Governor of Massachusetts
|Office website:||Official Link|
|2013 FY Budget:||$4,993,342|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Massachusetts Constitution, Chapter 2, Section I, Article I|
|Assumed office:||January 4, 2007|
|Next election:||November 6, 2018|
|Last election:||November 4, 2014|
|Other Massachusetts Executive Offices|
|Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Secretary of State • Attorney General • Treasurer • Auditor • Secretary of Education • Agriculture Commissioner • Insurance Commissioner • Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs • Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development • Public Utilities Commission|
- 1 Current officeholder
- 2 Authority
- 3 Qualifications
- 4 Elections
- 5 Vacancies
- 6 Duties
- 7 Divisions
- 8 State budget
- 9 Compensation
- 10 Historical officeholders
- 11 History
- 12 Recent news
- 13 Contact information
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- 16 References
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.
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.
|2014 • 2013 • 2012 • 2011 • 2010|
|Current Lt. Governors|
|Lt. Governor Elections|
|2014 • 2013 • 2012 • 2011 • 2010|
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 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.
|Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, 2014|
|Republican||Charles 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|
|Election Results via Massachusetts Secretary of State.|
- See also: States with gubernatorial term limits
Massachusetts governors do not face any term limits.
The chart below shows the partisan breakdown of Massachusetts State Governors from 1992-2013.
- 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:
- the Massachusetts Treasurer (alternate title for Receiver-General)
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.
Role in state budget
- See also: Massachusetts state budget
- Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in July of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year.
- State agencies submit their budget requests in September.
- Agency hearings are held in August and September.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature on the fourth Wednesday in January.
- The legislature typically adopts a budget in June. A simple majority is required to pass a budget. The fiscal year begins July 1.
The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget proposal. Likewise, the legislature is legally required to pass a balanced budget.
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.
In 2013, the governor's salary was $139,832.
In 2010, the Governor of Massachusetts was paid $140,535 a year, the 16th highest gubernatorial salary in America.
There have been 74 Governors of Massachusetts since 1789. Of the 74 officeholders, 33 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.
|List of Former Officeholders from 1789-Present|
|1||John Hancock||1789 - 1793||Federalist|
|2||Samuel Adams||1793 - 1797||Democratic-Republican|
|3||Increase Sumner||1797 - 1799||Federalist|
|4||Caleb Strong||1800 - 1807||Federalist|
|5||James Sullivan||1807 - 1808||Democratic-Republican|
|6||Levi Lincoln||1808 - 1809||Democratic-Republican|
|7||Christopher Gore||1809 - 1810||Federalist|
|8||Elbridge Gerry||1810 - 1812||Democratic-Republican|
|9||Caleb Strong||1812 - 1816||Federalist|
|10||John Brooks||1816 - 1823||Federalist|
|11||William Eustis||1823 - 1825||Democratic-Republican|
|12||Marcus Morton||1825 - 1825||Democratic-Republican|
|13||Levi Lincoln||1825 - 1833||Adams Republican|
|14||John Davis||1834 - 1835||Republican, Whig|
|15||Samuel Turell Armstrong||1835 - 1836||Whig|
|16||Edward Everett||1836 - 1840||Whig|
|17||Marcus Morton||1840 - 1841||Democratic-Republican|
|18||John Davis||1841 - 1843||Republican, Whig|
|19||Marcus Morton||1843 - 1844||Democratic-Republican|
|20||George Nixon Briggs||1844 - 1851||Whig|
|21||George Sewall Boutwell||1851 - 1853||Democratic|
|22||John Henry Clifford||1853 - 1854||Whig|
