Governor of Massachusetts

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Massachusetts Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $4,993,342
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Massachusetts Constitution, Chapter 2, Section I, Article I
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Charlie Baker.jpg
Name:  Charles D. Baker
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  January 8, 2015
Compensation:  $151,800
Next election:  November 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other Massachusetts Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSecretary of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerSecretary of Energy and Environmental AffairsSecretary of Labor and Workforce DevelopmentPublic Utilities Commission
The Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is an elected constitutional officer, the head of the executive branch and the highest state office in Massachusetts. The governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two terms.[1]

Like most other state officers, senators, and representatives, the governor was originally elected annually. In 1918 this was changed to a two-year term, and since 1966 the office of governor has carried a four-year term.

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

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Charles D. Baker (R). He was first elected on November 4, 2014, and succeeded Deval Patrick (D) on January 8, 2015.[2]


The state Constitution addresses the office of the governor in Chapter 2, the Executive Department.

Under Chapter 2, Section I, Article I:

There shall be a supreme executive magistrate, who shall be styled, The Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and whose title shall be -- His Excellency.


Current Governors
Gubernatorial Elections
Current Lt. Governors
Lt. Governor Elections
Breaking news

A candidate for the governorship must be a registered elector in the state and have been a resident for at least seven years before taking office.


Massachusetts state government organizational chart

Massachusetts elects governors in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not presidential election years. For Massachusetts, 2018, 2022, 2026, 2030 and 2034 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the first day of the political year is always the first Wednesday in the January following an election and the gubernatorial inauguration occurs at noon the first Thursday in January.

Under Article VII of the Amendments to the Constitution, once the Governor has taken the oath of office, no further oath or affirmation shall be required before he executes any his duties.



See also: Massachusetts gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2014
Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngCharles D. Baker/Karyn Polito 48.4% 1,044,573
     Democratic Martha Coakley/Steve Kerrigan 46.5% 1,004,408
     United Independent Evan Falchuk/Angus Jennings 3.3% 71,814
     Independent Scott Lively/Shelly Saunders 0.9% 19,378
     Independent Jeffrey McCormick/Tracy Post 0.8% 16,295
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.1% 1,858
Total Votes 2,158,326
Election Results via Massachusetts Secretary of State.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

Massachusetts governors do not face any term limits.

Partisan composition

The chart below shows the partisan breakdown of Massachusetts governors from 1992-2013.

Governor of Massachusetts Partisanship.PNG


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Article LV of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution. When it was passed, Article LV annulled and replaced Article VI of Section III of Chapter II.

The established line of succession for any gubernatorial vacancy is currently:

When the lieutenant governor takes over, her official title is 'Lieutenant Governor, Acting Governor'. Regardless of the officer who takes over as acting governor, that individual shall have all the powers and rights of the elected governor, if not the title.

If a governor-elect dies without taking office, the individual elected on the same ballot as the lieutenant governor shall take office and serve as the governor.

Any time a sitting Governor communicates in writing to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of House of Representatives that he unable to discharge the office, that action shall be taken to consider the office of the governor vacant. At any time, the Chief Justice and a majority of the Associate Justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Court may deliver an opinion to the Senate and House that they have found the governor or unfit to discharge the office; in such an instance, the governorship shall also be considered to be vacant.

Whether a governor declared himself temporarily unfit or the courts found him unfit, the governor may deliver, to the legislature, his written statement that he is fit to return to office. Unless the Supreme Court contests that declaration, the governor shall return to office within four days. If the Supreme Court does challenge the governor's return to office, Article XCI of the Amendments to the Constitution lays out a process for hearing and a final decision.

Regardless of who initiated the decision about the governor's disability, if that disability continues for six months and if more than five months remain until the next biennial election, a special election shall be held for the remainder of the governor's term.



As one of America's oldest constitutions, many of the original duties assigned to the governor have been annulled or superseded by over two centuries of amendments. Under the organization of the Massachusetts Constitution, all amendments are listed separately in Articles of Amendment, Massachusetts Constitution, which itself runs to 120 discrete items.

Massachusetts' governor is the commander-in-chief of the state's militia, which he may assemble for training and parade as well as for actual military functions. Within legal parameters, the governor may also give periodic advice on the organization and regulation of the militia.

Regarding vetoes, if the governor communicates his objection to a bill and the legislature adjourns before he is able to deliver his objections, that bill shall not take effect or have any force of law. The governor may not veto a law passed by the voters, through the General Court may amend or repeal such a law.

