Governor of Michigan facts for kids

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Governor of the State of Michigan
Seal of Michigan Governor.svg
Seal of the Governor
Flag of Michigan Governor.svg
Flag of the Governor
Rick Snyder in 2013.jpg
Rick Snyder

since January 1, 2011
Style His Excellency [1]
The Honorable
Residence Governor's mansions: Lansing
Mackinac Island
Appointer Popularly elected
Term length Four years, renewable once
Inaugural holder Stevens T. Mason
Formation January 26, 1837

The Governor of Michigan is the chief executive of the U.S. state of Michigan. The current governor is Rick Snyder, a member of the Republican Party, who was inaugurated on January 1, 2011, as the state's 48th governor, was re-elected November 4, 2014, and was sworn in for a second term on January 1, 2015. He is not eligible for a third term under Michigan's term limits, which limit a governor to two, four-year terms.


Governors of Michigan, as well as their lieutenant governors, must be United States citizens who have resided in Michigan for the four years preceding election and must be at least 30 years of age. A constitutional amendment adopted by the voters at the 2010 general election provides that a person is ineligible for any elected office, including governor and lieutenant governor, if convicted of a felony involving dishonesty, deceit, fraud, or a breach of the public trust, and if the conviction were related to the person's official capacity while holding any elective office or position of employment in local, State, or Federal government.

Elections and term of office

From statehood until the election of 1966, governors were elected to two-year terms. Elections are held in November and the governor assumes office the following January, except in the case of death or resignation. From statehood until 1851, elections were held in odd-numbered years. A new state constitution was drafted in 1850 and took effect in 1851. As part of the process bringing the constitution into effect, there was a single one-year term of governor in 1851. Thereafter elections were held on even years.

The constitution adopted in 1963 changed the governor's term to four years, starting in 1967. Since then, gubernatorial elections have been offset by two years from U.S. Presidential elections (e.g., Presidential elections were in 2008 and 2012, the last gubernatorial election was in 2014 and the next will be in 2018). Gubernatorial elections are held concurrently with state Senate elections. The winner of the gubernatorial election takes office at noon on January 1 of the year following the election.

In 1992, an amendment to the Michigan constitution imposed a lifetime term limit of two four-year terms for the office of governor. Prior to this, they were not limited as to how many terms they could serve; John Engler, the governor at the time, served three terms as his first term occurred prior to the restriction. Engler was reelected in 1994 and 1998 before being term limited in 2002.

Powers and duties

The governor has responsibilities to:

  • sign or veto laws passed by the legislature; including a line item veto
  • reorganize state executive government agencies and departments;
  • appoint, with advice and consent of the Senate, and oversee most department heads;
  • appoint judges, subject to ratification by the electorate;
  • appoint members of boards and commissions;
  • propose a state budget;
  • give the annual State of the State address;
  • sue other executives to comply with the law;
  • command the state militia; and
  • grant pardons for any crime, except cases involving impeachment by the legislature.

He appoints the members of the governing boards of 10 of the state's 13 public universities and department commissions.

History of the office

Stevens T Mason
Governor Stevens T. Mason, the first governor of the State of Michigan

Forty-eight people have been governor of the state. Prior to statehood, there were five governors of the Michigan Territory. Stevens T. Mason, Michigan's first governor, also served as a territorial governor. He was elected governor at age 23 as a member of the Democratic Party in 1835 and served until 1840. Mason was the youngest state governor in United States history.

Jennifer Granholm became the first female Governor of Michigan on January 1, 2003, when she succeeded John Engler; she served for 8 years, until January 1, 2011. Granholm was born in Canada. Former Governor George Romney was born in Mexico.

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