Much is being written, spoken and photographed of the Republican Presidential contenders, but little is known about the spouses that support them.
We have a passionate group of men seeking the Republican nomination for President but equally interesting are the woman that are often in the background – supportive, talented, intelligent influential, & fascinating in their own right. This is an alphabetical biographical snapshot of the 14 women behind the Republican candidates.
Did you Know:
Columba was born in León <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le%C3%B3n%2c_Guanajuato>, Guanajuato <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanajuato>, Mexico <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico> to a migrant worker <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Migrant_worker> and waiter from Arperos, Guanajuato <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanajuato>. Her father abandoned the family in 1956 when Columba was 3 years old. Her parents were divorced in 1963 when Columba was 10 years old. She remained in León with her mother while her father emigrated to the United States. She attended Instituto Antonia Mayllen, a private Catholic school in the historic center of León.
She met Jeb Bush <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeb_Bush> in 1970 in León when she was 16 years old and he was 17. He was teaching English as a second language <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_as_a_second_or_foreign_language> and assisting in the building of a school in a small village outside of León, Guanajuato <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le%C3%B3n%2c_Guanajuato>, Mexico <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico> as part of a class at Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass.
Columba moved to the United States. She and Jeb were married three years later before she had even learned English.
She loves jewelry and Mexican soaps She does not like the trappings of the political life; i . e . galas & fundraising.
Her cause is domestic violence prevention. This is because of her very personal experience with domestic violence. Her father battered her mother and made life “hell” for her mother. He often beat her mother once breaking her fingers with a belt buckle. She says, “my father caused the most painful memories of my life.”
Did you know:
Candy was born Lacena “Candy” Rustin. She met her future husband while both were students at Yale where she took a triple major: Music-psychology and pre-med. Following graduation she became a concert violinist. As her husband Ben, she is a devout Seventh-day Adventist and mother of three sons: Murray, Benjamin, Jr., Rhoeyce
In 1994 Candy and Ben Carson established the Carson Scholars Fund. Carson noticed that schools honored athletes with trophies and pep rallies, but that academic achievement often went unnoticed. He also wanted to encourage students to explore the fields of science and technology. The goal of the nonprofit organization is to “to help our children stay competitive in science, math, and technology, as well as balance academic achievement with the high esteem our society gives to sports and entertainment.
Did you know:
Mary Pat Christie
Mary Pat Foster was born in Paoli, Pennsylvania as the ninth of 10 kids. She attended the University of Delaware, where she was year behind her husband. Chris Christie was the student body president in his senior year, and Mary Pat succeeded him becoming the school’s first female student body president in 14 years.
She continued her education at Seton Hall getting a Master’s in Business Administration while Chris was also pursuing his post graduate degree.
She went onto work at Cantor Fitzgerald the financial firm that was housed in the twin towers lost so many employees in the attack of 9/11. She recently left her job as managing director at the hedge fund Angelo, Gordon and Co where her annual salary was $475,000.
Mary Pat says “One of the reasons I work is to be an example for my children – not that’s it’s the only path to take – but it’s really been instructional for my children, not just my daughters, but my sons too.” I’ve always been motivated to be happy and successful in my career regardless of what my husband may be focused on.” Her brother has described her as a career woman and mother. She is very much her own woman. She is a real BALABUSTA-Yiddish for powerhouse homemaker.
Her cause: She launched the New Jersey Heroes organization in 2010 to “recognize, celebrate, and promote the Heroes of New Jersey who inspire fellow New Jersians to give back to their community.” She also founded the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief fund which has given over 37 million in grants and hurricane victims.
Did you know:
Heidi Nelson Cruz was born in San Luis Obispo, Calif., to parents who were Seventh-day Adventist missionaries. She and her brother spent brief parts of their childhood in places like Nigeria and Kenya.She fell in love with politics on a family trip to Washington during the Reagan administration.
She graduated from Claremont McKenna College in California where she double majored in economics and international relations and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She received her M.B.A. from Harvard.
Mrs. Cruz met her husband in Austin, Tex., in 2000. He had his own elite academic credentials — Princeton and Harvard Law School — and both were young policy aides (she on the economic side, he on the domestic side) on George W. Bush’s presidential campaign. During the Bush administration, where she worked first in the United States trade representative’s office and later in the Treasury Department and on the National Security Council. She was known as more of an analytical thinker than a partisan zealot.
She recently left her job Managing Director at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in Houston be a mother to their 2 daughters Catherine and Caroline and help with her husband’s presidential campaign.
