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Governor of Texas

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Texas Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $9,374,980
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Texas Constitution, Article 4, Section 1
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Greg Abbott headshot.jpg
Name:  Greg Abbott
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  January 20, 2015
Compensation:  $150,000
Next election:  November 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other Texas Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralComptrollerAuditorEducation CommissionerAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerLand CommissionerWorkforce CommissionPublic Utility CommissionRailroad Commission
The Governor of Texas is the chief executive of the state of Texas and is elected by the citizens every four years. The governor has the power to: sign and veto bills passed by the state legislature, serve as commander-in-chief of the state's military forces, convene special sessions of the legislature, grant reprieves and pardons, and fill vacant positions via appointment. Additionally, the governor is responsible for delivering the "State of the State" address and an annual state budget report and budget recommendation.

As of April 2015, Texas is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

See also: Texas State Legislature, Texas House of Representatives, Texas State Senate

Current officeholder

The 48th and current governor is Greg Abbott (R). He assumed office on January 20, 2015, succeeding Rick Perry (R). Perry was the longest-serving governor in state history with a tenure lasting from 2000 to 2015. Abbott previously served as the Attorney General of Texas from 2002 to 2015.


The Governor's powers, term of office, qualifications, and installation are established by Article 4 of the Texas Constitution.

Article 4, Section 1:

The Executive Department of the State shall consist of a Governor, who shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the State...


Article 4, Section 4 of the Texas Constitution establishes the qualifications of office as such:[1]

He shall be at least thirty years of age, a citizen of the United States, and shall have resided in this State at least five years immediately preceding his election.

Additionally, the Governor:

...shall not hold any other office: civil, military or corporate; nor shall he practice any profession, and receive compensation, reward, fee, or the promise thereof for the same; nor receive any salary, reward or compensation or the promise thereof from any person or corporation, for any service rendered or performed during the time he is Governor, or to be thereafter rendered or performed.


Texas elects governors in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not presidential election years. For Texas 2018, 2022, 2026, 2030 and 2034 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the "on the first Tuesday after the organization of the Legislature, or as soon thereafter as practicable."

If two candidates tie for the most votes or if an election is contested, a joint session of the legislature shall cast ballots to resolve the issue.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

Texas governors do not face any term limits.

Partisan composition

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Texas from 1992-2013.

Governor of Texas Partisanship.PNG

Full history


See also: Texas gubernatorial election, 2014

Republican Greg Abbott won election on November 4, 2014.

Governor of Texas, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngGreg Abbott 59.3% 2,796,547
     Democratic Wendy Davis 38.9% 1,835,596
     Libertarian Kathie Glass 1.4% 66,543
     Green Brandon Parmer 0.4% 18,520
     Write-in Sarah Pavitt 0% 1,062
Total Votes 4,718,268
Election Results via Texas Secretary of State.


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Article 4, Section 16 of the Texas Constitution defines the method by which a vacancy of the Governor's office is filled:

(c) In the case of the temporary inability or temporary disqualification of the Governor to serve, the impeachment of the Governor, or the absence of the Governor from the State, the Lieutenant Governor shall exercise the powers and authority appertaining to the office of Governor until the Governor becomes able or qualified to resume serving, is acquitted, or returns to the State.

(d) If the Governor refuses to serve or becomes permanently unable to serve, or if the office of Governor becomes vacant, the Lieutenant Governor becomes Governor for the remainder of the term being served by the Governor who refused or became unable to serve or vacated the office. On becoming Governor, the person vacates the office of Lieutenant Governor, and the resulting vacancy in the office of Lieutenant Governor shall be filled in the manner provided by Section 9, Article III, of this Constitution.


