U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, is explaining her decision to retire at the end of her term next year.
Ros-Lehtinen held a news conference Monday morning at her congressional office in South Florida.
"I have decided that I will not seek re-election in 2018," Ros-Lehtinen said, joined by her family.
Ros-Lehtinen said the time has come after 38 years as an elected official.
"I still have a lot of fight left in me, and I want to assure the constituents of my congressional district that I will work diligently for South Florida for the next 20 months with the same fervor, with the same enthusiasm, that I have always had," Ros-Lehtinen said.
Born in Havana, Ros-Lehtinen became the first Cuban-American to be elected to Congress in 1989. She previously served in the Florida House and Florida Senate.
Asked why she decided now was the time to step away from politics, Ros-Lehtinen said there was no "eureka moment."
"But there comes a time that you say, 'You know, even though this is a wonderful life, and even though I'm doing what I love to do, there's so many other wonderful things,'" she said.
Ros-Lehtinen said there are lots of things that she could do, citing her doctorate in education, and she wants to seek those opportunities.
"I don't even know what I'll do," she said.