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Governor of New York
Flag of the Governor of New York.svg
Standard of the Governor of New York
Privy Seal of New York.svg
Seal of the Governor of New York
Governor Hochul April 2022.jpg
Kathy Hochul

since August 24, 2021
Residence New York Executive Mansion
Term length Four years, no term limit
Constituting instrument New York Constitution of 1777
Precursor Royal Governor of the Province of New York
Inaugural holder George Clinton
Formation July 30, 1777
(245 years ago)
Deputy Lieutenant Governor of New York
Salary $225,000 (2020)

The governor of New York is the 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. The governor has a duty to enforce state laws and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the New York Legislature, to convene the legislature and grant pardons, except in cases of impeachment and treason. The governor is the highest paid governor in the country.

Powers and duties

John Jay Certificate of Election as Gov. of NY 1795
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. 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.

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. Additionally, two New York governors, John Jay and Charles Evans Hughes, have served as chief justice.


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.

List of governors of New York

There have been a total of 57 governors as of March 26, 2023.


The governor is responsible for appointing their Executive Chamber. These appointments do not require the confirmation of the New York State Senate. Most political advisors report to the secretary to the governor, while most policy advisors report to the director of state operations, who also answers to the secretary to the governor, making that position, in practice, the true chief of staff and most powerful position in the Cabinet. The literal chief of staff is in charge of the Office of Scheduling and holds no authority over other cabinet officials.

The governor is also charged with naming the heads of the various departments, divisions, boards, and offices within the state government. These nominees require confirmation by the state Senate. While some appointees may share the title of commissioner, director, etc., only department level-heads are considered members of the actual state cabinet, although the heads of the various divisions, boards, and offices may attend cabinet-level meetings from time to time.


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, and Kathy Hochul is the first woman 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 temporary president of the state senate 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 temporary president 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. Should the temporary president 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

See also

Women's History Month on Kiddle
Women Scientists of Antiquity
Mary the Jewess
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