- Gov. Jerry Brown of California is incredibly frugal, his wife revealed in a recent interview.
- She said Brown has worn the same pair of sneakers for 25 years and gets upset when she buys him clothes.
- Brown is the highest-paid governor in the US – his salary will reach $US201,680 in December, just before he leaves office.
Gov. Jerry Brown of California may be the highest-paid governor in the United States, earning close to $US200,000 a year, but according to his wife, his frugality runs deep.
In a recent interview, the online magazine Alta asked California’s first lady Anne Gust Brown, 60, if her 80-year-old husband was “materialistic.”
Brown replied: “Oh. God, no.”
“To the contrary. He gets mad at me if I buy him a new sweater. He’s like, ‘Ah, oh, I already have a sweater.’ The same with suits. It’s like, ‘I have a suit.’ I’m like, ‘I know, honey, but you wear the same one literally every day.’
“He hates things. He’s not into possessions at all. He really just does not like to get things, either. He can live on almost nothing. He’s had the same pair of running shoes for 25 years – and I’m not kidding. I try to get him something new and it’s, ‘No.’ He’s very not materialistic.”
Gust Brown said after they married in 2005, the couple lived in a one-bedroom apartment in an old Sears department store building while he was serving as the mayor of Oakland. She said she had to coax him into eventually buying a house.
She said Brown’s tendency toward minimalism may stem from his time at a Jesuit seminary school.
“I think this comes from the seminary, where they had a couple of cassocks, I guess, and they had their bed, and they had one pair of shoes. I think that was it. I think that was very comforting,” she said.
Earlier this year, the California Citizens Compensation Commission approved a 3% raise for California’s state legislators, which will go into effect December 3. It brings the Democratic governor’s annual salary from $US195,806 to $US201,680.
Brown will retire at the end of his fourth term in January – he previously served as governor from 1975 to 1983 and began his current tenure in 2011. The couple plans to retreat to their fully solar-powered, “off-the-grid” ranch in Northern California.
“We both really like it out there at the ranch, and there’s something very real about it,” Gust Brown told Alta. “We’re out in the middle of nowhere, but we’re on a road and people all stop. All the people coming by say, ‘Hi.’ Even the UPS man, Lamar, I know him.”
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