Governor of Louisiana

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Governor of Louisiana
Gouverneur de la Louisiane
Gobernador de Luisiana
Jeff Landry
since January 8, 2024
Government of Louisiana
StyleThe Honorable
ResidenceLouisiana Governor's Mansion
Term lengthFour years, renewable once consecutively
PrecursorGovernor of Orleans Territory
Inaugural holderWilliam C. C. Claiborne
FormationApril 30, 1812
(212 years ago)
DeputyLieutenant Governor of Louisiana
SalaryUS$130,000 per year
WebsiteOfficial Website

The governor of Louisiana (French: Gouverneur de la Louisiane; Spanish: Gobernador de Luisiana) is the chief executive of the U.S. state government of Louisiana. The governor also serves as the commander in chief of the Louisiana National Guard.

Republican Jeff Landry has held the office since January 8, 2024.


Louisiana ratified its first constitution in 1812. The document provided for a governor who would serve a four-year term and was responsible for appointing all non-elected state officials,[1] making the holder of the office one of the most powerful such executives in the United States at the time.[2] Candidates for the office were limited to white men of at least 35 years of age who held at least $5,000 worth in landed property.[1][3] Popular gubernatorial elections were held, but the Louisiana State Legislature was given the responsibility of deciding the winner from among the two top-performing candidates. Governors were forbidden from holding consecutive terms.[1] William C. C. Claiborne served as the state's first governor.[3]

The 1845 constitution eliminated minimum property requirements for gubernatorial candidates[4] and ensured the governor would be chosen directly by popular vote.[5] In 1879, governors were authorized to hold successive terms, but this was eliminated in the 1898 constitution.[6] After the 1930s and 1940s, governors increasingly had to manage their image over mass media while their staffs grew in size. In the 1960s, governors assumed responsibility over executing federally-funded programs.[7] In 1966, the state constitution was amended to permit governors to seek consecutive terms in office.[6] The 1974 constitution imposed term limits on the governor[4] and weakened the qualifications for candidates seeking the office.[6]


Only qualified voters in Louisiana are eligible to be elected governor. Any candidates for the office must be at least 25 years of age and have resided in the state for the five previous years.[8] Gubernatorial elections in Louisiana occur concurrently with the elections of other statewide officials in the year prior to the United States' next presidential election. The governor serves a four-year term and may serve no more than two terms consecutively. There are no limits on nonconsecutive terms.[9] Winning candidates traditionally take office in public inaugural ceremonies accompanied by a speech and followed by a ball.[10][11]

Powers and duties[edit]

Executive authority and responsibilities[edit]

The governor is the chief executive of state government in Louisiana, though they share executive authority with other elected officials.[12] They are empowered to request agency heads in state government to report to them on subjects relating to the operation of governmental departments.[13] They are ex officio commander in chief of Louisiana's armed forces—except when the guard is pressed into federal service—and are authorized to call it into service "to preserve law and order, to suppress insurrection, to repel invasion, or in other times of emergency."[14] They are empowered to grant pardons, reprieves, and commutations to convicted criminals.[15]

Legislative authority and responsibilities[edit]

The governor is constitutionally required to report the legislature on "the affairs of state, including its complete financial condition" at the beginnings of their regular sessions.[16] The constitution also obligates the governor to submit an annual operating budget proposal to the legislature as well as a "five-year capital outlay program" during each such session.[17] The governor can exercise veto power over all bills passed by the legislature except proposed constitutional amendments.[16] They have line-item veto power over appropriations bills[18] and are constitutionally obligated to issue line-item vetoes when necessary to ensure that state government operates on a balanced budget.[14] A veto can be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote of the legislature.[19] The governor is also empowered to call the legislature into special session at their discretion to consider matters of their choosing.[19][20]

Vacancies and succession[edit]

Article 4, Section 14 of the state constitution enumerates the line of succession in the event there is a permanent vacancy in the governor's office.[21] The position of governor passes sequentially as follows: first to the lieutenant governor, then the secretary of state, then the attorney general, then the state treasurer, then the presiding officer of the Senate, and finally the Speaker of the House. They serve the remainder of the original governor's term.[9] In the event of the governor's momentary absence from Louisiana, the constitution tasks the lieutenant governor with serving as acting governor.[21][22][a] While there is no firm legal direction regarding temporary succession in the event both the governor and lieutenant governor are out of state at the same time,[21] in practice the position of acting governor is passed down the line of succession enumerated for permanent vacancies.[9][21]

