LANSING, Mich. -- Available: five-bedroom, four-bath ranch-style home. Working wind turbine and rooftop solar panels. Original, midcentury bar hidden behind motorized living-room wall. No rent required.
Michigan Gov.-elect Rick Snyder isn't interested.
The Republican venture capitalist elected on a platform to shake up state government recently announced that he wouldn't move into the governor's official 8,700-square-foot residence on four acres overlooking the Grand River. Instead, he'll stay in his own, 10,600-square-foot manse complete with indoor pool, movie theater and wine cellar.
It's 70 miles away in Ann Arbor, but near his teenage daughter's school. As an added bonus, says Mr. Snyder, he won't need a full-time house staff, a potential savings for taxpayers. 'I'm convinced that every dollar counts,' he says.
Gubernatorial candidates spend months, if not years, campaigning to take the reins of state government. But more and more winners are forgoing one of the spoils of victory: living rent-free in the governor's mansion.
Some of them cite a new age of austerity, coupled with the pressure to keep family life intact in their hometowns. Many say they're used to the commuting life and, with the help of cellphones and email, can operate the levers of government from anywhere. Some just don't want to pick up and move.
In Colorado, Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper is weighing whether to leave his home in kid-friendly Park Hill, just outside of downtown Denver, and move his family, including his 8-year-old son, Teddy, into nearby Boettcher Mansion.
'There are 16 kids on our block for our son to play with,' says Mr. Hickenlooper, departing mayor of Denver, in an interview. He says the governor's residence sits in a more commercial district of the city.
He also says that his wife, a journalist and author, may prefer greater separation between the first family's public and private lives. 'And I almost certainly do what my wife wants,' he says. (A spokesman later said the couple intends to make the decision together.)
In Albany, Andrew Cuomo has waxed nostalgic about spending time at New York State's 40-room Queen Anne-style governor's mansion in the 1980s, when his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, once ruled with a domestic staff on a hill overlooking the Hudson River.
But with his girlfriend and children already living near New York City, the younger Mr. Cuomo, who becomes governor in January, plans to keep a home base in suburban Westchester County.
New Jersey's stately Drumthwacket manor in Princeton has served as little more than a crash pad since Gov. Chris Christie came to office this year. He opted to keep his children in a school near his home in Mendham, more than 50 miles away, and uses the mansion, with its Italian gardens and a wood-paneled library, mostly for special dinners and official receptions. Once, the governor and his staff took shelter at Drumthwacket during a snowstorm.
In Idaho, the 7,370-square-foot governor's mansion on 38 acres in Boise donated by frozen-french-fry magnate J.R. Simplot lies unoccupied. Gov. Butch Otter, who was once married to Mr. Simplot's daugher, Gay, has refused to move in since taking office in 2007. A spokesman says the governor's own ranch in the town of Star is close by and better equipped to entertain guests like retired Gen. Colin Powell.
The Boise home's hilltop setting is nonetheless a favorite sledding spot for Idahoans, some of whom now call for selling the all-but-vacant estate.
Forty-five states have an official residence, and most governors still rest their heads there.
They also encounter their share of headaches. In 2005, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and his family fled the state's 19th-century Federal-style mansion for about two months because of mold contamination. The family later left its permanent mark on the home with some renovations, including the Jenny Sanford Wedding Garden, a tribute by the former first lady, who divorced the governor after he admitted to having an Argentinean mistress.
In New York, departing Gov. David Paterson was caught red-faced in 2009 by allegations that friends of his daughter were planning a party in a section of the mansion they dubbed, 'FDR's Polio Poolhouse,' while her parents were away. The governor called a posting on Facebook about the event a joke, but lamented how every private activity at the house falls under public scrutiny.
'You're walking around this place and it's hard to settle in,' he said in an interview. 'It's unlike home because you feel like you're on display.'
But going without a mansion has its challenges, too. Jerry Brown sold the governor's residence when he was California's chief executive in the 1980s, leaving the current governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to fly home to Los Angeles many nights on his own private jet. Now Mr. Brown is back in Sacramento as the governor-elect and recently rented a 1,450-square-foot midtown loft close to the Capitol.
In Michigan, the Lansing estate underwent a $2.5 million renovation funded by private donations seven years ago to improve infrastructure and expand the separate family quarters. Taxpayers still pick up maintenance costs, which run about $40,000 annually.
