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United States Governors

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  • Gov. William J. Holloway (1881 - 1970)
    Oklahoma Governor. After serving in the army at the end of World War I, he was elected to the Oklahoma Senate, where he served from 1920 to 1926. While serving as Acting Lieutenant Governor, he was e...
  • Gaston Caperton, Governor
    William Gaston Caperton III (born February 21, 1940) was the 31st Governor of the U.S. state of West Virginia from 1989-97. He was president of the College Board, which administers the nationally rec...
  • Steve Cowper, Governor
    Stephen Cambreleng "Steve" Cowper (born August 21, 1938) is an American Democratic politician who was the sixth Governor of Alaska from 1986 to 1990. Cowper served as Governor during the 1989 Exxon V...
  • James Holshouser, Governor (1934 - 2013)
    James Eubert Holshouser, Jr. (October 8, 1934 – June 17, 2013) was the 68th Governor of the state of North Carolina from 1973 to 1977. He was the first Republican candidate to be elected as go...
  • Jim Hunt, Governor
    James Baxter "Jim" Hunt, Jr. (born May 16, 1937) is an American politician who was the 69th and 71st Governor of North Carolina (1977–1985, and 1993–2001). He is the longest-serving gov...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governor_(United_States)_

United States Governors

In the United States, the title governor refers to the chief executive of each state or insular territory, not directly subordinate to the federal authorities, but the political and ceremonial head of the state.

Role and powers


The United States Constitution preserves the notion that the country is a federation of semi-sovereign states and that powers not specifically granted to the federal government are retained by the states. States, therefore, are not merely provinces or subdivisions of federal administration. State governments in the U.S. are relatively powerful; each state has its own independent criminal and civil law codes, and each state manages its internal government.


The governor thus heads the executive branch in each state or territory and, depending on the individual jurisdiction, may have considerable control over government budgeting, the power of appointment of many officials (including many judges), and a considerable role in legislation. The governor may also have additional roles, such as that of commander-in-chief of the state's National Guard (when not federalized), and in many states and territories the governor has partial or absolute power to commute or pardon a criminal sentence. All U.S. governors serve four-year terms except those in New Hampshire and Vermont, who serve two-year terms.


In all states, the governor is directly elected, and in most cases has considerable practical powers, though this may be moderated by the state legislature and in some cases by other elected executive officials. In the five extant U.S. territories, all governors are now directly elected as well, though in the past many territorial governors were historically appointed by the President of the United States. Governors can veto state bills, and in all but seven states they have the power of the line-item veto on appropriations bills (a power the President does not have). In some cases legislatures can override a gubernatorial veto by a two-thirds vote, in others by three-fifths. In Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee, the governor's veto can be overridden by a simple majority vote, making it virtually useless. In Arkansas, a gubernatorial veto may be overridden by an absolute majority. The Governor of North Carolina had no veto power until a 1996 referendum. In 47 states, whenever there is a vacancy of one of the state's U.S. Senate seats, that state's governor has the power to appoint someone to fill the vacancy until a special election is held; the governors of Oregon, Alaska, and Wisconsin do not have this power.


A state governor may give an annual State of the State address in order to satisfy a constitutional stipulation that a governor must report annually (or in older constitutions described as being "from time to time") on the state or condition of the state. Governors of states may also perform ceremonial roles, such as greeting dignitaries, conferring state decorations, issuing symbolic proclamations or attending the state fair. The governor may also have an official residence (see Governor's Mansion).


Beyle, in a ranking of the power of the governorship in all 50 states, makes the distinction between "personal powers" of governors, which are factors that vary from person to person, season to season- and the "institutional powers" that are set in place by law. Examples of measurable personal factors are how large a governor's margin of victory was on election day, and where he stands in public opinion polls. Whether a governor has strong budget controls, appointment authority, and veto powers are examples of institutional powers.

Links to Governors by State