The Governor of New York is the head of government of the U.S. state of New York. The governor is the head of the executive branch of New York's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military and naval forces.
The current governor is Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, who took office on January 1, 2011.
The governor has a duty to enforce state laws, and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the New York State Legislature, to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of treason and impeachment. Unlike the other government departments that compose the executive branch of government, the governor is the head of the state Executive Department. The officeholder is afforded the courtesy style of His/Her Excellency while in office.
The governor of New York is often considered a potential candidate for President. Ten governors have been major-party candidates for president, and four, Martin Van Buren, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt have won. Six New York governors have gone on to serve as vice president. Additionally two Governors of New York, John Jay and Charles Evans Hughes, have served as Chief Justice of the United States.
Under the New York State Constitution, a person must be at least 30 years of age, a United States citizen, and a resident of the state of New York for at least five years prior to being elected to serve as governor.
The office of Governor was established by the first New York State Constitution in 1777 to coincide with the calendar year. An 1874 amendment extended the term of office to three years, but the 1894 constitution reduced it to two years. The most recent constitution of 1938 extended the term to the current four years.
The Constitution of New York has provided since 1777 for the election of a Lieutenant Governor of New York, who also acts as President of the State Senate, to the same term (keeping the same term lengths as the governor throughout all the constitutional revisions). Originally, in the event of the death, resignation or impeachment of the governor, or absence from the state, the lieutenant governor would take on the governor's duties and powers. Since the 1938 constitution, the lieutenant governor explicitly becomes governor upon such vacancy in the office.
Should the office of lieutenant governor become vacant, the president pro tempore of the state senate performs the duties of a lieutenant governor until the governor can take back the duties of the office, or the next election; likewise, should both offices become vacant, the president pro tempore acts as governor, with the office of lieutenant governor remaining vacant. Although no provision exists in the constitution for it, precedent set in 2009 allows the governor to appoint a lieutenant governor should a vacancy occur. Should the president pro tempore be unable to fulfill the duties, the speaker of the assembly is next in the line of succession. The lieutenant governor is elected on the same ticket as the governor, but nominated separately.
Line of succession in full
The 1780 New York gubernatorial election was held in April 1780 to elect the Governor of New York and the Lieutenant Governor of New York.1974 New York gubernatorial election
The 1974 New York gubernatorial election was held on November 5, 1974 to elect the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of New York. Incumbent Republican governor Malcolm Wilson was defeated by Democratic Hugh Carey. Carey became the first Democratic Governor of New York since W. Averell Harriman left office in 1958 after suffering defeat from Nelson Rockefeller in the election that same year.Broome Street
Broome Street is an east–west street in Lower Manhattan. It runs nearly the full width of the island, from Hudson Street in the west to Lewis Street in the east, at the entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge. The street is interrupted in a number of places by parks, buildings, and Allen Street's median. The street was named after Staten Island-born John Broome, who was a Colonial merchant and politician and became a Lieutenant Governor of New York State.Charles Seymour Whitman
Charles Seymour Whitman (September 29, 1868 – March 29, 1947) served as the 41st Governor of New York from January 1, 1915 to December 31, 1918. He was also a delegate to Republican National Convention from New York in 1916.Daniel D. Tompkins
Daniel D. Tompkins (June 21, 1774 – June 11, 1825) was an American politician. He was the fourth governor of New York from 1807 to 1817, and the sixth vice president of the United States from 1817 to 1825.
Born in Scarsdale, New York, Tompkins practiced law in New York City after graduating from Columbia College. He was a delegate to the 1801 New York constitutional convention and served on the New York Supreme Court from 1804 to 1807. In 1807, he defeated incumbent Morgan Lewis to become the Governor of New York. He held that office from 1807 to 1817, serving for the duration of the War of 1812. During the war, he often spent his own money to equip and pay the militia when the legislature wasn't in session, or would not approve the necessary funds.
Tompkins was the Democratic-Republican Party's vice presidential nominee in the 1816 presidential election. The ticket of James Monroe and Tompkins easily prevailed over limited Federalist opposition. He served as vice president from 1817 to 1825, and was the only 19th century vice president to serve two full terms. In 1820, he sought another term as Governor of New York, but was defeated by DeWitt Clinton. After the War of 1812, Tompkins was in poor physical and financial health, the latter condition stemming largely from his spending for the military effort during the War of 1812. He fell into alcoholism and was unable to re-establish fiscal solvency despite winning partial reimbursement from the federal government in 1823. He died in June 1825, soon after leaving office.DeWitt Clinton
DeWitt Clinton (March 2, 1769 – February 11, 1828) was an American politician and naturalist who served as a United States Senator, Mayor of New York City and sixth Governor of New York. In this last capacity, he was largely responsible for the construction of the Erie Canal. Clinton was a major candidate for the American presidency in the election of 1812, challenging incumbent James Madison.
