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  #1  
Old 11-09-2013, 01:09 PM
Donnerwetter Donnerwetter is online now
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Who is the most powerful Governor in the US?

This is a question about the different state constitutions in the United States, not about individual politicians. Are there significant differences in how powerful the office of Governor is in each of the 50 states in the United States of America? I'm thinking about things like the power to override a veto, granting pardons, appointing and sacking officials, commanding the National Guard etc.
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  #2  
Old 11-09-2013, 01:42 PM
TSBG TSBG is offline
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The Governor of California runs the richest, most populous state, one that is so influential that it often leads the way for the federal government in things like pollution standards. And the governor of CA is a "strong governor"--lots of executive power, compared to say the governor of Texas who does almost nothing. So I say CA.
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Old 11-09-2013, 02:20 PM
bump bump is offline
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David Dewhurst.
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Old 11-09-2013, 03:48 PM
jtgain jtgain is online now
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Is the OP referring solely to state constitutional powers or do we include things like the population size of each state? Clearly the California governor will have more power than the Wyoming governor just on the basis of stuff in California to govern.
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Old 11-09-2013, 03:51 PM
Loach Loach is offline
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When Bush and then Perry ran for president there was a lot of discussion about how many limits there are to the governors office in Texas.
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  #6  
Old 11-09-2013, 04:04 PM
Ximenean Ximenean is offline
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I think the OP is asking about governor's power relative to other parts of that state's government. Obviously California wins if we are talking in absolute terms.
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  #7  
Old 11-09-2013, 04:11 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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One other advantage Jerry Brown of California has over some other governors: his party has an overwhelming majority in the state legislature.
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  #8  
Old 11-09-2013, 04:19 PM
Donnerwetter Donnerwetter is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ximenean View Post
I think the OP is asking about governor's power relative to other parts of that state's government. Obviously California wins if we are talking in absolute terms.
Indeed, this is what I had in mind.
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:53 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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One other advantage Jerry Brown of California has over some other governors: his party has an overwhelming majority in the state legislature.
Still another advantage: he's done this job before.
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  #10  
Old 11-09-2013, 06:16 PM
D18 D18 is offline
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And more importantly he's done Linda Ronstadt!
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  #11  
Old 11-09-2013, 06:48 PM
Samarami Samarami is offline
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I have no idea who is considered "the most powerful governor" of any of the US protectorates called "states", but I know who is the most powerful (and important) governor on this continent is: me.

I am a sovereign state. I govern myself. Not only that, but the world revolves around MY belly-button, not yours. My world.

But what makes me so powerful is the knowledge that YOUR world revolves around YOUR belly-button -- whether you admit it or not. That keeps me from taking personally any detritus you might throw at me. And that, my friend, is power.

Are anarchists welcome here?

Sam
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:58 PM
friedo friedo is offline
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Are anarchists welcome here?
We tried to take a vote on it but that wasn't anarchist enough.
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  #13  
Old 11-09-2013, 07:17 PM
Antinor01 Antinor01 is offline
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We tried to take a vote on it but that wasn't anarchist enough.
We couldn't even agree on what system to use! Voice vote, secret ballot, etc
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  #14  
Old 11-10-2013, 12:17 AM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Originally Posted by Loach View Post
When Bush and then Perry ran for president there was a lot of discussion about how many limits there are to the governors office in Texas.
Such discussions almost always also mention that all those typical governor's powers, and more, do exist in Texas . . . But not in the governor's office. It's typically said that the Lieutenant Governor has a lot of those powers that one would normally think a Governor would have.
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Old 11-10-2013, 11:18 AM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samarami View Post
I have no idea who is considered "the most powerful governor" of any of the US protectorates called "states", but I know who is the most powerful (and important) governor on this continent is: me.

I am a sovereign state. I govern myself. Not only that, but the world revolves around MY belly-button, not yours. My world.

But what makes me so powerful is the knowledge that YOUR world revolves around YOUR belly-button -- whether you admit it or not. That keeps me from taking personally any detritus you might throw at me. And that, my friend, is power.

Are anarchists welcome here?

Sam
[Moderator Note]

Political rants are not welcome in General Questions. If you want to advocate a political system (or non-system) do it in Great Debates. No warning issued, but don't do this again.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator
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  #16  
Old 11-10-2013, 10:23 PM
Billdo Billdo is offline
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One candidate may be the Governor of New Jersey. Unlike virtually all other states, he is the only elected statewide official (other than Lieutenant Governor), and appoints his entire cabinet, including the Attorney General and Secretary of State and as well as county prosecutors and superior court judges (all subject to State Senate confirmation). This gives him tremendous control over aspects of the state government that, in many other states, are the province of other elected officials who can counterbalance the governor.
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  #17  
Old 11-12-2013, 12:23 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
David Dewhurst.
For anyone who doesn't get Bump's joke, David Dewhurst is the Lieutenant Governor of Texas. And in the state of Texas, the Lieutentant Governor is, in many respects, more important and more powerful than the Governor.

This is a flawed analogy, but in a sense, Texas is like a nation with a parliamentary government. In a country like Israel or Ireland, for instance, there is a President, but the President is not actually the nation's #1 leader. The Prime Minister is.

Well, think of the Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst as the Prime Minister of Texas and of Governor Rick Perry as the President of Texas.
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Old 11-12-2013, 12:36 PM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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And more importantly he's done Linda Ronstadt!
Back when she was hot, even.
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:01 PM
Son of a Rich Son of a Rich is offline
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In a Sumo ring, Chris Christie.
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  #20  
Old 11-12-2013, 02:00 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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I'm not sure but the things to look at would be:

1. Line-item veto power. Many State governors have it, having it generally means you are more powerful within State government relative to governors who do not have this power.

