In the United States, 45 of the 50 states have an office of lieutenant governor. In two of the 45 states, the speaker of the upper house of the state legislature serves in such a capacity. In most cases, the lieutenant governor is the highest officer of state after the governor, standing in for that officer when they are absent from the state or temporarily incapacitated. In the event a governor dies, resigns or is removed from office, the lieutenant governor typically becomes governor.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.
A lieutenant governor, lieutenant-governor, or vice governor is a high officer of state, whose precise role and rank vary by jurisdiction.
In 25 states, the governor and lieutenant governor are elected on the same ticket, ensuring that they come from the same political party. In the remaining 18 states, they are elected separately and, thus, may come from different parties. The lieutenant governor is also frequently the presiding officer of the upper house of the state legislature, similar to the vice president of the United States. Among the seven states without a separate, full-time office of lieutenant governor, two states have a post of lieutenant governor that is filled by the highest officer of the state Senate. In Tennessee, the full title of the leader of the Senate is "lieutenant governor and speaker of the Senate". In West Virginia, the title of lieutenant governor is assigned by statute to the Senate president. With the exception of Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia, every state has had a female lieutenant governor or equivalent – although Mona Pasquil only briefly acted as lieutenant governor of California between Abel Maldonado and John Garamendi.
The Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate of Tennessee is the presiding officer of the Tennessee Senate and first in line in the succession to the office of Governor of Tennessee in the event of the death, resignation, or removal from office through impeachment and conviction of the Governor of the State of Tennessee.
In Maine, the presiding officer of the State Senate assumes the governor's office upon a vacancy, while in New Hampshire, the presiding officer of the State Senate assumes only the governor's powers and duties (becomes acting governor) upon a vacancy. In the remaining three states – Arizona, Oregon, and Wyoming – the Secretary of State becomes governor upon the office's vacancy.
The U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands have the office of lieutenant governor. In Puerto Rico, the appointed Secretary of State becomes governor upon the office's vacancy while the Chief of Staff is typically the highest office after the governor.
American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Samoa. Its location is centered around 14.2710° S, 170.1322° W. It is on the eastern border of the International Date Line, while independent Samoa is west of it.
Guam is an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States in Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. It is the westernmost point and territory of the United States, along with the Northern Mariana Islands. The capital city of Guam is Hagåtña and the most populous city is Dededo. The inhabitants of Guam are called Guamanians, and they are American citizens by birth. Indigenous Guamanians are the Chamorros, who are related to other Austronesian natives of Eastern Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan. Guam has been a member of the Pacific Community since 1983.
The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, is an insular area and commonwealth of the United States consisting of 14 islands in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. The CNMI includes the 14 northernmost islands in the Mariana Archipelago except the southernmost island of the chain, Guam, which is a separate U.S. territory. The CNMI and Guam are the westernmost point and territory of the United States.
Lieutenant governors are the only officials with specific duties and powers in two branches of state government: the executive and legislative branches. More than half of the NLGA members preside over their state senate. Most pursue legislative initiatives; many testify locally and in Washington D.C. in various capacities; some serve on the governors’ cabinets; and others maintain varied portfolios of duties. In many states, the duties of lieutenant governor are increased by legislation to include the lieutenant governor on state boards, commissions and task forces. "
Since Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah do not have a Secretary of State, the lieutenant governor performs the duties generally granted to that office. In New Jersey, the governor must appoint the lieutenant governor to head a cabinet-level department or administrative agency within the state government's executive branch—but not to the post of state attorney general,Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno also served as Secretary of State from 2010 to 2018. The lieutenant governor of Texas plays an active role as presiding officer of the State Senate and is often rumored to be more powerful than the state governor. The lieutenant governor of Virginia also serves as the president of the Senate, as do about half the lieutenant governors.
Alaska is a U.S. state in the northwest extremity of the United States West Coast, just across the Bering Strait from Asia. The Canadian province of British Columbia and territory of Yukon border the state to the east and southeast. Its most extreme western part is Attu Island, and it has a maritime border with Russia to the west across the Bering Strait. To the north are the Chukchi and Beaufort seas—southern parts of the Arctic Ocean. The Pacific Ocean lies to the south and southwest. It is the largest U.S. state by area and the seventh largest subnational division in the world. In addition, it is the 3rd least populous and the most sparsely populated of the 50 United States; nevertheless, it is by far the most populous territory located mostly north of the 60th parallel in North America: its population—estimated at 738,432 by the United States Census Bureau in 2015— is more than quadruple the combined populations of Northern Canada and Greenland. Approximately half of Alaska's residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska's economy is dominated by the fishing, natural gas, and oil industries, resources which it has in abundance. Military bases and tourism are also a significant part of the economy.
Hawaii is the 50th and most recent state to have joined the United States, having received statehood on August 21, 1959. Hawaii is the only U.S. state located in Oceania, the only U.S. state located outside North America, and the only one composed entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.
