Executive Branch

Examination of this year’s State of the State addresses indicates governors are wary of storm clouds developing along the fiscal horizon.1 Their addresses to residents on the health of states reflect some caution in negotiating budget and policy agendas going forward.  Tennessee’s governor, Phil Bredesen, perhaps terms it the best, stating that, “In the first year we crewed together, we had a full-blown storm to navigate. The next couple of years were in calmer waters, and last year was positively bright and sunny and with a following wind. This year, so far, we’ve got some heavy seas once again; not a real storm yet, but definitely some attention-getting waves. There’s an old sailor’s adage: You can’t control the wind, but you can adjust your sails. We can’t control the national economy, but we can make the adjustments that let us ride it out.” So this year, governors are sticking to taut budget scripts, recognizing the challenges they face, given a deteriorating economy. They are cognizant of balancing needs and do not want to lose ground with overreaching spending promises.

The three gubernatorial elections that took place in 2007 maintained the 28 Democratic governors to 22 Republican governors split that developed following the 2006 gubernatorial elections. The cost of running for governor continues to be expensive, and after several years of no forced gubernatorial exits from office, in March 2008 we watched the governor of New York resign from office due to a personal situation.

This article traces the governorship in recent decades. It examines who the governors are, how they became governors and some of their recent political history. The author discusses the timing and costs of gubernatorial elections and changes in gubernatorial powers.
 

This article traces the governorship in recent decades. It examines who the governors are, how they became governors and some of their recent political history. The author discusses the timing and costs of gubernatorial elections, as well as the powers these officials have and the  priorities of our current governors. Finally, the article points out the need for continuing efforts to reorganize state executive branches across the country, especially as states continue to maintain a myriad of other separately elected executive-branch officials.

Chapter 4 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Chapter 2 of the 2000-01 Book of the States contains the following tables:

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