Governor of Massachusetts
|Office website:||Official Link|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Massachusetts Constitution, Chapter 2, Section I, Article I|
|Assumed office:||January 4, 2007|
|Last election:||November 2, 2010|
|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|
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.
|2015 • 2014 • 2013 • 2012 • 2011 • 2010|
|Current Lt. Governors|
|Lt. Governor Elections|
|2015 • 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, 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018 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. Thus, January 6, 2011 and January 8, 2015 are inaugural days.
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: States with gubernatorial term limits
Massachusetts governors do not face any term limits.
- 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.
- See also: Comparison of gubernatorial salaries
As of 2010, the Governor of Massachusetts is paid $140,535 a year, the 16th highest gubernatorial salary in America.
Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for chronological lists of historical officeholders. That information for the 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.
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 have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
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 Governor Deval Patrick
- Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
- Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray
- Massachusetts Attorney General
- Massachusetts Secretary of State
State of Massachusetts
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