Utah is a state in the western United States. It became the 45th state admitted to the U.S. on January 4, 1896. Utah is the 13th-largest by area, 30th-most-populous, and 11th-least-densely populated of the 50 United States. Utah has a population of more than 3 million according to the Census estimate for July 1, 2016. Urban development is mostly concentrated in two areas: the Wasatch Front in the north-central part of the state, which contains approximately 2.5 million people; and Washington County in Southern Utah, with over 160,000 residents. Utah is bordered by Colorado to the east, Wyoming to the northeast, Idaho to the north, Arizona to the south, and Nevada to the west. It also touches a corner of New Mexico in the southeast.
The positions are sometimes criticized for lacking duties and power and described by political insiders as "get up, read the paper, see if the governor is dead, if not, go back to sleep".In the 2010 election for the lieutenant governor of Rhode Island, 40% of the vote was won by a perennial candidate who wanted to abolish the office, saying "If you open up the dictionary to ‘sinecure,’ you have a picture of the lieutenant governor of Rhode Island".
Robert J. Healey Jr. was an American attorney, businessman, and political activist. He was the founder of Rhode Island's Cool Moose Party, the state's third-largest political party from 1994 until 2002, and was a perennial candidate for statewide office. Healey ran for governor or lieutenant governor a total of seven times. Running as an independent candidate in 2010, he won 39% of the vote for lieutenant governor, running on a platform of abolishing the office. As the Moderate Party nominee for governor in 2014, Healey won 22% of the vote while spending less than $40 on the campaign.
A sinecure is an office – carrying a salary or otherwise generating income – that requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service. The term originated in the medieval church, where it signified a post without any responsibility for the "cure [care] of souls", the regular liturgical and pastoral functions of a cleric, but came to be applied to any post, secular or ecclesiastical, that involved little or no actual work. Sinecures have historically provided a potent tool for governments or monarchs to distribute patronage, while recipients are able to store up titles and easy salaries.
In November 2005, New Jersey voters approved a constitutional amendment to create the office of lieutenant governor, which became effective with the 2009 general election. The state's first lieutenant governor took office in January 2010.
The position was created in response to the unusual circumstances surrounding the aftermath of the 2001 gubernatorial election. At the time Senate President Donald DiFrancesco was acting as governor following the resignation of Christine Todd Whitman earlier that year. DiFrancesco's term as Senate president expired one week before the governor-elect assumed office in January 2002, necessitating a special arrangement in which the party leaders of the incoming Senate took turns serving as acting governor (each serving a few days) until Jim McGreevey was sworn in. All told, five people had served as governor or acting governor in the space of one year.
In Arizona, the secretary of state is the first in line to succeed the governor in the event of death, disability, resignation, or removal from office. The line of succession also includes the attorney general, state treasurer and superintendent of public instruction.
In Maine, if the governor cannot serve, the immediate successor is the Senate president.
Whenever the governor dies, resigns, is removed from office or unable to perform the duties of office, the Senate president serves as "acting governor".
The gubernatorial line of succession is set forth in the state constitution, at Article V, Section 8a. It defines who may become or act as the governor of Oregon upon the incapacity, death, resignation, or removal from office (by impeachment and subsequent removal or recall) of a sitting governor. The current chain of succession is: secretary of State, State treasurer, president of the State Senate, speaker of the House of Representatives. When a governor leaves office, the next available elected individual in the succession becomes governor until the next general biennial election, when a governor will be elected to either serve out the last two years of a regular term or a new four-year term.See: line of succession. In 2007, legislation was proposed to establish an office of lieutenant governor.
In Wyoming, the secretary of state stands first in the line of succession.
The highest-ranking officer after the governor of Puerto Rico is the Chief of Staff who is appointed by the governor himself rather than elected. In terms of line of succession, the secretary of State of Puerto Rico acts as acting governor when the governor is temporarily disabled or unable to discharge his duties. If there is a permanent vacancy in the governorship, the Constitution of Puerto Rico establishes that the secretary becomes governor for the remainder of the term. The Secretary of State also serves as acting governor whenever the governor is temporarily not present in Puerto Rico, with territorial law also establishing a line of succession for when both the governor and the secretary are unable to perform their duties.
The Governor of New York is the head of government of the U.S. state of New York. The governor is the head of the executive branch of New York's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military and naval forces.
The President of the Senate is often given to the presiding officer of a senate, and is the speaker of other assemblies.
The governor of the State of Oklahoma is the head of state for the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Under the Oklahoma Constitution, the governor is also the head of government, serving as the chief executive of the Oklahoma executive branch, of the government of Oklahoma. The governor is the ex officio Commander-in-Chief of the Oklahoma National Guard when not called into federal use. Despite being an executive branch official, the governor also holds legislative and judicial powers. The governor's responsibilities include making yearly "State of the State" addresses to the Oklahoma Legislature, submitting the annual state budget, ensuring that state laws are enforced, and that the peace is preserved. The governor's term is four years in length.
The Governor of Oregon is the head of the executive branch of Oregon's state government and serves as the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The title of governor was also applied to the office of Oregon's chief executive during the provisional and U.S. territorial governments.
The Governor of Puerto Rico is the head of government of Puerto Rico and, by its nature, constitutes the executive branch of the government of the island. He is also the commander-in-chief of the island's military forces, the Puerto Rico National Guard.