Departing two-term Gov. Jennifer Granholm and her husband raised three children in the mansion, from which she sometimes walked, jogged or biked to work about three miles away.
Mr. Snyder will become the first Michigan governor not to live in the executive residence since it was donated to the state in 1969. The house in Lansing, with rose and herb gardens and a small pond, will continue to be used for official meetings and events, and Mr. Snyder has said he could imagine staying there a night or two during the week if necessary. But his administration does foresee cutting back the house staff, which includes a full-time chef.
'I view it as a family decision that was reasonably straightforward,' Mr. Snyder said in a Bluetooth-enabled telephone interview from his car. 'There is going to be a lot of strain and stress, and we'd like as much of a normal family life as possible.'
Associated Press新泽西州新任州长克里斯•克里斯蒂(Chris Christie)的这栋拥有意式花园和镶木板装饰图书室的官邸主要用于特别宴会和官方接待会，他住在别的地方。
James Finnerty科罗拉多州当选州长约翰•希肯卢珀(John Hickenlooper)正在权衡是否要搬到州政府附近的伯特舍官邸(Boettcher Mansion)。有些州长表示现在要进入简朴节约的新时代，而且需要让家人留在家乡，不受打扰。很多人表示，自己习惯了通勤上班，有了手机和电邮，在任何地方都可以做好政府的管理工作。还有一些只是因为不愿意打包搬家。
科罗拉多州当选州长约翰•希肯卢珀(John Hickenlooper)正在权衡再三，决定是否要搬离丹佛闹市区附近、利于孩子成长的帕克希尔(Park Hill)，和家人──包括八岁的儿子泰迪(Teddy)──搬到州政府附近的伯特舍官邸(Boettcher Mansion)。
纽约州首府奥尔巴尼(Albany)，安妮皇后时期风格的纽约州州长官邸俯瞰着哈德逊河(Hudson River)，拥有四十个房间。安德鲁•科莫(Andrew Cuomo)很怀念上世纪80年代居住在这里的时光，当时他的父亲马里奥•科莫(Mario Cuomo)担任州长，官邸里有全班人马的服务人员。
小科莫于一月份当选为纽约州州长，因为他的女朋友和孩子们都住在纽约市附近，因此，这位新任州长就打算把家安在韦斯特切斯特县(Westchester County)的郊区； 。
新泽西州新任州长克里斯•克里斯蒂(Chris Christie)今年上任之后，位于普林斯顿的富丽堂皇的德拉姆斯瓦克特庄园(Drumthwacket manor)便几乎遭到闲置。克里斯蒂让孩子们继续在50多英里之外门德姆市(Mendham)自家附近的一所学校就读。这栋拥有意式花园和一间镶木板装饰图书室的官邸则主要用作特别宴会和官方接待会之用。有一次，州长及其随员到这里来躲避过暴风雪。
爱达华州州长官邸位于首府博伊西(Boise)，占地38英亩，建筑面积7370平方英尺，是由经营冷冻薯条的富豪J.R.辛普劳(J.R. Simplot)捐赠的，如今也处于闲置状态。州长布奇•奥特(Butch Otter)是辛普劳女儿盖伊(Gay)的前夫，他在2007年上任后拒绝搬入官邸。一名发言人表示，州长自己位于斯塔尔镇(Star)的农场距离州政府也很近，而且设施更完备，更便于款待退役将军科林•鲍威尔(Colin Powell)等贵客。
他们也有头疼的问题。2005年，因为建于19世纪的联邦风格的州长官邸遭受霉菌之祸，南卡罗来纳州州长马克•桑福德(Mark Sanford)携家人搬离官邸，在外躲了大约两个月的时间。后来他们对官邸进行了部分翻修，留下了一些永久的印记，包括出自前第一夫人手笔的詹尼•桑福德婚礼花园(Jenny Sanford Wedding Garden)。在桑福德州长承认自己在阿根廷有一个情妇之后，夫人詹尼•桑福德跟他离了婚。
但是没有官邸也有问题。上世纪80年代，杰里•布朗(Jerry Brown)在担任加利福尼亚州州长期间卖掉了州长官邸，害得现任州长阿诺•施瓦辛格(Arnold Schwarzenegger)好多个晚上只能乘坐自己的私人飞机飞回洛杉矶的家中。如今布朗重返首府萨克拉门托(Sacramento)重登州长之位，最近他在州议会大厦附近的市中心租了一套面积1450平方英尺的loft。