The constitutional and statutory duties of the governor include:

  • Signing or vetoing bills passed by the Legislature.
  • Serving as commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.
  • Convening special sessions of the Legislature for specific purposes.
  • Delivering a report on the condition of the state to the Legislature at the beginning of each regular session.
  • Estimating of the amounts of money required to be raised by taxation.
  • Accounting for all public monies received and paid out by him and recommending a budget for the next two years.
  • Granting reprieves and commutations of punishment and pardons upon the recommendation of the Board of Pardons and *Paroles and revoking conditional pardons.
  • Declaring special elections to fill vacancies in certain elected offices.
  • Appointing qualified Texans to state offices that carry out the laws and direct the policies of state government. Some *of these offices are filled by appointment only. Others are ordinarily elected by the people, but the governor must occasionally appoint individuals to fill vacancies. The governor also appoints Texans to a wide range of advisory bodies and task forces that assist him with specific issues."[2]



The Office of the Governor consists of a number councils, committees, and divisions comprised of leaders and experts from diverse backgrounds who provide technical assistance to the Governor across of range of policy areas. They provide research, advice, and organizational leadership to the Governor in support of a "vision for a better, more prosperous Texas."[3] The Office of the Governor is currently comprised as follows:

Advisory Council on Physical Fitness

The Advisory Council on Physical Fitness was created by Governor Rick Perry "to take the lead on improving the state’s overall fitness through sports, health and nutrition education, and exercise."[4]

Appointments Office

The Appointment Office is a team devoted to assisting the Governor in identifying, recruiting, and hiring talented individuals for the many positions that must be filled in a gubernatorial term.
Appointment is an executive power under which the Governor selects individuals to head state government bodies, councils, and bureaucracies. Appointment power is granted to the governor by the Texas Constitution. '"Article 4, Section 12" states: "All vacancies in State or district offices, except members of the Legislature, shall be filled unless otherwise provided by law by appointment of the Governor."[1] The appointment of officials is one of the most influential methods by which the Governor executes the policies enacted by the legislature. Approximately 3,000 appointments will be made during a four-year term.[5]

Governor's Standard

Budget, Planning, and Policy

"The Budget, Planning and Policy Division advises the Governor regarding state fiscal matters in support of his statutory role as Texas' Chief budget officer. The division also:
  • Prepares the Governor's biennial budget recommendations to the Legislature.
  • Monitors state appropriations and operations.
  • Analyzes fiscal and economic issues.
  • Performs other duties determined by the Governor."[6]

Commission for Women

Texas First Lady Anita Perry on the Governor's Commission for Women
The Governor's Commission for Women specializes in research, education, referral services, and outreach in support of helping "Texas women live healthier, more productive and more prosperous lives."[7]
Contact Women's Commission
Toll-Free: (800) 839-5323
Phone: (512) 475-2615
Fax: (512) 463-1832
Email: women@governor.state.tx.us
Address:1100 San Jacinto, Austin, Texas 78701

Committee on People with Disabilities

The mission of the Committee on People with Disabilities is "to further opportunities for persons with disabilities to enjoy full and equal access to lives of independence, productivity, and self-determination."[8]
The Committee advises the Governor on policies and programs in areas that affect the lives of the disabled, while also promoting awareness of and compliance with disability laws in Texas. Areas of focus include: accessibility, communication, education, emergency preparedness, health, housing, recreation, transportation, veterans and workforce.[8]

Constituent Communication

Constituent Communication is the Texas citizenry's connection to the Governor. The division reviews and responds to letters, emails, phone calls, and faxes from constituents.

Criminal Justice Division

The mission of the Criminal Justice Division is "to create and support programs that protect people from crime, reduce the number of crimes committed, and to promote accountability, efficiency, and effectiveness within the criminal justice system."[9]
The division administers various forms of state and federal grant funding that adhere to the following two goals: "1) encourage innovative solutions and 2) provide for local control."[9] Further, the CJD assists and advises the governor across a range of programs and policy areas within the Texas criminal justice system - ranging from coordinating state and local efforts to measuring the performance of community-based programs to evaluating juvenile justice procedures and programs.[9]

Economic Development and Tourism

The Economic Development and Tourism division operates a range of programs and activities aimed at promoting the state of Texas in the national and international spheres as a place for business development and location, as well as a premiere travel location. The division is composed of the following focus areas:
  • Texas Business Development
  • The Office of Aerospace and Aviation
  • The Economic Development Bank
  • Small Business Assistance
  • Texas Tourism
  • Texas Military Preparedness Division

Financial Services

The mission of Financial Services is to ensure "that all financial transactions in the governor’s office set the highest standard for the state."[10]

General Counsel

The Office of General Counsel "provides legal advice to the Governor and his team, handling the broad range of issues encountered in leading the second largest state in the nation."[11]

Homeland Security

Established in 2003, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security's mission is " to protect Texans, as well as the State’s critical infrastructure and key resources, from all threats."[12] The Office accomplishes this mission by assisting the state in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from natural and manmade disasters.