Office structure[edit]

The office of the governor is made up of several departments: Chief of Staff's Office, Deputy Chiefs of Staff, Special Assistants to the Governor, Communications and Press, Constituent Services, Legal, Legislative Affairs, Policy, Programs and Planning, the Office of Coastal Activities, Boards and Commissions, Finance and Administration,[23] and the Office of Elderly Affairs.[24] There are 12 executive agencies under the governor's purview. The appointed secretaries which lead the agencies constitute the governor's cabinet.[25] The governor's compensation is determined by law.[26] They collect an annual salary of $130,000.[27]

Political dynamics[edit]

Governors usually informally serve as the state leader of whatever political party to which they belong. In this political capacity they often raise funds for their party, recruit candidates for elections, and advocate for major policy proposals.[28] Vetoes issued by governors of the state are typically not overturned.[29]


  1. ^ Evolution in telecommunications technology since this constitutional provision was ratified have enabled the governor to maintain more effective contact with their subordinates despite being out of the state.[21] Court rulings in the state have historically noted differences in the scope of governor's absences with regards to their ability to return and assert their leadership on short on notice.[22]


  1. ^ a b c Jones, Terry L. (August 23, 2017). "Louisiana's Constitution of 1812". Country Roads Magazine. Retrieved July 21, 2023.
  2. ^ Dawson 1990, p. xvi.
  3. ^ a b Dawson 1990, p. xv.
  4. ^ a b Billings, Warren (May 4, 2023). "Louisiana Constitutions". 64 Parishes. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Retrieved July 20, 2023.
  5. ^ Dawson 1990, p. 121.
  6. ^ a b c Dawson 1990, p. xxv.
  7. ^ Dawson 1990, p. xxvi.
  8. ^ Qualifications of Candidates 2022, p. 1.
  9. ^ a b c "Branches of Government : Executive Branch : Office Of The Governor". Government of Louisiana. Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  10. ^ "Louisiana inauguration overshadowed by football championship". KATC ABC 3. Scripps Media, Inc. Associated Press. January 11, 2020. Retrieved July 27, 2023.
  11. ^ Louisiana inauguration history (Television production). Baton Rouge: Louisiana Television Broadcasting. 2016.
  12. ^ "Branches of Government : Executive Branch : Overview". Government of Louisiana. Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  13. ^ Hargrave 2011, p. 70.
  14. ^ a b Hargrave 2011, p. 71.
  15. ^ "Branches of Government : Executive Branch : Judicial Powers". Government of Louisiana. Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  16. ^ a b Government In Louisiana 2011, p. 1A-3.
  17. ^ Hargrave 2011, p. 142.
  18. ^ Hargrave 2011, p. 52.
  19. ^ a b "Branches of Government : Executive Branch : Legislative Powers". Government of Louisiana. Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  20. ^ Hargrave 2011, p. 54.
  21. ^ a b c d e Hutchinson, Piper (June 21, 2023). "Louisiana's governor and lt. governor are out of the country. Who's running the state?". Louisiana Illuminator. Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  22. ^ a b Hargrave 2011, p. 77.
  23. ^ "Administration". Office of the Governor. Office of the Governor of Louisiana. Retrieved July 27, 2023.
  24. ^ Rosato, Chris (July 25, 2023). "Lawmakers consider additional funding for Office of Elderly Affairs". KPLC News. Gray Media Group. Retrieved July 28, 2023.
  25. ^ "Branches of Government : Executive Branch : Officers". Government of Louisiana. Retrieved July 18, 2023.
  26. ^ Government In Louisiana 2011, p. 1C-3.
  27. ^ Stebbins, Samuel (November 9, 2022). "How the Louisiana Governor's Salary Compares to Other States". Le Observateur. 24/7 Wall St. Retrieved July 19, 2023.
  28. ^ Cross, Pearson (July 11, 2023). "Louisiana Government in the Modern Era". 64 Parishes. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  29. ^ Rojas, Rick (July 23, 2023). "In Louisiana, a Democratic Governor Leans on Vetoes to Stall Conservative Agenda". The New York Times. Retrieved July 25, 2023.

Works cited[edit]