Callista Louise Gingrich (née Bisek; born March 4, 1966) is an American political aide, businesswoman, and author. She is married to former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. In May 2017, President Donald Trump nominated her to be the United States Ambassador to the Holy See, a post requiring United States Senate confirmation.
Callista Louise Bisek, known as "Cally Lou" to her family, was born to Alphonse Emil Bisek and Bernita (Krause) Bisek, in Whitehall, Wisconsin. Her father worked in a packing plant and her mother was a secretary. She has Polish and Swiss ancestry. She graduated as valedictorian from Whitehall Memorial High School in 1984. A music student from childhood, Bisek attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, majoring in music and joining the Delta Alpha Delta sorority. She graduated cum laude in 1988.
In 1988, just out of college, she accepted an internship in Washington, D.C., in the office of Republican Congressman Steve Gunderson. At the end of the internship she joined Gunderson's congressional staff where she worked until 1995. In 1995, she moved to the House Committee on Agriculture where she worked as chief clerk until 2007.
Since leaving the House Committee on Agriculture in 2007, Gingrich has served as president of Gingrich Productions, a multimedia production company which she founded with her husband. They produce historical and public policy documentary films, publish books and newsletters, and make speeches, television, and radio appearances.
Together, they have hosted nine documentaries, including The First American, Divine Mercy: The Canonization of John Paul II, A City Upon A Hill, America at Risk, Nine Days that Changed the World, Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny, Rediscovering God in America, Rediscovering God in America II: Our Heritage, and We Have the Power. The films have sold several hundred thousand copies.
Gingrich has authored seven children's books featuring Ellis the Elephant, including Sweet Land of Liberty, about American exceptionalism, and Land of the Pilgrims' Pride, about colonial America. Both were on The New York Times Best Seller list of Children's Picture Books. Yankee Doodle Dandy, about the American Revolution, was released in 2013. From Sea to Shining Sea, about the expedition of Lewis and Clark and the early years of the United States, was released in October 2014. Christmas in America, about the history of Christmas in the United States, was released in October 2015. Hail to the Chief, about United States presidents, was released in October 2016. Remember the Ladies, about United States first ladies, is scheduled to be released in October 2017.
As part of her husband's bid to become the Republican nominee in the 2012 presidential election, Gingrich often appeared by his side at rallies. In early 2012, Gingrich began to take a more active role in the campaign, and undertook her first campaign speaking appearances without her husband. On February 10, she appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference, giving an introduction to her husband prior to his speech. In addition, she supported his campaign through speaking appearances at Republican women's groups, meetings of Gingrich supporters, and various rallies.
Gingrich is a long-time member of the choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. and plays French horn with the City of Fairfax Band in Fairfax, Virginia. She serves as president of the Gingrich Foundation which, among other charitable contributions, established the Newt L. and Callista L. Gingrich Scholarship to benefit instrumental music majors at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
Callista Bisek met Newt Gingrich in 1993 when he was House Minority Whip and she was working in the office of Congressman Steve Gunderson. Callista testified in 1999 as part of Gingrich's divorce proceedings that the couple began a six-year affair in 1993 while Newt was married to his second wife, Marianne. Newt divorced Marianne in December 1999, and on August 18, 2000, Callista and Newt were married in a private ceremony in Alexandria, Virginia. In 2002, Newt Gingrich asked the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta to annul his 19-year marriage to Marianne on the basis that she had been previously married. Callista, a lifelong Catholic, was instrumental in her husband's conversion to that faith in 2009. The Gingriches live in McLean, Virginia.
|United States Ambassador to the Holy See
Taking office 2017