Governor of Massachusetts: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Massachusetts governors flag.png
Flag of the Governor
Deval Patrick

since January 4, 2007
Style His Excellency
Term length Four years
Inaugural holder John Hancock
Formation October 25, 1780
Website Office of the Governor

The Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the executive magistrate of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, United States. The current governor is Democrat Deval Patrick.


Constitutional role

Part the Second, Chapter II, Section I, Article I of the Massachusetts Constitution reads,

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.

The Governor of Massachusetts is the chief executive of the Commonwealth, and is supported by a number of subordinate officers. He, like most other state officers, senators, and representatives, 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. The Governor of Massachusetts does not receive a palace, other official residence, or housing allowance. Instead, he resides in his own private residence. The title "His Excellency" is a throwback to the royally-appointed governors of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. The first governor to use the title was Richard Coote in 1699; since he was an Earl, it was thought proper to call him "Your Excellency." The title was retained until 1742, when an order from the King forbade its further use. However, the framers of the Constitution revived it because they found it fitting to dignify the governor with this title.[1]

The governor also serves as Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth's armed forces. The power of this position has declined as the states of the United States have become less individual nations and more subnational units.

Lieutenant Governor

John Hancock was the first Governor of the Commonwealth.

Part the Second, Chapter II, Section II, Article I of the Massachusetts Constitution reads,

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.

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. Noted in the article above are 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.


According to the state constitution, 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 Governor John Hancock resigned his post five months before the inauguration of his successor, Governor 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, when acting as governor, is referred to as "the Lieutenant-Governor, acting governor" in official documents. An example of this is found in Chapter 45 of the Acts of 2001, where a veto by Swift was overridden by the General Court:

House of Representatives, July 2, 2001.

This Bill having been returned by the Lieutenant-Governor, Acting Governor with her objections thereto in writing (see House 4281) has been passed by the House of Representatives, notwithstanding said objections, two-thirds of the House (137 yeas to 15 nays) having agreed to pass the same.

Sent to the Senate for its action. Salvatore F. DiMasi, Acting Speaker. Steven T. James, Clerk. Senate, July 12, 2001.

Passed by the Senate, notwithstanding the objections of the Lieutenant-Governor, Acting Governor, two-thirds of the members present (37 yeas to 1 nay) having approved the same.

Linda J. Melconian, Acting President. Patrick F. Scanlan, Clerk.

Approved November 1, 2001.

The Massachusetts constitution has used the term “acting governor” since before the Revolution. All modern constitutions[citation needed] have rejected such language. The Massachusetts courts have found, without rejecting the term, that the full authority of the office of the governor devolves to the lieutenant governor upon vacancy in the office of governor, i.e., there is no circumstance short of death, resignation, or impeachment that would relieve the ‘acting governor’ from the full responsibilities of being the governor.


Old line of succession to the council

Whenever both the governor and his lieutenant left their offices vacant, the Governor's Council was charged with acting as governor. Governor Increase Sumner died in office on June 7, 1799, leaving lieutenant governor Moses Gill as acting governor. Acting Governor Gill never received a lieutenant, and died himself on May 20, 1800.

For the ten days between Acting Governor Gill's death and Gov. Caleb Strong's inauguration, the Governor's Council became the executive arm of the government. The council's chair, Thomas Dawes, was the closest person to governor during this time, but was at no point named governor or acting governor.

New and current line of succession

Article LV of the Constitution created a new line of succession that did not entrust the governorship to an eight-member council.

The new and current line of succession is as follows:


When the Governor dies, resigns, or is removed from office, the office of Governor remains vacant for the rest of the 4 year term. The Lieutenant Governor does not succeed but only discharges powers and duties as Acting Governor. However, if a vacancy in the office of governor continues for six months, and the six months expire more than five months before the next regular biennial state election midway through the governor's term, a special election is held at that time to fill the vacancy for the balance of the unexpired four-year term.[2]

The front doors of the state house are only opened when a governor leaves office or a head of state comes to visit the State House, or for the return of flags from Massachusetts regiments at the end of wars. The tradition of the ceremonial door originated when departing governor Benjamin Butler kicked open the front door and walked out by himself in 1884.

