Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts

Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Karyn Polito
since January 8, 2015
Style His Honor/ Her Honor
Term length Four years
Inaugural holder Thomas Cushing
Formation October 25, 1780

The Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts is the first in the line to discharge the powers and duties of the office of governor following the incapacitation of the Governor of Massachusetts. The constitutional honorific title for the office is His, or Her, Honor.

The Massachusetts Constitution provides that when a 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 discharges powers and duties as Acting Governor and does not actually assume the office of governor.[1] 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 election and inauguration of his successor, James Bowdoin, leaving Lieutenant Governor Thomas Cushing as acting governor.[2] Most recently, Jane Swift became acting governor upon the resignation of Paul Cellucci.

The lieutenant governor serves in place of the governor when he is outside the borders of Massachusetts. Historically a one-year term, the office of lieutenant governor now carries a four-year term, the same as that of the governor. The lieutenant governor is not elected independently, but on a ticket with the governor. According to the Massachusetts Constitution, 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. However, only the residency requirement remains in effect.[1]

The office is currently held by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, who was inaugurated in January 2015.[3]

Constitutional role

Part the Second, Chapter II, Section II, Article I of the Massachusetts Constitution reads,[1]

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 or her election, and the qualifications of the electors, shall be the same as are required in the election of a governor.

The Lieutenant Governor also serves ex officio as a member of the Massachusetts Governor's Council.

Other functions

Massachusetts law provides for the lieutenant governor to serve as the chairman of the award selection committee for the Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery.[4]


The lieutenant governor is typically elected on a joint ticket with the governor, ensuring that they have the same political party affiliation. When the state constitution was first enacted in 1780, elections for the two offices were independent, and were held annually. Constitutional amendments enacted in 1918 extended the terms of both offices to two years, with elections in even-numbered years. In 1966 the constitution was amended again to extend the terms to four years, and to allow for the grouping of governor and lieutenant governor on the ballot by political party. Elections are held in even-numbered years that are not presidential election years.

List of lieutenant governors

Lieutenant governors who acted as governor during a portion of their terms (due to vacancy by death or resignation in the governor's seat) are marked by asterisks (*).


  Democratic   Democratic-Republican   Federalist   Know Nothing   Republican   Whig

