Callista Gingrich sits before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during her nomination hearing to be ambassador to the Holy See on July 18 in Washington. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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 well-respected 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, Arlington

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