Governor of Hawaii

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The Governor of Hawaii, also called Ke Kiaaina o Hawaii, is the chief executive of the State of Hawaii and its various agencies and departments, as provided in the Hawaii State Constitution Article V, Sections 1 through 6. It is a directly elected position, votes being cast by popular suffrage of residents of the state. The governor is responsible for enforcing laws passed by the Hawaii State Legislature and upholding rulings of the Hawaii State Judiciary. The role includes being commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Hawaii and having the power to use those forces to execute laws, suppress insurrection and violence and repel invasion. The Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii becomes acting governor upon the governor's absence from the state or disability from discharging duties. Historically, the Governor of Hawaii has been from either the Democratic Party of Hawaii or Hawaii Republican Party.

The current governor of Hawaii is Linda Lingle. She is finishing her term and will leave office in January 2011, at which time Democratic Governor-elect Neil Abercrombie will be sworn in.


The governor of Hawaii is limited to two four-year terms. Inauguration takes place on the first Monday in December following a gubernatorial election. A single term ends at noon four years later. A governor is:

  • required to be at least 30 years old,
  • required to have been a resident of Hawaii for five consecutive years previous to election,
  • barred from other professions or paid positions during the term.


Unlike all but two other states in the Union (Tennessee and New Jersey), Hawaii has only one elected statewide officer in the Governor of Hawaii. Also, the Governor of Hawaii has wide-reaching authority comparably stronger than the other governors in the Union; administrative powers are more centralized than that of most other states with little authority devolved to the county, and unlike other states there are no local school districts. It is because of this central authority that the Governor of Hawaii is locally considered one of the most powerful governors in the United States. The governorship of Hawaii has often been characterized by the Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu Star-Bulletin and various other local media as an "elected monarchy" referring to the most current governors as "King Ben" and "Queen Linda" in headlines during their tenures. Included within the governor's sphere of jurisdiction is the power to appoint all judges of the various courts within the Hawaii judicial system, subject to Senatorial approval.

The State of Hawaii does not have fixed cabinet positions and departments. By law, the Governor of Hawaii has the power to create his or her cabinet and departments as needed as long as the executive department is composed of no more than twenty bodies and cabinet members. The Governor of Hawaii is also empowered to remove cabinet officers at will, with the exception of the Attorney General of Hawaii, who must be removed by an act of the Hawaii State Senate.

Contact information

Constituent Services
State Capitol, Room 415
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Phone: (808) 586-0221 or (808) 586-0222
Fax: (808) 586-0019

Governor's Office
Phone: 808 586-0034
Fax: 808 586-0006

See also

External links


Portions of this article were adapted from Wikipedia.