 of her other committee-chair colleagues on Jan. 5, 2011.

Video editing by Quinn Bowman