Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts

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Massachusetts Lieutenant 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 II, Article II
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Karyn Polito.jpg
Name:  Karyn Polito
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  January 8, 2015
Compensation:  $124,920
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 Lieutenant Governor of the State of Massachusetts is an elected constitutional officer, the second ranking officer of the executive branch and the first officer in line to succeed the Governor of Massachusetts.[1] The lieutenant governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two terms.

Current officeholder

See also: Current Lieutenant Governors

The current lieutenant governor is Karyn Polito (R). She was first elected to the office on November 4, 2014. Polito filled a vacancy that had existed since the June 2013 resignation of previous officeholder Tim Murray.[2]

Murray, a Democrat elected in 2006 and 2010,[3] announced his resignation on May 22, 2013, in order to lead the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.[4]

As the Massachusetts Constitution does not provide a way to fill a vacancy in the office of lieutenant governor, the post remained vacant until a successor elected on November 4, 2014, was sworn into office. The situation previously occurred in 2001 when then-Gov. Paul Cellucci resigned and Lt. Gov. Jane Swift took over as governor, leaving the position empty. In the event that Deval Patrick (D) left office before his term was complete, Secretary of State William Galvin would have served as acting governor.[5]


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

Under Chapter 2, Section II, Article I:

There shall be [annually] elected a lieutenant governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, whose title shall be, His Honor and who shall be qualified, in point of [religion, property,] and residence in the commonwealth, in the same manner with the governor: and the day and manner of his election, and the qualifications of the electors, shall be the same as are required in the election of a governor...


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

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

The more numerous original requirements no longer apply.


Massachusetts state government organizational chart
See also: Gubernatorial election cycles by state
See also: Election of lieutenant governors

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

Under Article VII of the amendments to the state constitution, once the lieutenant 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.


The constitution states, whenever the chair of the governor is vacant, the lieutenant governor shall take over as acting governor. The first time this came into use was five years after the constitution's adoption in 1785, when Gov. John Hancock resigned his post five months before the inauguration of his successor, Gov. James Bowdoin. Most recently, Jane Swift became acting governor upon the resignation of Paul Cellucci. Under this system, the lieutenant governor retains his or her position and title as "Lieutenant Governor" and never becomes governor–only acting governor.

The lieutenant governor serves in place of the governor when he is outside the borders of Massachusetts. Historically also a one-year term, the office of lieutenant governor now carries a four-year term the same as that of the governor. Originally, there were religious, property and residency requirements for both the office of governor and lieutenant governor, of which only the residency requirement remains in effect.

To be eligible for either office, a candidate must have lived in Massachusetts for at least seven years immediately preceding his election, and originally also had to be a Christian owning at least £1,000 worth of real property.


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 lieutenant gubernatorial vacancy is currently:

  • the Receiver-General

Concerning the council, when both the governor and lieutenant governor are absent, the remaining council members may act in their absence through majority votes.



Chapter 2, Section 2 of the Massachusetts Constitution provides that when a governor dies, resigns or is removed from office, the office of governor remains vacant for the rest of the four-year term. The lieutenant governor discharges powers and duties as "acting governor."

The lieutenant governor is automatically a member of the council and, when the governor is absent, the president of the council.

He has such other responsibilities and duties as the governor shall assign.


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 Lieutenant 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

See also: Massachusetts state budget and finances

The budget for the offices of governor, lieutenant governor and the governor's council for the 2013 fiscal year was $4,993,342.[6]


See also: Comparison of lieutenant gubernatorial salaries

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: M.G.L. Ch.6 §2

Massachusetts General Laws set the salary for the lieutenant governor at $124,920, with an additional amount to be calculated according to the adjustment percentage addressed in the Massachusetts State Legislators Compensation Amendment. [7] In 1998, the Massachusetts State Legislators Compensation Amendment was passed, prohibiting state legislators from altering their base pay. Beginning in January 2001, compensation for public officials instead is adjusted (increased or decreased) every two years corresponding with changes in median household income for Massachusetts residents.[8]

In 2014, a seven-member Special Advisory Commission was created by Section 239 of the Articles of Amendment to the state constitution to review and compare the compensation of public officials of Massachusetts to those of other states.[9] [10]


In 2013, the lieutenant governor's salary was $124,295.[11]


In 2010, the lieutenant governor was paid an estimated $124,920, the eighth highest lieutenant gubernatorial salary in America.

Historical officeholders

Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for chronological lists of historical officeholders. That information for the Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts has not yet been added because the information was unavailable on the relevant state official websites, or we are currently in the process of formatting the list for this office. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

Recent news

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Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts - Google News Feed

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Contact information

Boston, MA Massachusetts State House
Office of the Lt. Governor
Room 280
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: 617.725.4005
Toll Free: 888.870.7770

See also

External links