Why Governors Are Ditching Their Mansions

It's like The Shining in there: staffer

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 12, 2012 5:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – One of the perks of being a governor is getting to live in the executive mansion—but many governors are skipping out on the offer, writes Jodi Kantor in the New York Times. For some, it's because of the huge amount of responsibility that comes with living in a public spot. Admirers of the "grand and glorious" buildings "don’t realize the politics that go into what you’re going to eat for breakfast or refinishing the floors," says Jenny Sanford, South Carolina's onetime first lady.

It's particularly tough in a time when the public is suspicious of government spending. "Who wants to live in a Downton Abbey house on a Tea Party budget?" asks Kantor. For others, the place is simply too big: Colorado's reminds a staffer of The Shining. States are trying to find a cost-effective solution for the buildings. Idaho has considered selling its mansion, but opponents worried it would look "desperate"; South Carolina and Colorado rent rooms out for parties; others may become simply tourist attractions. Click through for more on the mansions' fates.

Visiitors enjoy cookies and sweets at the Alaska governor's mansion during the traditional holiday open house on Dec. 6, 2011, in Juneau, Alaska.
Visiitors enjoy cookies and sweets at the Alaska governor's mansion during the traditional holiday open house on Dec. 6, 2011, in Juneau, Alaska.   (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
People wait in line outside the governor's mansion to meet Gov. Bill Haslam during an open house on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn.
People wait in line outside the governor's mansion to meet Gov. Bill Haslam during an open house on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn.   (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
In this 2009 file photo, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn stands in front of the Executive Mansion in Springfield, Ill.
In this 2009 file photo, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn stands in front of the Executive Mansion in Springfield, Ill.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)
The Arkansas governor's mansion is shown in Little Rock, Ark., Nov. 25, 2008.
The Arkansas governor's mansion is shown in Little Rock, Ark., Nov. 25, 2008.   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, at podium, speaks outside the governor's mansion in Annapolis, Md., Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012.
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, at podium, speaks outside the governor's mansion in Annapolis, Md., Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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