“It’s the people’s house,” the state’s new first lady says as she gives a tour of the governor’s mansion.
The residence is a building in two parts. The downstairs is what the public sees: elegant rooms filled with Washington state memorabilia. The upper area is the private residence. It feels like a modest walk-up apartment.
Trudi Inslee shows off the ballroom and the dining room where her husband, Gov. Jay Inslee, holds weekly legislative breakfast meetings. It’s surrounded with murals of Washington scenery. A large, skylit kitchen is ready for events. Nonprofit groups use the mansion for functions. The Inslees try to appear at as many as possible.
There are touches of the first couple throughout the lower level. The governor’s 30-year-old 10-speed bike rests near the back door.
“The folks in the bike shop want it as a museum piece,” Trudi Inslee said.
In the mansion’s family room, personal items abound.
Washington’s new governor, it turns out, is prolifically creative. A pastel of Mount Rainier, drawn on a box top, is mounted on a wall. A framed photo shot in Alaska hangs near a painting by his late mother. Three children’s books, written and illustrated by the governor, rest on a table. His latest is about Peter the Polar Bear.
“That’s his environmental book,” his wife said.
A bass drum labeled “Jay” — a souvenir from the campaign — sits on the floor.
The first lady makes a point of directing visitors to the ecological views outside. A huge stump and a nurse log, both sprouting native plants, sit very close to the mansion.
The Inslees will have an energy audit on the mansion and make modifications if they are cost-effective, she said.
There is no first dog or gubernatorial cat — Trudi Inslee said the couple are too busy to have pets. And there have been no signs of the bats that drove former Gov. Gary Locke and his family from the mansion.
“If I did (see a bat), it wouldn’t bother me,” she said.