Incoming governors usually choose at least one past governor's portrait to hang in their office.

Immediately before being sworn into office, the governor-elect receives four symbols from the departing governor: the ceremonial pewter "Key" for the Governor's office door, the Butler Bible, the "Gavel", and a two-volume set of the Massachusetts General Statutes with a personal note from the departing governor to his/her successor added to the back of the text. The governor-elect is then escorted by the Sergeant-at-Arms to the House Chamber and sworn in by the Senate President before a joint session of the House and Senate.[3] In January 2007, Governor Mitt Romney and Governor-elect Deval Patrick conducted the transfer ceremony the day before Patrick's inauguration.

The departing governor then leaves on the "Lone Walk" (also called the "Long" or "Lonesome" Walk). Historical accounts indicate that Increase Sumner was the first governor to begin this tradition in 1799. The departing governor, after leaving office, walks alone down the Grand Staircase, through the House of Flags, into Doric Hall, out the central doors and down the steps of the State House.[3] Some walks have been modified. Some past governors have had their wives, some friends, or staff accompany them walking slightly behind. Other governors have had staff and friends line the walking route, offering congratulatory gestures as the honoree passes. A few times the outgoing governor would meet the incoming governor outside on the State House steps. The outgoing governor would descend as the incoming governor ascended. A 19-gun salute[citation needed] would be offered as the two governors met. Frequently the steps are lined by the outgoing governor's friends and supporters. In January 1991, outgoing Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Murphy, the first woman elected to statewide office in Massachusetts, walked down the stairs before Governor Michael Dukakis. In January 2007, the inauguration of incoming Governor Deval Patrick was conducted outdoors in front of the State House. Because of this, outgoing Governor Mitt Romney took the long walk down the front steps the day before.

Governor's Residence

Despite several proposals for establishing an official residence for the Governor of Massachusetts, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not have a Governor's Mansion.

In 1955, Governor Foster Furcolo turned down a proposal to establish the Shirley-Eustis House in Roxbury as the official residence.[4] The house had been built by colonial governor William Shirley.

At one time, Governor John A. Volpe accepted the donation of the Endicott Estate in Dedham from the heirs of Henry Bradford Endicott. He intended to renovate the 19th century mansion into a splendid governor's residence.[5] After Volpe resigned to become Secretary of Transportation in the Nixon Administration, the plan was aborted by his successor in consideration of budgetary constraints and because the location was considered too far from the seat of power, the State House in Boston.

Other proposals have included the Province House and the Hancock Manor.[5]

Since the governor has no official residence, the expression "corner office," rather than "governor's mansion," is commonly used in the press as a figure of speech for the office of governor.

See also


External links

Simple English

Just like the other 49 American states, Massachusetts has its own governor. The current governor is a man named Deval Patrick. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The first governor of Massachusetts was a man named John Hancock.

= Commonwealth of Massachusetts: 1780–present

= This is a complete list of governors of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Acting governors, denoted as "A" instead of numbered, are included when the Governor resigned or died. Acting governors show a vacancy in the lieutenant governorship. They remain as Lieutenant Governors and merely act as governor. Lieutenant governors in Massachusetts do not ascend to the governorship upon death or resignation of their predecessor.

