In the United States, the first spouse is the term used to refer to the spouse of a chief executive—that is, of the spouse of the president of the United States (the first lady of the United States and the first gentleman of the United States) and the spouses of the governors of the 50 U.S. states and U.S. territories (Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the United States Virgin Islands) and the spouse of the mayor of the District of Columbia. (The spouses of many mayors are often called the "first lady" or "first gentleman" of the city as well, and the use of the terms sometimes extends even to the spouses of college presidents).

Since 1985, the National Governors Association has encouraged state first ladies and gentlemen to pursue their own, distinct causes and public agendas.[1] The public role of the first spouse is traditionally ceremonial. Like the first ladies of the United States, state and territorial first spouses are not elected and earn no government salary. However, traditionally first spouses also champion important causes either nationally or within their individual states or territories,[2] such as charitable and humanitarian work. First spouses are often seen as high-profile individuals who can direct public awareness towards a particular cause or campaign.[2] For example, the nation's first spouses launched a nationwide national breast cancer awareness campaign in conjunction with the National Governors Association in 1994.[2] In collaboration with the breast cancer initiative, some first spouses participated in media campaigns, public relations, chaired statewide breast cancer awareness committees, and even spearheaded the creation of a specific women's departments within state health departments.[2] Diverse initiatives championed by individual current first spouses have included advocacy against drunk driving,[3] heart disease in women,[4] the Special Olympics, and development assistance projects in Rwanda.[5]

Most first spouses have pursued their own careers before entering the public arena when their husbands or wives assumed the governor's mansion. For example, Lou Rell, former first gentleman of Connecticut, is a former naval pilot and commercial airline pilot with TWA.[6]

In Colorado the governor was unmarried but had a domestic partner who acted as a de facto first spouse until they married in 2021. Three states, Alabama, Maine and New Mexico, along with the District of Columbia, do not have a first lady or first gentleman.

Current first spouses

Main articles: List of first gentlemen in the United States and List of first ladies of the United States

United States

Current First Lady President Past First Spouse since
Jill Biden Joe Biden List January 20, 2021
Current Second Gentleman Vice President Past Second Spouse since
Doug Emhoff Kamala Harris List January 20, 2021

States

State Current First Lady or First Gentleman Governor Past First Spouse since
 Alabama Divorced Kay Ivey List
 Alaska Rose Dunleavy Mike Dunleavy List December 3, 2018
 Arizona Angela Ducey Doug Ducey List January 5, 2015
 Arkansas Susan Hutchinson Asa Hutchinson List January 13, 2015
 California Jennifer Siebel Newsom[n 1] Gavin Newsom List January 7, 2019
 Colorado Marlon Reis [7] Jared Polis List January 8, 2019
 Connecticut Ann Lamont Ned Lamont List January 9, 2019
 Delaware Tracey Carney John Carney List January 17, 2017
 Florida Casey DeSantis Ron DeSantis List January 8, 2019
 Georgia Marti Kemp Brian Kemp List January 14, 2019
 Hawaii Dawn Ige[8] David Ige List December 1, 2014
 Idaho Teresa Little Brad Little List January 7, 2019
 Illinois Mary Pritzker J. B. Pritzker List January 14, 2019
 Indiana Janet Holcomb Eric Holcomb List January 9, 2017
 Iowa Kevin Reynolds Kim Reynolds List May 24, 2017
 Kansas Ted Daughety Laura Kelly List January 14, 2019
 Kentucky Britainy Beshear Andy Beshear List December 10, 2019
 Louisiana Donna Edwards[9] John Bel Edwards List January 11, 2016
 Maine Widowed Janet Mills List
 Maryland Yumi Hogan Larry Hogan List January 21, 2015
 Massachusetts Lauren Baker Charlie Baker List January 8, 2015
 Michigan Marc Mallory Gretchen Whitmer List January 1, 2019
 Minnesota Gwen Walz Tim Walz List January 7, 2019
 Mississippi Elee Williams Tate Reeves List January 14, 2020
 Missouri Teresa Parson Mike Parson List June 1, 2018
 Montana Susan Gianforte Greg Gianforte List January 4, 2021
 Nebraska Susanne Ricketts[10] Pete Ricketts List January 8, 2015
 Nevada Kathy Ong Steve Sisolak List January 7, 2019
 New Hampshire Valerie Sununu Chris Sununu List January 5, 2017
 New Jersey Tammy Murphy Phil Murphy List January 16, 2018
 New Mexico Widowed Michelle Lujan Grisham List
 New York Bill Hochul Kathy Hochul List August 24, 2021
 North Carolina Kristin Cooper Roy Cooper List January 1, 2017
 North Dakota Kathryn Burgum[11] Doug Burgum List December 15, 2016
 Ohio Frances DeWine Mike DeWine List January 14, 2019
 Oklahoma Sarah Stitt Kevin Stitt List January 14, 2019
 Oregon Dan Little Kate Brown List February 18, 2015
 Pennsylvania Frances Wolf Tom Wolf List January 20, 2015
 Rhode Island Susan McKee Dan McKee List March 2, 2021
 South Carolina Peggy McMaster Henry McMaster List January 24, 2017
 South Dakota Bryon Noem Kristi Noem List January 5, 2019
 Tennessee Maria Lee Bill Lee List January 19, 2019
 Texas Cecilia Abbott Greg Abbott List January 20, 2015
 Utah Abby Palmer Spencer Cox List January 4, 2021
 Vermont Diana Scott Phil Scott List January 5, 2017
 Virginia Pamela Northam Ralph Northam List January 13, 2018
 Washington Trudi Inslee Jay Inslee List January 16, 2013
 West Virginia Cathy Justice Jim Justice List January 16, 2017
 Wisconsin Kathy Evers Tony Evers List January 7, 2019
 Wyoming Jennie Muir Mark Gordon List January 7, 2019