An acting governor is a constitutional position created in some U.S. states when the governor dies in office or resigns. In some states, the governor may also be declared to be incapacitated and unable to function for various reasons including, illness and absence from the state for more than a specified period.
Secretary of state is an official in the state governments of 47 of the 50 states of the United States, as well as Puerto Rico and other U.S. possessions. In Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, this official is called the secretary of the commonwealth. In states that have one, the secretary of state is the chief clerk of the state, and is often the primary custodian of important state records. In the states of Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah, there is no secretary of state; in those states many duties that a secretary of state might normally execute fall within the domain of the lieutenant governor. Like the lieutenant governor, in most states the secretary of state is in the line of succession to succeed the governor, in most cases immediately behind the lieutenant governor. In three states with no lieutenant governor as well as the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, the secretary of state is first in the line of succession in the event of a gubernatorial vacancy.
The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is an elected constitutional officer in the executive branch of the state government of New Jersey in the United States. The lieutenant governor is the second highest-ranking official in the state government and is elected concurrently on a ticket with the governor for a four-year term. Because the position itself does not carry any powers or duties other than to be next in the order of succession, the state constitution requires that the lieutenant governor be appointed to serve as the head of a cabinet-level department or administrative agency within the governor's administration.
The Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma is the second-highest executive official of the state government of Oklahoma. As first in the gubernatorial line of succession, the lieutenant governor becomes the new governor of Oklahoma upon the death, resignation, or removal of the governor. The lieutenant governor also serves as the president of the Oklahoma Senate, and may cast a vote to break ties in that chamber.
The government of the U.S. State of Oklahoma, established by the Oklahoma Constitution, is a republican democracy modeled after the federal government of the United States. The state government has three branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial. Through a system of separation of powers or "checks and balances," each of these branches has some authority to act on its own, some authority to regulate the other two branches, and has some of its own authority, in turn, regulated by the other branches.
The Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin is the first person in the order of succession of Wisconsin's executive branch, thus serving as governor in the event of the death, resignation, removal, impeachment, absence from the state, or incapacity due to illness of the Governor of Wisconsin. The position was first filled by John Edwin Holmes on June 7, 1848, the year that Wisconsin became a state.
The President pro tempore of the Oklahoma Senate is the second-highest-ranking official of the Oklahoma Senate and the highest-ranking state senator. The Oklahoma Constitution designates the Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma as the highest-ranking official, serving ex officio as President of the Senate, even though he or she only votes in the case of a tie. During the lieutenant governor's absence, the president pro tempore presides over sessions. The lieutenant governor presides over sessions devoted to ceremonial purposes, while the bulk of the management and political power is reserved for the president pro tempore.
The Louisiana State Senate is the upper house of the state legislature of Louisiana. All senators serve four-year terms and are assigned multiple committees to work on. The current Senate President John Alario from Westwego.
The President of the West Virginia Senate is a member of the West Virginia Senate who has been elected to be its president by the other senators. The current Senate President is Mitch Carmichael, who has been in office since January 2017.
The Lieutenant Governor of Indiana is a constitutional office in the US State of Indiana. Republican Suzanne Crouch, who assumed office 9 January 2017, is the incumbent. The office holder's constitutional roles are to serve as President of the Indiana Senate, become acting governor during the incapacity of the governor, and become governor should the incumbent governor resign, die in office, or be impeached and removed from office. Lieutenant governors have succeeded ten governors following their deaths or resignations. The lieutenant governor holds statutory positions, serving as the head of the state agricultural and rural affairs bureaus, and as the chairman of several state committees. The annual salary of the lieutenant governor is $88,000.
The government of Virginia combines the three branches of authority in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The current Governor of Virginia is Ralph Northam. The State Capitol building in Richmond was designed by Thomas Jefferson, and the cornerstone was laid by Governor Patrick Henry in 1785. Virginia currently functions under the 1971 Constitution of Virginia. It is the Commonwealth's seventh constitution. Under the Constitution, the government is composed of three branches, the legislative, the executive and the judicial.
The government of the U.S. state of Kansas, established by the Kansas Constitution, is a republican democracy modeled after the Federal Government of the United States. The state government has three branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. Through a system of separation of powers, or "checks and balances," each of these branches has some authority to act on its own, and also some authority to regulate the other two branches, so that all three branches can limit and balance the others' authority.
The Secretary of State of Puerto Rico leads all efforts that promote the cultural, political, and economical relations between Puerto Rico and foreign countries, and other jurisdictions of the United States. The post was created by Article IV of the Constitution of Puerto Rico which merely establishes that the secretary serves as acting governor when the governor is unable to perform his duties—a post similar to that of a lieutenant governor in U.S. politics. In recent times, however, the post has evolved into one similar to that of a foreign minister. Today, the secretary is the officer in charge of Puerto Rico's foreign relations, albeit under the consent of Congress or the U.S. Department of State due to Puerto Rico's political status.
The President of the Louisiana State Senate is the highest-ranking member of the Louisiana State Senate. As presiding officer, he or she convenes session and calls members to order, but can designate another state senator to preside in his or her place.