Human Resources

The Human Resources Division handles all hiring and personnel issues for positions within the Office of the Governor. Human Resources also manages the Texas Governor's Fellowship Program.

Press Office

The Press Office serves as the conduit of communication between the Governor and the press. The Office conveys the Governor's perspectives on policy matters, current events, and pressing issues to journalists and reporters as a primary method of communicating with the people of Texas.[13]

Scheduling and Advance

Scheduling and Advance is "responsible for responding to requests for the Governor’s time in an efficient and courteous manner, as well as organizing the logistics of the governor’s attendance at local, state, national and international events. This office creates a clear, concise schedule for the governor on a daily basis."[14]

State Grants Team

The State Grants Team provides technical assistance to all levels of Texas government, as well as non-profit organizations, in order to maximize access to federal funds. The Team also manages the Texas Review and Comment System (TRACS) and the administration of the Uniform Grants Management Standards.

Texas Criminal Justice Statistical Analysis Center

The mission of the Texas Criminal Justice Statistical Analysis Center is to "collect, analyze and report statewide criminal justice statistics; evaluate the effectiveness of state-funded initiatives; and disseminate analysis results to practitioners, policy-makers, researchers, and the public in order to enhance the quality of criminal justice and crime prevention at all levels of government."[15]

Texas Film Commission

The Texas Film Commission was created in 1979 to ""encourage the orderly development of the film, television, and multi-media production industry in Texas in order to utilize the state's vast array of natural, human, and economic resources which are uniquely suitable for that industry."[16]

Texas Healthcare Policy Council

The mission of the Texas Healthcare Policy Council is to "research, analyze, and provide recommendations on ways to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of the health care system in Texas." The Council furthers this mission by conducting research into efective health care solutions, ensuring collaboration amongst state and local health care providers, assisting communities in assessing their heath care needs, and assisting the Governor with various health care related issues as they arise.

Texas Music Office

The mission of the Texas Music Office is to serve "as the information clearinghouse and promotion office for the Texas music industry."[17]

Texas Workforce Investment Council

The mission of the Texas Workforce Investment Council is to assist "the Governor and the Legislature with strategic planning for and evaluation of the Texas workforce development system, which is composed of eight state agencies and 25 diverse and dynamic programs. The Council’s strategic priority is to promote the linkage of education, workforce and economic development in order to leverage resources, increase collaboration among state and local partners, and build the pipeline of skilled workers that Texas must have to prosper in the 21st century."[18]

State budget

Role in state budget

See also: Texas state budget and finances

The state operates on a biennial budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[19][20]

  1. Budget instructions are sent to state agencies beginning in March.
  2. Agencies submit their budget requests to the governor from July through September.
  3. Agency and public hearings are held from July through September.
  4. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature on the 30th day of the regular session.
  5. The legislature typically adopts a budget in May. A simple majority is required to pass a budget. The fiscal year begins in September.

Texas is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[20]

The legislature is legally required to adopt a balanced budget. Similarly, the governor must sign a balanced budget into law.[20]

Governor's office budget

The budget for the Governor's Office in Fiscal Year 2013 was $9,374,980.[21]


See also: Comparison of gubernatorial salaries and Compensation of state executive officers

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Texas Statutes Title 6, Chapter 659

The governor, along with the rest of Texas' executive officers, is entitled by Article 4, Section 5 of the Texas Constitution to receive an annual salary, pursuant to Title 6, Section 659.011 of the Texas Statutes. The legislature was empowered to set the salaries of executive branch officers by a 1954 constitutional amendment. Prior to that, the constitution stipulated the salary amounts paid to each officer.[22] The amounts are fixed by the biennial General Approprations Act.


