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. 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. 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.
The office is currently vacant, as Lt. Governor Tim Murray resigned in June 2013.
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.
As of August 2014[update], eight former lieutenant governors were alive, the oldest being Francis X. Bellotti (1963–1965, born 1923). The most recent death of a former lieutenant governor was that of Paul Cellucci (1991–1999), on June 8, 2013.