The Constitution of Massachusetts 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.
The constitution further states, whenever the chair of the governor is vacant, the lieutenant governor shall take over as acting governor. 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 inauguration of his successor, Governor James Bowdoin. Most recently, Jane Swift became acting governor upon the resignation of Paul Cellucci. Under this system, the lieutenant governor retains his or her position and title as "Lieutenant Governor" and never becomes governor – only acting governor.
The lieutenant governor serves in place of the governor when he is outside the borders of Massachusetts. Historically also a one-year term, the office of lieutenant governor now carries a four-year term the same as that of the governor. Noted in the article above are religious, property, and residency requirements for both the office of governor and lieutenant governor, of which only the residency requirement remains in effect. 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.
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 election, and the qualifications of the electors, shall be the same as are required in the election of a governor.
Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts outlines plan for fiscal recovery; spending cuts to come. (Paul Cellucci) (Interview)
Dec 10, 1991; Massachusetts remains enmeshed in the most intractable recession in modern memory. More than half the companies recently surveyed...