Governor Took office Left office Party Lieutenant Governor(s)
1 John Hancock 1780 1785 None Thomas Cushing
A Thomas Cushing
(Acting Governor)
1785 1785 None (vacant)
2 James Bowdoin 1785 1787 None Thomas Cushing
3 John Hancock May 30, 1787 October 8, 1793 None Thomas Cushing
(1787 - 1788)
Benjamin Lincoln
(1788 - 1789)
Samuel Adams
(1789 - 1793)
4 Samuel Adams
(Acting, 1793 - 1794)
October 8, 1793 June 2, 1797 None Moses Gill
(1794 - 1799)
5 Increase Sumner June 2, 1797 June 7, 1799 Federalist
A Moses Gill
(Acting Governor)
June 7, 1799 May 20, 1800 None (vacant)
A Governor's Council
(Acting Governor)
May 20, 1800 May 30, 1800 None
6 Caleb Strong May 30, 1800 May 29, 1807 Federalist Samuel Phillips, Jr.
(1801 - 1802)
Edward H. Robbins
(1802 - 1806)
7 James Sullivan May 29, 1807 December 10, 1808 Democratic-Republican Levi Lincoln, Sr.
A Levi Lincoln, Sr.
(Acting Governor)
December 10, 1808 May 1, 1809 Democratic-Republican (vacant)
8 Christopher Gore May 1, 1809 June 10, 1810 Federalist David Cobb
9 Elbridge Gerry June 10, 1810 March 4, 1812 Democratic-Republican William Gray
10 Caleb Strong June 1812 May 30, 1816 Federalist William Phillips, Jr.
11 John Brooks May 30, 1816 May 31, 1823 Federalist
12 William Eustis May 31, 1823 February 6, 1825 Democratic-Republican Levi Lincoln, Jr.
(1823 - 1824)
Marcus Morton
(1824 - 1825)
A Marcus Morton
(Acting Governor)
February 6, 1825 May 26, 1825 Democratic-Republican (vacant)
13 Levi Lincoln, Jr. May 26, 1825 January 9, 1834 Democratic-Republican Thomas L. Winthrop
(1826 - 1833)
Samuel Turell Armstrong
(1833 - 1834)
14 John Davis January 9, 1834 March 1, 1835 Whig Samuel Turell Armstrong
A Samuel Turell Armstrong
(Acting Governor)
March 1, 1835 January 13, 1836 Whig (vacant)
15 Edward Everett January 13, 1836 January 18, 1840 Whig George Hull
16 Marcus Morton January 18, 1840 January 7, 1841 Democratic
17 John Davis January 7, 1841 January 17, 1843 Whig
18 Marcus Morton January 17, 1843 January 1844 Democratic Henry H. Childs
19 George N. Briggs January 1844 January 11, 1851 Whig John Reed, Jr.
20 George S. Boutwell January 11, 1851 January 14, 1853 Democratic Henry W. Cushman
21 John H. Clifford January 14, 1853 January 12, 1854 Whig Elisha Huntington
22 Emory Washburn January 12, 1854 January 4, 1855 Whig William C. Plunkett
23 Henry J. Gardner January 4, 1855 January 7, 1858 Know-Nothing Simon Brown
(1855 - 1856)
Henry W. Benchley
(1856 - 1858)
24 Nathaniel Prentice Banks January 7, 1858 January 3, 1861 Republican Eliphalet Trask
25 John Albion Andrew January 3, 1861 January 4, 1866 Republican John Z. Goodrich
John Nesmith
Joel Hayden
(1863 - 1866)
26 Alexander H. Bullock January 4, 1866 January 7, 1869 Republican William Claflin
27 William Claflin January 7, 1869 January 4, 1872 Republican Joseph Tucker
28 William B. Washburn January 4, 1872 April 29, 1874 Republican Joseph Tucker
(1872 - 1873)
Thomas Talbot
(1873 - 1874)
A Thomas Talbot
(Acting Governor)
April 29, 1874 January 7, 1875 Republican (vacant)
29 William Gaston January 7, 1875 January 6, 1876 Democratic Horatio G. Knight
30 Alexander H. Rice January 6, 1876 January 2, 1879 Republican
31 Thomas Talbot January 2, 1879 January 8, 1880 Republican John Davis Long
32 John Davis Long January 8, 1880 January 4, 1883 Republican Byron Weston
33 Benjamin Franklin Butler January 4, 1883 January 3, 1884 Democratic Oliver Ames
34 George D. Robinson January 3, 1884 January 6, 1887 Republican
