Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts

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Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Seal of Massachusetts.svg
Karyn Polito.png
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.[citation needed]

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[edit]

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.

Other functions[edit]

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]

List of lieutenant governors[edit]


      Democratic       Democratic-Republican       Federalist       Republican       Whig

Living former U.S. Lieutenant Governors of Massachusetts[edit]

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 (1963–1965, born 1923). The most recent death of a former U.S. lieutenant governor of Massachusetts was that of Paul Cellucci (1991–1999), on June 8, 2013.

Lt. Governor Lt. Gubernatorial term Date of birth (and age)
Francis X. Bellotti 1963–1965 (1923-05-03) May 3, 1923 (age 92)
Donald R. Dwight 1971–1975 (1931-03-26) March 26, 1931 (age 84)
Thomas P. O'Neill III 1975–1983 (1944-09-20) September 20, 1944 (age 71)
John Kerry 1983–1985 (1943-12-11) December 11, 1943 (age 71)
Evelyn Murphy 1987–1991 (1940-05-14) May 14, 1940 (age 75)
Jane M. Swift 1999–2003 (1965-02-24) February 24, 1965 (age 50)
Kerry Healey 2003–2007 (1960-04-30) April 30, 1960 (age 55)
Tim Murray 2007–2013 (1968-06-07) June 7, 1968 (age 47)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts". Massachusetts General Court. Retrieved 3 October 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 3 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "General Laws: Chapter 6, Section 214". Massachusetts General Court. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 

External links[edit]