Mary Calvi, the WCBS news anchor and former News 12 personality, has smoothly and calmly covered everything from Pope John Paul II to the 2001 terrorist attacks. Her husband is Mike Spano, the mayor of Yonkers, Westchester County’s big city of hills that has a political landscape often as bumpy to navigate as its topography.
Calvi has won six Emmys and is the face of CBS’ “News This Morning” and “News At Noon.” Spano’s family is so synonymous with Yonkers and Westchester politics that it’s been referred to as a dynasty – a 1996 New York Times article calling them the “less rarefied version of the Kennedys of Massachusetts and the Roosevelts of New York.”
As a journalist married to a high-profile politician, she’s yet to take the Sunday Mirror route and listen in on his phone calls for her next big scoop.
“When we are on the phone at home, it’s usually to order pizza,” she says. “So, I have picked up the phone to ask for extra cheese for the kids. Other than that, privacy is important in a relationship.” The couple has three children.
Spano is the ninth of 16 children in a family known as one of the most influential in the region. His wife is a dyed-in-the-wool broadcast journalist, who graduated with a journalism degree magna cum laude from S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University.
As much success as they have at work, at home they don’t have the typical journalist-politician dynamic. “I think he’s given me a ‘no comment’ once, when I asked how our son’s hockey game went,” she says. “Some things don’t need a full explanation.”
I asked Spano if he ever felt the need to ask his wife to go “off the record” when they are chatting about how work was that day. “For most of our parenting lives, our discussions have focused first on diapers, then on getting the kids to ballet and hockey,” he says. “We rarely have time, if ever, to discuss politics.”
Whether they discuss it at the dinner table or not, Spano’s life has revolved around the governments of the city and state. His involvement started young – as the legend goes he was hanging campaign posters for his father Leonard in the third grade. Spano served two stints in the state Assembly – taking a break for a spell, he said at the time, so he could spend more time with his family. He became the city’s mayor in 2011.
Born and raised in Yonkers, Spano says being part of the revitalization of the city is a true point of pride. “I believe we all work a little bit harder when there is a vested interest in what we do,” he says. “My grandfather emigrated to Yonkers 100 years ago, started his own business and worked hard to support his family. He would be proud of what his family and new home has accomplished.”
It was civic involvement that brought the two together for the first time: Spano was running the bicentennial committee for Yonkers Columbus Day and Calvi was Miss Columbus.
“Our eyes met then, but Mary was off to college,” he says. “I asked her out soon after she graduated and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Don’t call the two a power couple though.
Calvi and Spano were driving to a hockey game where their son – one of three children – was set to play goalie when they were asked to participate in a WAG power couple profile.
“I think we laughed at first since I was in a T-shirt and Mary was in a ponytail, not your typical power couple,” he says. “To us, practically every working family is a power couple, whatever your profession is. With two working parents, kids with school work and after-school activities, no couple’s job is ever done and done easily.”
Calvi says, “Mike and I both truly enjoy our careers and our work. We have a deep respect for both endeavors and understand that with great opportunity comes great responsibility. We take that very seriously.”
With the light-speed pace of their jobs and often conflicting schedules, you might think Spano and Calvi never see each other. To strike a balance takes time, patience – and a few good laughs to make it through the day, Spano says.
“We may both have busy lives, but we always find the time to be together,” he says. “As two full-time working parents, it definitely gets difficult at times but we always make it work. It’s what makes our hectic day worth it.”