Governor of New York

The governor of New York is the head of state and 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 forces.

Governor of New York
Seal of the Governor
Standard of the Governor
Andrew Cuomo

since January 1, 2011
ResidenceNew York State Executive Mansion
Term lengthFour years, no term limit
Constituting instrumentNew York Constitution of 1777
Inaugural holderGeorge Clinton
FormationJuly 30, 1777 (1777-07-30)
DeputyLieutenant Governor of New York
Salary$225,000 (2020)
WebsiteOfficial website

The current governor is Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, who took office on January 1, 2011. The governor of New York is the highest-paid governor in the country.

Powers and duties

The original Certificate of Election of John Jay as Governor of New York (June 6, 1795)

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.[1] 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.[2]

Often considered a potential candidate to lead the executive branch of the federal government, 10 New York governors have been selected as presidential candidates by a major party, four of whom (Martin Van Buren, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt) were elected as president of the United States. Meanwhile, six New York governors have gone on to serve as vice president.[3] Additionally, two New York governors, 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 position of Governor in New York dates back to the British take over of New Amsterdam where the position replaced the former Dutch offices of director or director-general.

Following the American Revolution, a new 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. David Paterson was the first African American to hold the office.

Line of succession

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[4] 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.[5] 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:

  1. Lieutenant Governor
  2. Temporary President of the Senate
  3. Speaker of the Assembly
  4. Attorney General
  5. Comptroller
  6. Commissioner of Transportation
  7. Commissioner of Health
  8. Commissioner of Commerce
  9. Industrial Commissioner
  10. Chairman of the Public Service Commission
  11. Secretary of State[6]

See also


  • Paterson, David "Black, Blind, & In Charge: A Story of Visionary Leadership and Overcoming Adversity."Skyhorse Publishing. New York, New York, 2020


  1. "The Constitution of the State of New York" (PDF). New York Department of State. New York Department of State — Division of Administrative Rules. January 1, 2015. p. 14. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  2. New York Chamber of Commerce (1899). Annual banquet of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York. Addresses made on the occasion. 131. p. 23. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  3. Edward V. Schneier, John Brian Murtaugh, and Antoinette Pole, New York Politics: A Tale of Two States (2nd edition) (2010)
  4. The state constitutions refer to this position as the "temporary president of the senate"
  5. Peters, Jeremy W.; Chan, Sewell (September 22, 2009). "In 4-3 Vote, Court Says Paterson Can Appoint Lt. Governor". The New York Times. Retrieved September 22, 2009.
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