Ms. Gin­grich is an ex­cel­lent, qual­i­fied choice for am­bas­sador

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

Re­gard­ing Dana Mil­bank’s July 19 op-ed, “The be­at­i­fi­ca­tion of Newt”:

I in­vited Cal­lista Gin­grich to do an in­tern­ship in my Wash­ing­ton of­fice. She earned a per­ma­nent po­si­tion in my of­fice and later be­came a clerk of the House Agri­cul­ture Com­mit­tee. She was well­re­spected and well-liked by all who worked with her on Capi­tol Hill — on both sides of the aisle.

Shortly af­ter the elec­tion, Ms. Gin­grich shared with me her in­ter­est in the am­bas­sador­ship to the Holy See. She has been en­gaged in pol­i­tics as a pro­fes­sional in her own right long af­ter her hus­band, for­mer House speaker Newt Gin­grich (R-Ga.), and I left Congress, and she has trav­eled the coun­try on be­half of her hus­band’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign or in sup­port of other can­di­dates.

Her ser­vice as our am­bas­sador will come at a sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial cost. Her salary will be a dra­matic re­duc­tion from what she has earned.

Most po­lit­i­cal am­bas­sado­rial ap­point­ments are given to large fi­nan­cial donors with lit­tle or no gov­ern­ment ex­pe­ri­ence. Ms. Gin­grich brings years of pub­lic ser­vice and years among some of the na­tion’s bright­est and best minds en­gaged in pub­lic pol­icy. Yet she also brings to this role the val­ues of small-town ru­ral Amer­ica, where we might not be per­fect but we keep try­ing to do good.

She will be a great voice of com­pas­sion and re­spect. And she will en­dure and for­give the caus­tic per­sonal at­tacks.

Steve Gun­der­son, The writer, a Repub­li­can, rep­re­sented Wis­con­sin’s 3rd District in the House from 1981 to 1997.

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