Governor of Rhode Island

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Rhode Island Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $5,515,431
Term limits:  Two consecutive terms
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Rhode Island Constitution, Article IX, Section I
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Lincoln Chafee.jpg
Name:  Lincoln Chafee
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  January 4, 2011
Compensation:  $129,210
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Last election:  November 2, 2010
Other Rhode Island Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
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.

As of May 2015, Rhode Island is one of 7 Democratic state government trifectas.

Current officer

The 74th and current governor is Lincoln Chafee, a Democrat first elected in 2010 as an Independent.[1] Chafee, who served seven years as a Republican member of the U.S. Senate before becoming an Independent in 2007, switched his party affiliation to Democrat in May 30, 2013.[2]


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

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

Rhode Island governors are restricted to two consecutive terms in office, after which they must wait one term before being eligible to run again.

Rhode Island Constitution, Article IV, Section 1

No person shall serve consecutively in the same general office for more than two (2) full terms, excluding any partial term of less than two (2) years previously served.

Partisan composition

The chart below shows the partisan breakdown of Rhode Island State Governors from 1992-2013.
Governor of Rhode Island Partisanship.PNG


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.


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)

State budget

The budget for the Governor's office in Fiscal Year 2013 was $5,515,431.[3]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers and Comparison of gubernatorial salaries

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

In 2012, the Rhode Island Governor was paid an estimated $129,210. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.

Historical officeholders

There have been 74 Governors of Rhode Island since 1775. Of the 74 officeholders, 32 were Democrats, 18 were Republican, 9 had no party, 7 were Whigs, 5 were F-R, 1 was Democratic-Republican, 1 was DFS, and 1 was AP.[4]


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Rhode Island’’
Partisan breakdown of the Rhode Island governorship from 1992-2013

From 1992-2013, in Rhode Island there were Democratic governors in office for three years while there were Republican governors in office for 16 years.

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.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island State Senate and the Rhode Island House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Rhode Island state government(1992-2013).PNG

Contact information

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

See also

External links

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