A nephew of long-time New York Governor George Clinton, DeWitt Clinton served as his uncle's secretary before launching his own political career. As a Democratic-Republican, Clinton won election to the New York State Legislature in 1798 before briefly serving as a U.S. Senator. Returning to New York, Clinton served three terms as Mayor of New York City and also won election as the Lieutenant Governor of New York. In the 1812 election, Clinton won support from the Federalists as well as a group of Democratic-Republicans dissatisfied with Madison. Though Madison won re-election, Clinton carried most of the Northeastern United States and fared significantly better than the previous two Federalist-supported candidates. After the presidential election, Clinton continued to affiliate with the Democratic-Republican Party.
Clinton served as Governor of New York from 1817 to 1822 and from 1825 to 1828, presiding over the construction of the Erie Canal. Clinton believed that infrastructure improvements could transform American life, drive economic growth, and encourage political participation. He heavily influenced the development of New York State and the United States.Eliot Spitzer
Eliot Laurence Spitzer (born June 10, 1959) is an American politician, attorney, and educator. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the 54th Governor of New York.
After serving for six years as a prosecutor with the office of the Manhattan District Attorney, Spitzer worked as an attorney in private practice with several New York law firms. He was then elected to two four-year terms as the Attorney General of New York, serving from 1999 to 2006; during this period, Spitzer became known as the "Sheriff of Wall Street" for his efforts to curb corruption in the financial services industry. Spitzer was elected Governor of New York in 2006 and served as the 54th Governor of New York from January 1, 2007 until his resignation on March 17, 2008 in the midst of a prostitution scandal.Since 2008, Spitzer has worked as a television host and an adjunct instructor; he also ran unsuccessfully for New York City Comptroller in 2013 engaged in real estate activity, and made private investments in a start-up company.Governorship of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected governor of New York in 1928 and served from 1 January 1929 until his election as President of the United States in 1932. His term as governor provided him with a high-visibility position in which to prove himself as well as provide a major base from which to launch a bid for the presidency.
After several years out of politics following his defeat for vice president in the 1920 presidential election, by 1928, Roosevelt believed he had recovered sufficiently to resume his political career. He had been careful to maintain his contacts in the Democratic Party. In 1924, he had attended the 1924 Democratic National Convention and made a presidential nomination speech for the then-governor of New York, Al Smith. Although Smith was not nominated, he ran again in 1928, and Roosevelt again supported him. This time, he became the Democratic candidate, and he urged Roosevelt to run for governor of New York.Horace White
Horace White (October 7, 1865 – November 27, 1943) was an American lawyer and politician from New York. He was the 37th Governor of New York from October 6, 1910 to December 31, 1910.John Jay
John Jay (December 23, 1745 – May 17, 1829) was an American statesman, patriot, diplomat, Founding Father of the United States, negotiator and signatory of the Treaty of Paris of 1783, second Governor of New York, and the first Chief Justice of the United States (1789–1795). He directed U.S. foreign policy for much of the 1780s and was an important leader of the Federalist Party after the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788.
Jay was born into a wealthy family of merchants and New York City government officials of French and Dutch descent. He became a lawyer and joined the New York Committee of Correspondence, organizing opposition to British policies in the time preceding the American Revolution. Jay was elected to the Second Continental Congress, and served as President of the Congress. From 1779 to 1782, Jay served as the ambassador to Spain; he persuaded Spain to provide financial aid to the fledgling United States. He also served as a negotiator of the Treaty of Paris, in which Britain recognized American independence. Following the end of the war, Jay served as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, directing United States foreign policy under the Articles of Confederation government. He also served as the first Secretary of State on an interim basis.
A proponent of strong, centralized government, Jay worked to ratify the United States Constitution in New York in 1788. He was a co-author of The Federalist Papers along with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, and wrote five of the 85 essays. After the establishment of the new federal government, Jay was appointed by President George Washington the first Chief Justice of the United States, serving from 1789 to 1795. The Jay Court experienced a light workload, deciding just four cases over six years. In 1794, while serving as Chief Justice, Jay negotiated the highly controversial Jay Treaty with Britain. Jay received a handful of electoral votes in three of the first four presidential elections, but never undertook a serious bid for the presidency.