In 2014, the governor received a salary of $150,000, according to the Council of State Governments.[23]


In 2013, the governor's salary remained at $150,000.[24]


In 2012, the governor was paid an estimated $150,000. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.


In 2010, the Texas Governor was paid an estimated $150,000 according to the Council of State Governments, the 11th highest gubernatorial salary in America.[25]

Historical officeholders

Standard Of Governor Of Texas.svg

From 1846-2000, the state of Texas has had 48 governors. Of the 48 governors, 40 were Democratic, six were Republican, one was an Independent and one was a Unionist.[26]

Click "show" for Texas former governors from 1846 to present.


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Texas
Partisan breakdown of the Texas governorship from 1992-2013

From 1992-2013, in Texas there were Democratic governors in office for the first three years while there were Republican governors in office for the last 19 years. Texas is one of eight states that were run by a Republican governor for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. Texas was under Republican trifectas for the last 11 years of the study period.

Across the country, there were 493 years of Democratic governors (44.82%) and 586 years of Republican governors (53.27%) from 1992-2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Texas, the Texas State Senate and the Texas House of Representatives from 1992-2013.

Partisan composition of Texas state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

Texas was one of eight states to demonstrate a dramatic partisan shift in the 22 years studied. A dramatic shift was defined by a movement of 40 percent or more toward one party over the course of the study period. Texas started out with Democratic trifectas but shifted to Republican trifectas by the end of the study.

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Texas state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Prior to Republican trifectas, which started in 2003, the SQLI rating for Texas stayed consistently in the 30s, except for its lowest ranking of 40 in 1994 during a Democratic trifecta. Within a few years of the Republican trifectas that ranking moved up, and Texas finished 11th, its highest ranking, in 2012.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 36.67
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 18.00
  • SQLI average with divided government: 33.63
Chart displaying the partisanship of Texas government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Recent news

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All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Governor of Texas News Feed

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Contact information

Physical Address:
Office of the Governor
State Insurance Building
1100 San Jacinto
Austin, Texas 78701

Mailing Address:
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428

Phone: 512-463-2000
Fax: 512-463-1849

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Texas Constitution, "Article 4," accessed August 2, 2014
  2. Office of the Governor, "Governor's Duties, Requirements & Powers," accessed August 2, 2014
  3. Office of the Governor, "Governor's Office Organization," accessed August 2, 2014
  4. Office of the Governor, "Advisory Council on Physical Fitness," accessed August 2, 2014
  5. Office of the Governor, "Appointment Responsibility," accessed August 2, 2014
  6. Office of the Governor, "Budget, Planning and Policy," accessed August 2, 2014
  7. Office of the Governor, "Commission for Women," accessed August 2, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 Office of the Governor, "Committee on People with Disabilities," accessed August 2, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Office of the Governor, "Criminal Justice Division," accessed August 2, 2014
  10. Office of the Governor, "Financial Services," accessed August 2, 2014
  11. Office of the Governor, "General Counsel," accessed August 2, 2014
  12. Office of the Governor, "Homeland Security," accessed August 2, 2014
  13. Office of the Governor, "Press Office," accessed August 2, 2014
  14. Office of the Governor, "Scheduling and Advance," accessed August 2, 2014
  15. Office of the Governor, "Criminal Justice Statistical Analysis Center," accessed August 2, 2014
  16. Office of the Governor, "Texas Film Commission History," accessed August 2, 2014
  17. Office of the Governor, "Texas Music Commission," accessed August 2, 2014
  18. Office of the Governor, "The Texas Workforce System," accessed August 2, 2014
  19. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  21. Legislative Reference Library of Texas, "General Appropriations Act for the 2012-2013 Biennium," accessed April 6, 2013 (dead link)
  22. Texas State Historical Association, "SALARIES OF STATE EXECUTIVE OFFICERS," accessed March 6, 2015
  23. Council of State Governments, "SELECTED STATE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS: ANNUAL SALARIES," accessed December 8, 2014
  24. Council of State Governments, "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries," June 25, 2013
  25. The Council of State Governments, "The Book of States 2010 Table 4.3," accessed April 11, 2011
  26. Texas State Library and Archives Commission, "Chronological List of Texas Governors," March 30, 2011