|23||Emory Washburn||1854 - 1855||Whig|
|24||Henry Joseph Gardner||1855 - 1858||American /Know-Nothing|
|25||Nathaniel Prentice Banks||1858 - 1861||Republican|
|26||John Albion Andrew||1861 - 1866||Republican|
|27||Alexander Hamilton Bullock||1866 - 1869||Republican|
|28||William Claflin||1869 - 1872||Republican|
|29||William Barrett Washburn||1872 - 1874||Republican|
|30||Thomas Talbot||1874 - 1875||Republican|
|31||William Gaston||1875 - 1876||Democratic|
|32||Alexander Hamilton Rice||1876 - 1879||Republican|
|33||Thomas Talbot||1879 - 1880||Republican|
|34||John Davis Long||1880 - 1883||Republican|
|35||Benjamin Franklin Butler||1883 - 1884||Democratic, National|
|36||George Dexter Robinson||1884 - 1887||Republican|
|37||Oliver Ames||1887 - 1890||Republican|
|38||John Quincy Adams Brackett||1890 - 1891||Republican|
|39||William Eustis Russell||1891 - 1894||Democratic|
|40||Frederic Thomas Greenhalge||1894 - 1896||Republican|
|41||Roger Wolcott||1896 - 1900||Republican|
|42||Winthrop Murray Crane||1900 - 1903||Republican|
|43||John Lewis Bates||1903 - 1905||Republican|
|44||William Lewis Douglas||1905 - 1906||Democratic|
|45||Curtis Guild||1906 - 1909||Republican|
|46||Ebenezer Sumner Draper||1909 - 1911||Republican|
|47||Eugene Noble Foss||1911 - 1914||Democratic|
|48||David Ignatius Walsh||1914 - 1916||Democratic|
|49||Samuel Walker McCall||1916 - 1919||Republican|
|50||John Calvin Coolidge||1919 - 1921||Republican|
|51||Channing Harris Cox||1921 - 1925||Republican|
|52||Alvan Tufts Fuller||1925 - 1929||Republican|
|53||Frank G. Allen||1929 - 1931||Republican|
|54||Joseph Buell Ely||1931 - 1935||Democratic|
|55||James Michael Curley||1935 - 1937||Democratic|
|56||Charles Francis Hurley||1937 - 1939||Democratic|
|57||Leverett Saltonstall||1939 - 1945||Republican|
|58||Maurice Tobin||1945 - 1947||Democratic|
|59||Robert Fiske Bradford||1947 - 1949||Republican|
|60||Paul Andrew Dever||1949 - 1953||Democratic|
|61||Christian Archibald Herter||1953 - 1957||Republican|
|62||Foster John Furcolo||1957 - 1961||Democratic|
|63||John Anthony Volpe||1961 - 1963||Republican|
|64||Endicott Peabody||1963 - 1965||Democratic|
|65||John Anthony Volpe||1965 - 1969||Republican|
|66||Francis Williams Sargent||1969 - 1975||Republican|
|67||Michael Stanley Dukakis||1975 - 1979||Democratic|
|68||Edward Joseph King||1979 - 1983||Democratic|
|69||Michael Stanley Dukakis||1983 - 1991||Democratic|
|70||William Floyd Weld||1991 - 1997||Republican|
|71||Argeo Paul Cellucci||1997 - 2001||Republican|
|72||Jane Maria Swift||2001 - 2003||Republican|
|73||Mitt Romney||2003 - 2007||Republican|
Partisan balance 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.
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
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Boston, MA Massachusetts State House
Office of the Governor
Office of the Lt. Governor
Boston, MA 02133
Western Massachusetts Office
State Office Building
436 Dwight Street
Springfield, MA 01103
Office of the Governor
444 N. Capitol Street, Suite 208
Washington, D.C. 20001
- Massachusetts Legislature, "Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," accessed August 6, 2013
- Massachusetts Governor, " Governor Deval Patrick," accessed June 15, 2013
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- The Massachusetts Legislature, "FY 2013 Final Budget," accessed June 27, 2013
- Council of State Governments, "SELECTED STATE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS: ANNUAL SALARIES," accessed December 1, 2014
- Council of State Governments, "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries," June 25, 2013
- National Governors Association, "Massachusetts: Past Governor Bios," accessed August 4, 2013
State of Massachusetts
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor | Commissioner of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Commissioner of Agriculture | Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs | Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development | Chair of Public Utilities |