P.S. Heidi is a vegetarian
Did you know:
Janet McCain Huckabee was born July 16, 1955 and raised in Hope, Arkansas. She was the star basketball player at Hope High School. She had her first date with Mike in 1973 and they were married in 1974. A year later she was diagnosed with spinal cancer facing the possibility that she would never walk again and be infertile. But after surgery and chemotherapy she recovered and later had three children: John, Mark and David.
Janet attended college at Ouachita Baptist University. Later in life, she would finish her degree at John Brown University, graduating with honors in organizational management. She was involved with the Texarkana, Arkansas <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texarkana%2c_Arkansas> Parent Teacher Association, even serving two terms as its president. She was also active in the Beech Street First Baptist Church and with the ACTS-TV station. She has worked for the Texarkana Public Schools as a substitute teacher, for the St. Michael Hospital, and as a pharmacist’s assistant.
During her husband’s time as governor of Arkansas, Janet was nicknamed the “FIRST TOMBOY.” She enjoys skiing, jet skiing, swimming, basketball, and piloting an airplane and completed 2 marathons. She has also gone bungee jumping and parachuted out of an airplane.She likes to hunt and once shot a grenade launcher at a National Guard training camp in Arkansas (“hitting the target two out of three times”).
In 2002, Mike ran for re-election as Arkansas’s governor. Janet also ran for a statewide office: secretary of state. Mike won his election, Janet lost hers.
Did you know:
Supriya Jolly Jindal
Supriya was born in India when her parents were visiting friends in India but was raised in Louisiana. She attended Tulane and studied Chemical Engineering and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She then went to work for Monsanto and continued her education by receiving a Masters in Business Administration. She then moved to Baton Rouge and began work for Albemarle Corporation. She has also finished the coursework for a PhD in marketing with only her dissertation remaining.
She and Bobby both converted from Hinduism to Catholicism. They have three children, a daughter, Selia,13, and two sons, Shaan,11, and Slade, 8. She was rumored to be on the “short list” for VP for John McCain
An advocate for education through technology. She founded the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana’s Children to harness the power of technology in Louisiana classrooms, to emphasize the importance of science and math, and to help develop the Louisiana workforce of tomorrow. She says in a message on the foundation’s website, “I hope you or your organization will consider joining me in this important effort by committing to one of our partnership levels. Louisiana has a large manufacturing base that relies on technology and skilled workers – and your partnership in this effort will serve as an investment in developing young talent across the state.”
Did you know:
Karen Waldbillig Kasich was born and raised in Upper Arlington in Ohio and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Ohio State University.
Her career spanned nearly two decades in healthcare, public relations and marketing. She last served as a vice president with GSW Worldwide, a health care advertising agency.
She met John when she was 25 years old and John was 12 years her senior. She had a fun idea while working for a PR firm during her first job at a public-relations firm. Karen decided to spice up the referees’ page in the Ohio State University football guide with photos of “official” people, such as the Columbus Zoo’s Jack Hanna, then-Gov. Richard F. Celeste – and first-term U.S. Rep. John Kasich. Kasich later called her to praise the project, having told his chief of staff during the photo shoot, “I’ve just seen the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.” but John had been previously married and was not ready for a new relationship. Thus began an 8 year courtship while John continued to serve in Congress. They married in 1977 when Karen was 33 years old and John was 45 years old . They then were joined by twin daughters Emma & Reese.
Her cause: Children’s wellness and Women’s Heart Health. She raises awareness about Ohio’s youth drug prevention program, Start Talking! <http://www.starttalking.ohio.gov/>, which encourages parents, teachers, and other adult authority figures to have open conversations with adolescents about choosing a substance-free life.
A family history of heart disease drives the First Lady’s commitment to raise awareness about the importance of heart health. An avid runner, Mrs. Kasich notes that heart disease is largely preventable through diet and exercise. She has supported efforts of the American Heart Association and is currently working with Ohio State University’s College of Nursing and the Million Hearts Campaign <https://millionhearts.osu.edu/> to promote health screenings that aid in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.
Mrs. Kasich is a tireless advocate for teaching children at an early age about having healthy eating habits and regular exercise. She is proud of her partnership with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to create Time for 10! <http://www.nationwidechildrens.org/time-for-10-videos>, an exercise video that encourage physical activity in Ohio’s elementary-age students.
As a life-long lover of the arts, Mrs. Kasich was inspired to create Spotlight: Featured Artists at the Ohio Governor’s Residence <http://www.oac.state.oh.us/events/spotlight/default.asp>, which promotes the wealth of artistic talent in Ohio. The program, developed in partnership with the Ohio Arts Council and launched in September 2013, features the works of one selected Ohio artist each quarter in the foyer of the Ohio Governor’s Residence.
