Governor of Rhode Island

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Rhode Island

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The Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is an elected Constitutional officer, the head of the Executive branch, and the highest state office in Rhode Island. The Governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two consecutive terms.

Current officer

The 74th and current governor is Lincoln Chafee, an Independent elected in 2010.


The state Constitution addresses the office of the governor in Article IX, the Executive Department.

Under Article IX, Section I:

The chief executive power of this state shall be vested in a governor...


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

Under Article III, Of Qualification for Office, governors must be:

  • a qualified elector of Rhode island
  • not serving a sentence for, on probation for, or on parole for any felony
  • not bound by any other oath of Office, including holding any other state office or holding a federal office


Rhode Island elects governors in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not Presidential election years. For Rhode Island, 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the first Tuesday in the January following an election. Thus, January 4, 2011 and January 6, 2015 are inaugural days.

Term limits

According to Article IV, Section 1 of the state constitution, no person may hold the office of governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, or treasurer for more than 2 consecutive four-year terms.


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Article IX, Sections 9 and 10.

If the office of the Governor becomes vacant by reason of death, resignation, impeachment or inability to serve, the Lieutenant Governor will fill the office until a Governor is qualified to act or until the office is filled at the next election.

If the office of the Lieutenant Governor is also vacant, the Speaker of the House is the next in the line of succession.


Rhode Island

The Governor is responsible for maintaining that laws are executed according to state law and the state constitution (§ 2).

Additionally, the Governor is the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces (§ 3); has the responsibility to submit the state budget to General Assembly annually (§ 19), and may call for special sessions with the Assembly (§ 7).

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • Appointing, with the consent of the Senate, all offices not otherwise provided for (§ 5)
  • Adjourning the General Assembly when its members cannot agree to do so themselves (§ 6)
  • Signing and sealing all commissions made by the state of Rhode Island (§ 8)
  • Granting reprieves, after conviction, in all cases, except those of impeachment, until the end of the next session of the General Assembly (§ 4)
  • Granting pardons, after conviction, in all cases, except those of impeachment, until the end of the next session of the General Assembly (§ 13)
  • Vetoing bills, resolutions, and votes, subject to a two-thirds legislative override (§ 14)


See also: Comparison of gubernatorial salaries

The governor's salary is legally fixed and may not be raised or decreased effective during the current term.

As of 2010, the Governor of Rhode Island is paid $117,817 a year, the 21st highest gubernatorial salary in America.

Contact information

Office of the Governor
State House, Room 115
Providence, RI 02903

See also

External links