# Lieutenant Governor Term in office Political party Governor(s)
1 Thomas Cushing* 1780–1788 Independent John Hancock (I)
James Bowdoin (I)
2   Benjamin Lincoln 1788–1789 Federalist John Hancock (I)
3   Samuel Adams 1789–1794 Democratic-Republican John Hancock (I)
4 Moses Gill* 1794–1800 Independent Samuel Adams (DR)
Increase Sumner (F)
Office vacant 1800–1801 Governor's Council
Caleb Strong (F)
5   Samuel Phillips Jr. 1801–1802 Federalist Caleb Strong (F)
6   Edward Robbins 1802–1806 Democratic-Republican Caleb Strong (F)
Office vacant 1806–1807 Caleb Strong (F)
7   Levi Lincoln Sr.* 1807–1809 Democratic-Republican James Sullivan (DR)
8   David Cobb 1809–1810 Federalist Christopher Gore (F)
9   William Gray 1810–1812 Democratic-Republican Caleb Strong (F)
10   William Phillips Jr. 1812–1823 Federalist Caleb Strong (F)
John Brooks (F)
11   Levi Lincoln Jr. 1823–1824 Democratic-Republican William Eustis (DR)
12   Marcus Morton* 1824–1825 Democratic-Republican William Eustis (DR)
13   Thomas L. Winthrop 1825–1833 Democratic-Republican Levi Lincoln Jr. (NR,W)
14   Samuel T. Armstrong* 1833–1835 Whig John Davis (W)
15   George Hull 1836–1843 Whig Edward Everett (W)
Marcus Morton (D)
John Davis (W)
16   Henry H. Childs 1843–1844 Democratic Marcus Morton (D)
17   John Reed Jr. 1844–1851 Whig George N. Briggs (W)
18   Henry W. Cushman 1851–1853 Democratic George S. Boutwell (D)
19   Elisha Huntington 1853–1854 Whig John H. Clifford (W)
20   William C. Plunkett 1854–1855 Whig Emory Washburn (W)
21   Simon Brown 1855–1856 Know Nothing Henry Gardner (KN)
22   Henry W. Benchley 1856–1858 Republican Henry Gardner (KN)
23   Eliphalet Trask 1858–1861 Republican Nathaniel Prentice Banks (R)
24   John Z. Goodrich 1861 Republican John Albion Andrew (R)
25   John Nesmith 1862 Republican John Albion Andrew (R)
26   Joel Hayden 1863–1866 Republican John Albion Andrew (R)
27   William Clafin 1866–1869 Republican Alexander H. Bullock (R)
27   Joseph Tucker 1869–1873 Republican William Claflin (R)
William B. Washburn (R)
28   Thomas Talbot* 1873–1875 Republican William B. Washburn (R)
29   Horatio G. Knight 1875–1879 Republican William Gaston (D)
Alexander H. Rice (R)
30   John D. Long 1879–1880 Republican Thomas Talbot (R)
31   Byron Weston 1880–1883 Republican John D. Long (R)
32   Oliver Ames 1883–1887 Republican Benjamin F. Butler (D,Greenback)
George D. Robinson (R)
33   John Q. A. Brackett 1887–1890 Republican Oliver Ames (R)
34   William H. Haile 1890–1893 Republican John Q. A. Brackett (R)
William Russell (D)
35   Roger Wolcott* 1893–1896 Republican William Russell (D)
Frederic T. Greenhalge (R)
36   Winthrop M. Crane 1897–1900 Republican Roger Wolcott (R)
37   John L. Bates 1900–1903 Republican Winthrop Murray Crane (R)
38   Curtis Guild Jr. 1903–1906 Republican John L. Bates (R)
William L. Douglas (D)
39   Eben S. Draper 1906–1909 Republican Curtis Guild Jr. (R)
40   Louis A. Frothingham 1909–1912 Republican Eben S. Draper (R)
Eugene Noble Foss (D)
41   Robert Luce 1912–1913 Republican Eugene Noble Foss (D)
42   David I. Walsh 1913–1914 Democratic Eugene Noble Foss (D)
43   Edward P. Barry 1914–1915 Democratic David I. Walsh (D)
44   Grafton D. Cushing 1915–1916 Republican David I. Walsh (D)
45   Calvin Coolidge 1916–1919 Republican Samuel W. McCall (R)
46   Channing H. Cox 1919–1921 Republican Calvin Coolidge (R)
46   Alvan T. Fuller 1921–1925 Republican Channing H. Cox (R)
47   Frank G. Allen 1925–1929 Republican Alvan T. Fuller (R)
48   William S. Youngman 1929–1933 Republican Frank G. Allen (R)
49   Gaspar G. Bacon 1933–1935 Republican Joseph B. Ely (D)
50   Joseph L. Hurley 1935–1937 Democratic James Michael Curley (D)
51   Francis E. Kelly 1937–1939 Democratic Charles F. Hurley (D)
52   Horace T. Cahill 1939–1945 Republican Leverett Saltonstall (R)
53   Robert F. Bradford 1945–1947 Republican Maurice J. Tobin (D)
54   Arthur W. Coolidge 1947–1949 Republican Robert F. Bradford (R)
55   Charles F. Sullivan 1949–1953 Democratic Paul A. Dever (D)
56   Sumner G. Whittier 1953–1957 Republican Christian Herter (R)
57   Robert F. Murphy 1957–1960[5] Democratic Foster Furcolo (D)
Office vacant 1960–1961 Foster Furcolo (D)
58   Edward F. McLaughlin Jr. 1961–1963 Democratic John A. Volpe (R)
59   Francis X. Bellotti 1963–1965 Democratic Endicott Peabody (D)
60   Elliot Richardson 1965–1967 Republican John A. Volpe (R)
61   Francis W. Sargent* 1967–1971 Republican John A. Volpe (R)
62   Donald R. Dwight 1971–1975 Republican Francis W. Sargent (R)
63   Thomas P. O'Neill III 1975–1983 Democratic Michael Dukakis (D)
Edward J. King (D)
63   John Kerry 1983–1985 Democratic Michael Dukakis (D)
Office vacant 1985–1987 Michael Dukakis (D)
64   Evelyn Murphy 1987–1991 Democratic Michael Dukakis (D)
65   Paul Cellucci* 1991–1999 Republican William Weld (R)
66   Jane M. Swift* 1999–2003 Republican Paul Cellucci (R)
67   Kerry Healey 2003–2007 Republican Mitt Romney (R)
68   Tim Murray 2007–2013 Democratic Deval Patrick (D)
Office vacant 2013–2015 Deval Patrick (D)
69   Karyn Polito 2015– Republican Charlie Baker (R)

Living former lieutenant governors

As of January 2015, there are eight former U.S. lieutenant governors of Massachusetts who are currently living at this time, the oldest U.S. lieutenant governor of Massachusetts being Francis X. Bellotti (served 1963–1965, born 1923). The most recent death of a former U.S. lieutenant governor of Massachusetts was that of Paul Cellucci (served 1991–1999, born 1948), on June 8, 2013.

Lt. GovernorLt. Gubernatorial termDate of birth (and age)
Francis X. Bellotti 1963–1965 May 3, 1923
Donald R. Dwight 1971–1975 March 26, 1931
Thomas P. O'Neill III 1975–1983 September 20, 1944
John Kerry 1983–1985 December 11, 1943
Evelyn Murphy 1987–1991 May 14, 1940
Jane M. Swift 1999–2003 February 24, 1965
Kerry Healey 2003–2007 April 30, 1960
Tim Murray 2007–2013 June 7, 1968

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts". Massachusetts General Court. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  2. Hall, Van Beck (1972). Politics Without Parties: Massachusetts 1780–1791. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 136–138. ISBN 978-0-8229-3234-5. OCLC 315459.
  3. Rubino, Rich. "The Unusual and Peculiar Office of Lieutenant Governor"., Inc. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  4. "General Laws: Chapter 6, Section 214". Massachusetts General Court. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  5. Lewis, William (October 7, 1960). "Furcolo Surrenders; Murphy Heads MDC". The Boston Globe.
Wikisource has original text related to this article:

External links


This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/15/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.