Did you know:
Libby Rowland Pataki
Libby Pataki was born Elizabeth Rowland November 17, 1950 in Dallas, Texas. Her father was a career military officer. She and her two brothers and three sisters spent their childhood on Army Bases throughout the US-Europe and the far east. Her father later became a diplomat to the US Embassy in Paris when Libby was 12 years old. She attended High School in Beaufort, South Carolina and graduated from Clark University in Worchester, Massachusetts with a major in political science and French. George met Libby when they were both body surfing during a hurricane in the Westhampton’s They were married in 1973 and have 4 children. She served as first Lady during the three terms of her husband’s administration. Governor Pataki did not seek re-election to a 4th term in 2006.
Libby has managing the 10 seasonal employees of the Pataki family farm & produce stand in Peekskill, New York and had served as a marketing consultant with various corporations such as Revlon. She has authored 4 children’s books. In her spare time, Libby plays softball and basketball, rides, runs, hikes and plays tennis, “About the only sport that doesn’t do it for me is golf,” she said. She also conducts a weekly nondenominational women’s prayer group.
Her causes: She co-founder of the pro- Israel <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel> institution One Jerusalem <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Jerusalem> which supports the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Jerusalem>, a territory recognized as being under Israeli occupation by the international community. She promotes the states agricultural industries, the prevention of breast cancer, tourism for New York and issues facing small business.
Did you know:
Kelly Ashby Paul
Kelly Ashby Paul was born in Kentucky to a military family. Much of her early life was spent moving. Her family even spent a few years in Turkey. Kelley attended Rhodes College <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhodes_College>, where she focused on the fields of English and Communication.
In 1988 she met Rand Paul in Atlanta while he was on a surgical rotation at Georgie Baptist hospital while working on his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine. Kelly moved back to North Carolina to be with Rand while he finished medical school.They married in 1990 and then moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky where Rand accepted a position for an ophthalmologist.
Kelley would go on to help her husband with producing newsletters and mailings for his practice, running the payroll, keeping the books, and managing a remodel of the building where he saw patients. Later Kelly began freelance writing. She also worked for a political consulting firm. In addition she worked for the political consulting firm The Strategy Group for Media, with one of her clients being then-U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Cruz> of Texas.
Her cause: She maintains a board position at Helping a Hero, a charity that builds houses for wounded war veterans.
Did you know:
Anita Thigpen Perry
Mary Anita Thigpen Perry was the longest-serving First Lady of Texas.
Anita Perry was born May 5, 1952 in Haskell Texas. She is the daughter of family physician Joseph Eltidge Thigpen. Her paternal grandfather was also a physician. She received her BS in Nursing from West Texas State and then obtained her MS in Nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. She worked in the nursing profession for more than seventeen years, including surgery, pediatrics, intensive care, administration, and teaching and as a consultant until 1990 when her husband was elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner.
Anita Perry met her husband Rick when they were both children at an elementary school piano recital. They married in 1982 and have 2 children: Griffin and Sydney.
Texas Tech University renamed its nursing school in Mrs. Perry’s honor in 2008 and two nursing endowments are also set up in her name: the Anita Thigpen Perry Nursing Excellence Scholarship at West Texas A&M University and the Anita Thigpen Perry Endowment at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Her cause: The Anita Thigpen Perry Endowment at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, involved with nutrition, cardiovascular disease, health education, and early childhood development.
She and her husband also hosted the first annual (and now annual) Texas Conference for Women which focuses on such issues as professional development, health care, and personal growth of women.
Did you know:
Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio
Jeanette Rubio born in 1975 to immigrants from Colombia. Jeanette and Marco went to the same high school but did not meet until a neighborhood party when Marco was 19 and Jeanette was 17. They married in 1998. Jeanette was a cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins in the mid-1990s while she was also a part-time bank teller and a student. Rubio, a high school football player who spent one year playing college football at Tarkio College in Missouri. Jeanette was featured in the cheerleading squad’s first swimsuit calendar before she left the team in 1996.
Friends describe her as calm and easy going. She is a stay at home mom and considers being an involved mom to her four children ( sons Dominic and Anthony and daughters Amanda And Daniella) as her most important job. Her faith is also very important to her. She leads a weekly bible study.
Her cause: Human trafficking. Jeanette is involved with KRISTI’S house an organization for kids who are abused and then get involved human trafficking.
Did you know:
Karen Garver Santorum
Karen Garver Santorum was born the daughter of Dr. Kenneth Garver, pediatrician in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. As a college student Karen pursued nursing and later became a neonatal intensive care nurse.
