Sunday, December 15 2013, 11:24 PM MST
Person 2 Person: Jeanette Herbert
The Governor's Mansion is a show piece this time of year. It's beautifully decorated for the season and tour groups clamor to see inside. This week on Person to Person Shauna Lake was invited inside to visit with first lady Jeanette Herbert.
Shauna Lake: Thank you first of all so much for doing this. I wanted to talk to you a little about what its like to be the first lady of Utah.
Jeanette Herbert: It feels surreal most of the time. There are those moments that hit you and you think wow I really am living in this beautiful governors mansion and my husband is the governor and who would have ever thought that would have happened.
Shauna Lake: Do you actually live here? Or do you just come here for functions?
Jeanette Herbert: We live here during the week from usually Monday to Friday at least Gary is here Monday to Friday. I'm kind of back and forth all our kids live in Utah County and so Im kind of back and forth more but then on the weekends we always go down to Orem. That's home.
Shauna Lake: I always wonder what the first lady does. Your husbands are so ambitious and youre kind of thrown into the spotlight. I always wonder if that is something that is comfortable, is it something you enjoy or is it something you do because you have to.
Jeanette Herbert: It's something you have to grow into. At least I did. It's a different life it's not always conducive to what you want but we've kept a good balance between that and our family life which is important.
Shauna Lake: You have how many children? Six children is that correct?
Jeanette Herbert: Six children and 15 grandchildren.
Shauna Lake: That seems to really be where your heart is. It seems to be the core of who you are.
Jeanette Herbert: It is yeah. We do spend a lot of time with them. Especially on the weekends. They all come over on Sundays so that makes it great.
Shauna Lake: Is it hard to do that balance of being the first lady and these fancy functions and galas and everything you have to do and then the down home dinners on Sunday nights.
Jeanette Herbert: It gets busy but you know with the dinners it's worth it when I look at the benefit we get from it and the closeness in our children and our grandchildren then its worth it
Shauna Lake: I admire that you and Gary were actual business people before you had this role. You know some people are lifelong politicians and you ran a preschool. I was so surprised to learn that.
Jeanette Herbert: For 23 years yeah it was a full daycare/preschool. I actually had 2 business another one was an hourly drop in center and it was kind of out of necessity that I got into it but then it turned into a really good thing for our family. It worked out good because it gave our kids employment and my youngest is probably my most sociable because he had that social interaction on a daily basis because he was 2 and half when I started it.
Shauna Lake: This mansion is beautiful at this time of year. Do you pick the decorations?
Jeanette Herbert: I pick the theme and then I arrange for the decorators There are different decorators and they enjoy doing it. They come and they just get to showcase what they do number one and but they just really enjoy it. We've got a great group of people who are involved. And so I pick the theme and say go for it.
Shauna Lake: Do you have a favorite room?
Jeanette Herbert: Probably this one but the ballroom is great too, it's just really festive and colorful and it's got the reds. But this one is my favorite because of the colors and everything and it's just so pretty and they've just made it look so elegant and beautiful. We always have a school come in and this year it was a Chinese immersion group and so they put all these Chinese decorations on the tree. I had no idea how it was going to turn out and I love it. Every year you don't know what you're going to get. Some years are better than others. This year is spectacular. Every tree I love.
Shauna Lake: What does Utah mean to you?
Jeanette Herbert: Oh I love Utah. Growing up in Utah all my kids still live here because they love Utah they don't want to live anywhere else. It's a great state, I think it's a great state and it's because we have great values in the state. There are so many good people and people notice that. We're the number on state for volunteerism which is something I wear a banner with pride because I think thats what its all about. Serving others, helping others and Utah is all about that.
Shauna Lake: What would people be surprised to know about you?
Jeanette Herbert: I own all the tools in the house. I don't know why; Im kind of Ms. Fix it. Everything from fixing the car to something that is broken on my dryer. Gary jokes about our first date he came and I just finished putting a carburetor in our car.
Shauna Lake: What is something that makes you emotional; something that you're passionate about that makes you an emotional person.
Jeanette Herbert: Probably my family; just the fact that they all are doing the right things. That they are good, why did you say that because look at me? They are good kids and they want to do the right thing. They are good parents. There is nothing more rewarding than watching your kids grow up into adults and wanting to do the right thing and raising these kids in the right way. And teaching them values and whats important in life and thats a big thing. It's all about families that's why I have my initiative. I have my initiative Up With Families and thats the reason behind it because you know families we have to keep them together they are the cornerstone of our society; if they fall apart the whole world falls apart. Whatever I can do to keep them together and keep the families strong that's important.
Shauna Lake: That's a perfect note to end on Jeanette. It's so nice to get to know you better person to person.
-Written and produced by Angie Denison
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)