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • Making appointments, including notaries public and judicial officers. Additionally, if the legislature is in recess when an office they appoint becomes vacant, the governor may make a vacancy appointment. With consent of the legislature, the governor may also remove previously appointed notaries and judicial officers. Also, the governor may retire appointees for reasons of mental or physical health
  • Decennially, working with legislators, reapportioning the number of Senators and Representatives each district shall have
  • Granting all military commissions made by the state of Massachusetts
  • Making recommendations concerning the general appropriations bills, supplementary budgets, and details and terms of loans taken on by the state to the legislature. The governor also has a line item veto on the appropriations bill.
  • Convening special sessions of the legislature
  • Granting pardons, except in cases of impeachment where the individual has been tried in the House and convicted in the Senate
  • Requiring legal opinions on important judicial matters from members of the Massachusetts Supreme Court
  • Preparing and presenting, to the legislature, plans to reorganize the executive branch, including establishing and abolishing departments and offices
  • Presenting a budget to the legislature each year, and compelling any board, commission, or office to provide information deemed necessary in preparing a budget


Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for information that describes the divisions (if any exist) of a state executive office. That information for the Governor of Massachusetts has not yet been added. After extensive research we were unable to identify any relevant information on state official websites. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

State budget

Role in state budget

See also: Massachusetts state budget and finances

The state operates on an annual budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[3][4]

  1. Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in July of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year.
  2. State agencies submit their budget requests in September.
  3. Agency hearings are held in August and September.
  4. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature on the fourth Wednesday in January.
  5. The legislature typically adopts a budget in June. A simple majority is required to pass a budget. The fiscal year begins July 1.

Massachusetts is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[4]

The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget proposal. Likewise, the legislature is legally required to pass a balanced budget.[4]

Governor's office budget

The budget for the offices of governor, lieutenant governor and the governor's council for the 2013 fiscal year was $4,993,342.[5]


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

The Massachusetts Constitution states that the governor should have a fixed and permanent salary, decided upon by the State Legislature, which would be revisited if the salary was deemed insufficient.[6] However in 1998, the Massachusetts State Legislators Compensation Amendment was passed, prohibiting state legislators from altering the base pay of the governor, and other state public officials. Since January 2001, compensation for public officials instead is adjusted (increased or decreased) every two years corresponding with changes in median household income for Massachusetts’s residents.[7]

In 2014, a seven-member Special Advisory Commission was created by Section 239 of the Articles of Amendment to the Constitution to review and compare the compensation of Massachusetts’s public officials to other states.[8] [9]


In 2014, the governor earned a salary of $151,800, according to the Council of State Governments.[10]


In 2013, the governor's salary was $139,832.[11]


In 2010, the governor was paid $140,535 a year, the 16th highest gubernatorial salary in America.

Historical officeholders

There have been 75 Governors of Massachusetts since 1789. Of the 75 officeholders, 34 were Republican, 17 were Democrat, eight were Democratic-Republican, six were Federalists, five were Whig, two were Republican/Whig, one was American/Know-Nothing, one was Democrat/National, and one was Adams Republican.[12]


Partisan balance 1992-2013

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

From 1992-2013, in Massachusetts there were Democratic governors in office for the last seven years while there were Republican governors in office for the first 15 years. During the last seven years of the study Massachusetts was under Democratic trifectas.

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 Massachusetts, the Massachusetts State Senate and the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1992-2013.

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

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Massachusetts 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. Massachusetts had a period of divided government between 1992 and 2006 before electing a Democratic trifecta in 2007. Between the years 1992 and 2004, Massachusetts remained in the top-10 in the SQLI ranking, hitting its highest spot (3rd) in 2000 under divided government. The state had its lowest ranking (24th) in 2006, also under divided government. During the years 2005 and 2006, Massachusetts fell eleven spots in the SQLI ranking under divided government, which was its largest drop in the ranking during the period of the study. The state has never had a Republican trifecta.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 14.17
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with divided government: 7.20
Chart displaying the partisanship of Massachusetts government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Governor Massachusetts."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

Governor of Massachusetts - Google News Feed

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Contact information

Boston, MA Massachusetts State House
Office of the Governor
Office of the Lt. Governor
Room 280
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: 617.725.4005

Springfield, MA
Western Massachusetts Office
State Office Building
436 Dwight Street
Suite 300
Springfield, MA 01103
Phone: 413.784.1200

Washington, DC
Office of the Governor
444 N. Capitol Street, Suite 208
Washington, D.C. 20001
Phone: 202.624.7713
Fax: 202.624.7714

See also

External links

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