Jay served as the Governor of New York from 1795 to 1801. Long an opponent of slavery, he helped enact a law that provided for the gradual emancipation of slaves, and the institution of slavery was abolished in New York in Jay's lifetime. In the waning days of President John Adams's administration, Jay was confirmed by the Senate for another term as Chief Justice, but he declined the position and retired to his farm in Westchester County, New York, where he died.John T. Hoffman
John Thompson Hoffman (January 10, 1828 – March 24, 1888) was the 23rd Governor of New York (1869–72). He was also Recorder of New York City (1861–65) and the 78th Mayor of New York City (1866–68). Connections to the Tweed Ring ruined his political career, in spite of the absence of evidence to show personal involvement in corrupt activities. He is to date the last New York City mayor elected Governor of New York.John Tayler
John Tayler (July 4, 1742 – March 19, 1829) was a merchant and politician. He served nine years as Lieutenant Governor of New York, four months as the fifth Governor of New York, and also in both houses of the New York State Legislature.Levi P. Morton
Levi Parsons Morton (May 16, 1824 – May 16, 1920) was the 22nd vice president of the United States from 1889 to 1893. He also served as United States ambassador to France, as a representative from New York, and as the 31st governor of New York.
The son of a Congregational minister, Morton was born and educated in Vermont and Massachusetts, and trained for a business career by clerking in stores and working in mercantile establishments in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. After relocating to New York City, Morton became a successful merchant, cotton broker, and investment banker.
Active in politics as a Republican, Morton was an ally of Roscoe Conkling. He was twice elected to the United States House of Representatives, and he served one full term, and one partial one (March 4, 1879 – March 21, 1881). In 1880, Republican presidential nominee James A. Garfield offered Morton the vice presidential nomination in an effort to win over Conkling loyalists who were disappointed that their choice for president, Ulysses S. Grant, had lost to Garfield. Conkling advised Morton to decline, which he did. Garfield then offered the nomination to another Conkling ally, Chester A. Arthur, who accepted.
After Garfield and Arthur were elected, Garfield nominated Morton to be Minister Plenipotentiary to France, and Morton served in Paris until 1885. In 1888, Morton was nominated for Vice President on the Republican ticket with presidential nominee Benjamin Harrison; they were elected, and Morton served as Vice President from 1889 to 1893. In 1894, Morton was the successful Republican nominee for governor of New York, and he served one term, 1895 to 1896.
In retirement, Morton resided in New York City and Rhinebeck, New York. He died in 1920, and was buried at Rhinebeck Cemetery.Lieutenant Governor of New York
The Lieutenant Governor of New York is a constitutional office in the executive branch of the Government of the State of New York. It is the second highest-ranking official in state government. The lieutenant governor is elected on a ticket with the governor for a four-year term. Official duties dictated to the lieutenant governor under the present New York Constitution are to serve as president of the state senate, serve as acting governor in the absence of the governor from the state or the disability of the governor, or to become governor in the event of the governor's death, resignation or removal from office via impeachment. Additional statutory duties of the lieutenant governor are to serve on the New York Court for the Trial of Impeachments, the State Defense Council, and on the board of trustees of the College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
The office is currently held by Kathy Hochul.
Most lieutenant governors take on other duties as assigned to them by the governor. For example, Mary Donohue took on duties in the areas of small business, school violence, and land-use planning, along with serving as a surrogate speaker for the governor in upstate New York. Donohue's predecessor, Betsy McCaughey Ross, worked on Medicare and education policy, prior to her falling out with Governor George Pataki. Democrat Stan Lundine, who served under Governor Mario Cuomo, was active on technology and housing issues during his two terms in office.
While governor and lieutenant governor are elected by a single joint vote in the general election, they run separately in the primaries. In 1982, Mario Cuomo won the Democratic nomination for governor, but his running mate H. Carl McCall lost the lieutenant governor nomination to Alfred DelBello. DelBello was elected with Cuomo, but resigned in 1985, complaining that Cuomo did not give him anything to do.
McCaughey Ross had been elected on a ticket with Pataki in 1994 but soon broke with him on state policy. He dropped her from his 1998 re-election ticket, and she became a Democrat and ran for governor on the Liberal ticket.
Prior to Paterson succeeding Eliot Spitzer on March 17, 2008, the last lieutenant governor to succeed to the governorship was Malcolm Wilson following the 1973 resignation of Nelson Rockefeller when he became Vice President of the United States. Mario Cuomo was the last lieutenant governor to be elected governor.List of colonial governors of New York
The territory which would later become the state of New York was settled by European colonists as part of the New Netherland colony (parts of present-day New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware) under the command of the Dutch West India Company in the Seventeenth Century. These colonists were largely of Dutch, Flemish, Walloon, and German stock, but the colony soon became a "melting pot." In 1664, at the onset of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, English forces under Richard Nicolls ousted the Dutch from control of New Netherland, and the territory became part of several different English colonies. Despite one brief year when the Dutch retook the colony (1673–1674), New York would remain an English possession until the American colonies declared independence in 1776.