2. Veto-override requirements. In some States it is quite hard to override a governor's veto, in others the governor's veto is an almost powerless procedural technique. For example some States (West Virginia, Indiana) the veto override only requires a majority of each house of the legislature--which obviously is also the requirement to pass legislation in the first place. So in those States a veto basically just forces a revote, and if the same number of legislators go along with how they voted before the veto is overridden. Others copy the 2/3rds from the U.S. Constitution, others use 3/5ths, a few use a mix where normally it's 2/3rds but to override a budget veto is 3/4ths (so the highest requirement there.)

3. Divided/undivided Executive Branch. Unlike the Federal Government where we only elect the President and Vice President, most States elect at least a few other Statewide officials. Some, it's almost the entirety of the cabinet which is elected: this lists out the offices by State. As you can see some have relatively minor offices like State Auditor and Agriculture Commissioner as elected officials.

4. Appointment power of judges. This shows how each State selects/elects judges. Obviously the States where the judges are gubernatorially appointed are the ones where the Governor is going to have even more power relative to states where that isn't the case.

Given the above information you should be able to craft a nexus of:

High veto override requirements + limited division of elected executive branch + judicial appointment power + line item veto power and come to some approximation of which Governor is the most powerful.

New Jersey is a good candidate:

1. Wide line-item veto powers: full veto, reduction veto, amendment veto.

2. Strong veto override requirement (2/3rds elected legislature.)

3. Limited division of executive power: only the Lieutenant Governor is elected other than the Governor, and the Lieutenant Governor runs on a ticket with the Governor and has no distinct responsibilities (essentially a Vice President.) New Jersey law requires the Lt Governor be appointed to run some cabinet-level office I'm guessing so they have some function to justify their salary.

4. Judicial appointments. Most of the States either use an election to select most judges or the governor gets to select judges proposed by theoretically non-partisan nominating commissions. In New Jersey the Governor gets to select his own judges and they face a confirmation vote in the Senate.
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  #21  
Old 11-15-2013, 12:47 PM
Schnitte Schnitte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ximenean View Post
I think the OP is asking about governor's power relative to other parts of that state's government. Obviously California wins if we are talking in absolute terms.
I agree about the distinction between governor's powers relative to other branches of government within the state versus absolute power. I'd just like to add that to me, it's not as obvious that under the second criterion, California would be the winner. I think New York is at least a close contender. Sure, population, GDP and territory-wise, NY is much smaller than CA. But a lot of the country's economic relations with other countries go via New York, and a lot of companies active across the USA are based there too. You have banking and the stock exchange, you have lots of professional services, media, whatever, and in many respects these will be required to comply with US law - indeed, the state's Department of Financial Services has become very active in financial supervision recently and has become, for foreign banks operating in the US, a regulator about as powerful as many federal authorities.
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  #22  
Old 11-15-2013, 05:13 PM
Loach Loach is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
I'm not sure but the things to look at would be:

1. Line-item veto power. Many State governors have it, having it generally means you are more powerful within State government relative to governors who do not have this power.

2. Veto-override requirements. In some States it is quite hard to override a governor's veto, in others the governor's veto is an almost powerless procedural technique. For example some States (West Virginia, Indiana) the veto override only requires a majority of each house of the legislature--which obviously is also the requirement to pass legislation in the first place. So in those States a veto basically just forces a revote, and if the same number of legislators go along with how they voted before the veto is overridden. Others copy the 2/3rds from the U.S. Constitution, others use 3/5ths, a few use a mix where normally it's 2/3rds but to override a budget veto is 3/4ths (so the highest requirement there.)

3. Divided/undivided Executive Branch. Unlike the Federal Government where we only elect the President and Vice President, most States elect at least a few other Statewide officials. Some, it's almost the entirety of the cabinet which is elected: this lists out the offices by State. As you can see some have relatively minor offices like State Auditor and Agriculture Commissioner as elected officials.

4. Appointment power of judges. This shows how each State selects/elects judges. Obviously the States where the judges are gubernatorially appointed are the ones where the Governor is going to have even more power relative to states where that isn't the case.

Given the above information you should be able to craft a nexus of:

High veto override requirements + limited division of elected executive branch + judicial appointment power + line item veto power and come to some approximation of which Governor is the most powerful.

New Jersey is a good candidate:

1. Wide line-item veto powers: full veto, reduction veto, amendment veto.

2. Strong veto override requirement (2/3rds elected legislature.)

3. Limited division of executive power: only the Lieutenant Governor is elected other than the Governor, and the Lieutenant Governor runs on a ticket with the Governor and has no distinct responsibilities (essentially a Vice President.) New Jersey law requires the Lt Governor be appointed to run some cabinet-level office I'm guessing so they have some function to justify their salary.

4. Judicial appointments. Most of the States either use an election to select most judges or the governor gets to select judges proposed by theoretically non-partisan nominating commissions. In New Jersey the Governor gets to select his own judges and they face a confirmation vote in the Senate.
Yes I was going to say New Jersey for just such reasons. We didn't even have a LT governor until recently when the succession became an issue (both the Mcgreevy resignation and governor health issues such as being in a high speed crash).
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  #23  
Old 11-16-2013, 06:41 PM
TBG TBG is offline
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So which governor has the least power within his state?
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  #24  
Old 11-18-2013, 12:03 PM
pkbites pkbites is offline
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Wisconsins Guv has considerable power, but it looks to me like New Jerseys may be the top.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TBG View Post
So which governor has the least power within his state?
Everything I've read seems to suggest it might be Vermont followed by Texas.
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