Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts

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Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Seal of Massachusetts.svg
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       Know Nothing       Republican       Whig

# Lieutenant Governor Term in office Political Party Governor(s)
1 Thomas Cushing 1788
2   Benjamin Lincoln 1788–1789 Federalist
3   Samuel Adams 1789–1793 Democratic-Republican
Office vacant 1793–1794
4 Moses Gill 1794–1799 Independent
Office vacant 1799–1801
5   Samuel Phillips, Jr. 1801&ndadh;1802 Federalist
6   Edward Robbins 1802–1806 Democratic-Republican
Office vacant 1806–1807
7   Levi Lincoln, Sr. 1807–1808 Democratic-Republican
Office vacant 1808–1809
8   David Cobb 1809–1810 Federalist
9   William Gray 1810–1812 Democratic-Republican
10   William Phillips, Jr. 1812–1823 Federalist
11   Levi Lincoln, Jr. 1823–1824 Democratic-Republican
12   Marcus Morton 1824–1825 Democratic-Republican
Office vacant February 6–May 26, 1825
13   Thomas L. Winthrop 1825–1833 Democratic-Republican
14   Samuel T. Armstrong 1833–1835 Whig
Office vacant 1835–1836
15   George Hull 1836–1843 Whig
16   Henry H. Childs 1843–1844 Democratic
17   John Reed, Jr. 1844–1851 Whig
18   Henry W. Cushman 1851–1853 Democratic
19   Elisha Huntington 1853–1854 Whig
20   William C. Plunkett 1854–1855 Whig
21   Simon Brown 1855–1856 Know Nothing
22   Henry W. Benchley 1856–1858 Republican
23   Eliphalet Trask 1858–1861 Republican
24   John Z. Goodrich 1861 Republican
25   John Nesmith 1862 Republican
26   Joel Hayden 1863–1866 Republican
27   William Clafin 1866–1869 Republican
27   Joseph Tucker 1869–1873 Republican
28   Thomas Talbot 1873–1874 Republican
Office vacant 1874–1875
29   Horatio G. Knight 1875–1879 Republican
30   John D. Long 1879–1880 Republican
31   Byron Weston 1880–1883 Republican
32   Oliver Ames 1883–1887 Republican
33   John Q. A. Brackett 1887–1890 Republican
34   William H. Haile 1890–1893 Republican
35   Roger Wolcott 1893–1896 Republican
36   Winthrop M. Crane 1897–1900 Republican
37   John L. Bates 1900–1903 Republican
38   Curtis Guild, Jr. 1903–1906 Republican
39   Eben S. Draper 1906–1909 Republican
40   Louis A. Frothingham 1909–1912 Republican
41   Robert Luce 1912–1913 Republican
42   David I. Walsh 1913–1914 Democratic
43   Edward P. Barry 1914–1915 Democratic
44   Grafton D. Cushing 1915–1916 Republican
45   Calvin Coolidge 1916–1919 Republican
46   Channing H. Cox 1919–1921 Republican
46   Alvan T. Fuller 1921–1925 Republican
47   Frank G. Allen 1925–1929 Republican
48   William S. Youngman 1929–1933 Republican
49   Gaspar G. Bacon 1933–1935 Republican
50   Joseph L. Hurley 1935–1937 Democratic
51   Francis E. Kelly 1937–1939 Democratic
52   Horace T. Cahill 1939–1945 Republican
53   Robert F. Bradford 1945–1947 Republican
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 1957–1961 Democratic 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 1967–1969 Republican John A. Volpe (R)
Office vacant 1969–1971
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
64   Evelyn Murphy 1987–1991 Democratic Michael Dukakis (D)
65   Paul Cellucci 1991–1997 Republican William Weld (R)
Office vacant 1997–1999
66   Jane M. Swift 1999–2001 Republican Paul Cellucci (R)
Office vacant 2001–2003
67   Kerry Healey 2003–2007 Republican Mitt Romney (R)
68   Tim Murray 2007–2013 Democratic Deval Patrick (D)
Office vacant 2013–2015
69   Karyn Polito 2015– Republican Charlie Baker (R)

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]