With the unification of the two proprietary colonies of East Jersey and West Jersey in 1702, the provinces of New York and the neighboring colony New Jersey shared a royal governor. This arrangement began with the appointment of Queen Anne's cousin, Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury as Royal Governor of New York and New Jersey in 1702, and ended when New Jersey was granted its own royal governor in 1738.List of governors of New York
The governor of New York is the head of the executive branch of New York's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's National Guard. The governor has a duty to enforce state laws, to convene the New York legislature, the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of treason and impeachment.Fifty-six people have served as governor, four of whom served non-consecutive terms; the official numbering only lists each governor once, so there have officially been fifty-six governors. This numbering includes one acting governor: the lieutenant governor who filled the vacancy after the resignation of the governor, under the 1777 Constitution. The list does not include people who have acted as governor when the governor was out of state, such as Lieutenant Governor Timothy L. Woodruff during Theodore Roosevelt's vice presidential campaign in 1900, or Acting Speaker of the New York State Assembly Moses M. Weinstein, who acted as governor for ten days in 1968 while the governor, the lieutenant governor and the senate majority leader were out of the state, attending the Republican National Convention in Miami.Four men have become President of the United States after serving as Governor of New York: Martin Van Buren, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and six were Vice President of the United States. Van Buren and Theodore Roosevelt held both offices. Two governors have been Chief Justice of the United States: John Jay held that position when he was elected governor in 1795, and Charles Evans Hughes became chief justice in 1930, two decades after leaving the governorship.
The longest-serving governor was the first, George Clinton, who first took office on July 30, 1777, and served seven terms in two different periods, totaling just under 21 years in office. As 18 of those years were consecutive, Clinton also served the longest consecutive period in office for a New York governor. Charles Poletti had the shortest term, serving 29 days following the resignation of the previous governor, Herbert H. Lehman in 1942. The current governor is Democrat Andrew Cuomo, who took office on January 1, 2011.Malcolm Wilson (governor)
Charles Malcolm Wilson (February 26, 1914 – March 13, 2000) was the 50th Governor of New York from December 18, 1973, to December 31, 1974. He was a member of the New York State Assembly from 1939 to 1958. He also served in the Navy during World War II. In 1958, he was elected Lieutenant Governor of New York on the gubernatorial ticket with Nelson Rockefeller, and when they won he served as lieutenant governor until succeeding to the governorship after Rockefeller resigned. Wilson lost the 1974 gubernatorial election to Hugh Carey.
In 1994, the Tappan Zee Bridge was renamed in Wilson's honor. There is also a park in Yonkers, New York named for him.Mario Cuomo
Mario Matthew Cuomo (; Italian: [ˈkwɔːmo]; June 15, 1932 – January 1, 2015) was an American politician of the Democratic Party. He served as the 52nd Governor of New York for three terms, from 1983 to 1994, Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1979 to 1982, and Secretary of State of New York from 1975 to 1978.Cuomo was known for his liberal views and public speeches, particularly his keynote speech address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention in which he sharply criticized the policies of the Reagan administration, saying, "Mr. President, you ought to know that this nation is more a 'Tale of Two Cities' than it is just a 'Shining City on a Hill.'" The speech brought him to national attention, and he was widely considered a front-runner for the Democratic nomination for President in both 1988 and 1992, though he declined to seek the nomination in both instances. His legacy as a reluctant standard-bearer for the Democrats in presidential elections led to his being dubbed "Hamlet on the Hudson".Cuomo was defeated for a fourth term as governor by George Pataki in the "Republican Revolution" of 1994. He subsequently retired from politics and served as counsel at the New York City law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher. He was the father of five, including Andrew Cuomo, the current Governor of New York, and journalist Chris Cuomo, currently an anchorman for CNN.Cuomo died of natural causes due to heart failure in Manhattan, New York City, on New Year's Day, 2015. In his obituary, The New York Times called him a "liberal beacon".Nathan L. Miller
Nathan Lewis Miller (October 10, 1868 – June 26, 1953) was an American lawyer and politician who was Governor of New York from 1921 to 1922.
Officers in the State of New York
New York State Government Departments
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Chief executives of the United States