35 Oliver Ames January 6, 1887 January 7, 1890 Republican John Q. A. Brackett
36 John Q. A. Brackett January 7, 1890 January 8, 1891 Republican William H. Haile
37 William E. Russell January 8, 1891 January 4, 1894 Democratic William H. Haile
(1891 - 1893)
Roger Wolcott
(1893 - 1894)
38 Frederic T. Greenhalge January 4, 1894 March 5, 1896 Republican Roger Wolcott
39 Roger Wolcott
(Acting, 1896 - 1897)
March 5, 1896 January 4, 1900 Republican (vacant)
(1896 - 1897)
Winthrop M. Crane
(1987 - 1900)
40 Winthrop M. Crane January 4, 1900 January 8, 1903 Republican John L. Bates
41 John L. Bates January 8, 1903 January 5, 1905 Republican Curtis Guild, Jr.
42 William Lewis Douglas January 5, 1905 January 4, 1906 Democratic
43 Curtis Guild, Jr. January 4, 1906 January 7, 1909 Republican Ebenezer Sumner Draper
44 Ebenezer Sumner Draper January 7, 1909 January 5, 1911 Republican Louis A. Frothingham
45 Eugene Foss January 5, 1911 January 8, 1914 Democratic Louis A. Frothingham
(1911 - 1912)
Robert Luce
(1912 - 1913)
David I. Walsh
(1913 - 1914)
46 David I. Walsh January 8, 1914 January 6, 1916 Democratic Edward P. Barry
(1914 - 1915)
Grafton D. Cushing
(1915 - 1916)
47 Samuel W. McCall January 6, 1916 January 2, 1919 Republican Calvin Coolidge
48 Calvin Coolidge January 2, 1919 January 6, 1921 Republican Channing H. Cox
49 Channing H. Cox January 6, 1921 January 8, 1925 Republican Alvan T. Fuller
50 Alvan T. Fuller January 8, 1925 January 3, 1929 Republican Frank G. Allen
51 Frank G. Allen January 3, 1929 January 8, 1931 Republican William S. Youngman
52 Joseph B. Ely January 8, 1931 January 3, 1935 Democratic William S. Youngman
(1931 - 1933)
Gaspar G. Bacon
(1933 - 1935)
53 James Michael Curley January 3, 1935 January 7, 1937 Democratic Joseph L. Hurley
54 Charles F. Hurley January 7, 1937 January 5, 1939 Democratic Francis E. Kelly
55 Leverett Saltonstall January 5, 1939 January 3, 1945 Republican Horace T. Cahill
56 Maurice J. Tobin January 3, 1945 January 2, 1947 Democratic Robert F. Bradford
57 Robert F. Bradford January 2, 1947 January 6, 1949 Republican Arthur W. Coolidge
58 Paul A. Dever January 6, 1949 January 8, 1953 Democratic Charles F. Sullivan
59 Christian Herter January 8, 1953 January 3, 1957 Republican Sumner G. Whittier
60 Foster Furcolo January 3, 1957 January 5, 1961 Democratic Robert F. Murphy
(1957 - 1960)
61 John A. Volpe January 5, 1961 January 3, 1963 Republican Edward F. McLaughlin, Jr.
62 Endicott Peabody January 3, 1963 January 7, 1965 Democratic Francis X. Belotti
63 John A. Volpe January 7, 1965 January 22, 1969 Republican Elliot Richardson
(1965 - 1967)
Francis W. Sargent
(1967 - 1969)
64 Francis W. Sargent
(Acting, 1969-1971)
January 22, 1969 January 2, 1975 Republican Donald R. Dwight
65 Michael Dukakis January 2, 1975 January 4, 1979 Democratic Thomas P. O'Neill III
66 Edward J. King January 4, 1979 January 6, 1983 Democratic
67 Michael Dukakis January 6, 1983 January 3, 1991 Democratic John Kerry
(1983 - 1985)
(1985 - 1987)
Evelyn Murphy
(1987 - 1991)
68 William F. Weld January 3, 1991 July 29, 1997 Republican A. Paul Cellucci
69 A. Paul Cellucci
(Acting, 1997-1999)
July 29, 1997 April 10, 2001 Republican (vacant)
(1997 - 1999)
Jane Swift
(1999 - 2001)
A Jane Swift
(Acting Governor)
April 10, 2001 January 2, 2003 Republican (vacant)
70 W. Mitt Romney January 2, 2003 January 4, 2007 Republican Kerry Healey
71 Deval Patrick January 4, 2007 incumbent Democratic Timothy P. Murray


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