Dr. Tom Allen was an obstetrician and co-founded Pittsburgh’s first abortion clinic in the 1970’s. He was a very close friend of the Dr. Garver, Karen’s father. In fact he delivered Karen when she was born and would often refer patients to Karen’s father. Karen Garver was a 22 year old nursing student when she started what would be a 6 year affair with Dr. Allen who was 60 years old (40 years her senior with 6 children) much to the chagrin of her parents who were devout Catholics and pro-life advocates.
Karen was the same age as Dr. Allen’s youngest daughter Candy. Karen was living with Dr. Allen when she left nursing and started to pursue law school. She was a young law student and became an intern at the law firm of Kilkpatrick & Lockhartin which was the same law firm for which Rick Santorum was working. Karen fell in love with Rick and Karen wanted children so she moved away from Dr. Tom Allen and Rick and Karen married in 1990.
Together they have seven children all who have been home schooled. One son died shortly after birth and five years ago their daughter Bella was born with Trisomy 18, a rare but more lethal cousin of Down’s Syndrome. Fewer than 1 in 10 born with Trisomy 18 make it to their first birthday. Bella is now 7 years old but will never be able to speak intelligibly, walk on her own or dress or bathe herself.
Today Karen and Rick Santorum are practicing, devout Catholics opposing same sex marriage and artificial birth control.
Did You Know:
Melania Knauss Trump
Melania Knauss Trump was born April 26, 1970 in Slovenia the country which borders Italy on the west and Austria to the north and formerly a part of Yugoslavia. At the age of eighteen, she signed with a modeling agency in Milan. After obtaining a degree in design and architecture at University in Slovenia, Melania was jetting between photo shoots in Paris and Milan, finally settling in New York. Melanie has worked with the top photographers in the fashion industry. At 5’11” photographers have called her “true beauty with a captivating presence in front of a camera.” She has graced the covers of In Style, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and major layouts in Sports Illustrated, Allure, Vogue, Glamor, Vanity Fair, and Elle. She married Donald Trump in January 2005 and in 2006 they had their first child Baron William Trump.
In 2010, Melanie debut her jewelry collection with QVC and in 2013 she launched her Skin Care Collection.
Her cause: Chairwoman for The Boy’s Club of New York for five consecutive years, and in 2005 The American Red Cross awarded her with Goodwill Ambassador which she has proudly served for four years. In April of 2008, she was asked by Love Our Children USA and NASDAQ to participate in the Fifth Annual National Love Our Children Day and the beginning of National Child Abuse Prevention month by ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ. She was an active member of the police Athletic League which honored her as the woman of the year in 2006.
Did you know:
Tonette Tarantino Walker
Tonette Tarantino Walker was born on October 19, 1955 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She grew up in a working class family who were Democrat and Union and Catholic. Her political and church views were vastly different than that of her future husband Scott Walker. Scott Walker’s father was the pastor of the First Baptist Church, Plainville, Iowa and when Scott was 10 years old his father took a pastorate at First Baptist Church in Delavan, Wisconsin. Today the Walkers attend a nondenominational church in Wauwatosa .
Tonette married her first husband when she was 23, but he died of kidney disease by the time she was 30 years old.
Five years after her first husband’s death, she was at a karaoke night at a barbecue restaurant when she first met Scott Walker, 12 years her junior. She and Walker wed in 1993 when Scott was 26 years old and Tonette was 38 years old. They are parents to two sons, Matt and Alex. Tonette was raised Catholic but left the Catholic church when she married Scott whose father was a pastor. Tonette is prepared her for the onslaught of negative personal attacks and political threats that come with the tension of a national campaign.
She has been toughened by the experiences in her life and is an integral member of her husband’s political circle. First she lost the grandmother who helped raise her, like a second mother. Weeks later her brother, her only sibling, died of bone cancer. Then her husband died of kidney failure. More recently she cared for her mother who died of a brain tumor and her father who died of lung cancer. Additionally she has been through political and personal travails. Severe personal threats were made to her and her family when protests erupted over his move to strip public-sector unions of their bargaining rights in 2011. One threat made to Tonette was the protestors were going to “gut her like a deer.” Scott often refers to her as “My Rock.’–she gives me “the perspective of the smart, average voter . . . she is the ‘FIRST LISTENER.” Tonette is Scott’s “partner in power.”
Her cause: Teen Challenge which uses “Christ-centered, faith-based solutions to youth, adults, and families struggling with life-controlling problems, such as substance abuse.” Her work with teen addiction Is inspired by her mother’s struggles with drug and alcohol abuse.