Territories

Territory Current First Lady or First Gentleman Governor Past First Spouse since
 American Samoa Ella Mauga Lemanu Peleti Mauga List January 3, 2021
 District of Columbia Never married Muriel Bowser (Mayor) List
 Guam Jeffrey Cook Lou Leon Guerrero List January 7, 2019
 Northern Mariana Islands Dianna Mendiola Tudela Ralph Torres List December 29, 2015
 Puerto Rico Divorced Pedro Pierluisi List January 2, 2021
 U.S. Virgin Islands Yolanda Bryan Albert Bryan List January 7, 2019

See also

References

  1. ^ Miller, John (2006-10-27). "Beauty queen, civil rights marcher could be first lady". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Retrieved 2015-05-23.
  2. ^ a b c d "More About Governors' Spouses: A Tradition of Helping Others" (PDF). National Governors Association. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
  3. ^ "First Lady Maryann Tulafono appeals to the general public". Government of American Samoa. Archived from the original on November 27, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
  4. ^ "Learn More about First Lady Cheri Daniels". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
  5. ^ "Rwanda Project: Who We Are: Cecile de Jongh - Vice President and Co-Founder". Rwanda Project USVI. Archived from the original on 2009-07-25. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
  6. ^ Leigh Cowen, Alison (2004-06-22). "Connecticut's Governor steps down: A New Leader Carrying Hope -- M. Jodi Rell". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
  7. ^ How should we refer to Governor-elect Jared Polis’ longtime partner? The Denver Post. 8 November 2018. "Polis and Reis aren’t legally married... The Polis campaign has clarified that Reis will take the title 'first gentleman'".
  8. ^ "Dawn Amano-Ige". nga.org. National Governors Association.
  9. ^ "Donna Edwards". nga.org. National Governors Association. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Susanne Shore". nga.org. National Governors Association. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  11. ^ "First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum". North Dakota Office of the Governor. Retrieved 4 March 2017.

Notes

  1. ^ Jennifer Siebel Newsom will be California’s ‘first partner.’ Her agenda is cultural change. The Los Angeles Times. 24 November 2018. "Now she’ll take on her newest political role: 'first partner,' a term she prefers over 'first lady' — she sees it as more inclusive."