Georgia Government 101: What does the Lieutenant Governor do?

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Note: This is the first in our Georgia Government 101 series. Throughout this series, we will explain the role of each state-wide office that you, the voter, will be voting on in May and November. We’ll start with the Lieutenant Governor and move down. We’re skipping the office of Governor because most people probably have a good idea of that office’s role.

What is the role of Lieutenant Governor?: The lieutenant governor is the state’s version of a vice president. The position essentially has the same two responsibilities. The lieutenant governor presides over the state senate and casts the tie-breaking vote when necessary and fills in for the governor if the governor ever becomes temporarily or permanently incapacitated.

Origin: The office of lieutenant governor was created in 1945. Melvin E. Thompson was the first person to serve as lieutenant governor. He was elected in 1947.

How is the Lieutenant Governor chosen: The lieutenant governor is an elected position. Unlike the office of vice-president, the governor and lieutenant governor do not run together on the same ticket. This would technically make it possible to have a governor from one party and a lieutenant governor from another. In fact, Casey Cagle was the first republican lieutenant governor in Georgia’s history when he was elected. During republican governor Sonny Perdue’s first term, democrat Mark Taylor was the lieutenant governor.

Who is Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor?: Geoff Duncan is the current lieutenant governor and has served in this role since 2007.

How long is the Lieutenant Governor’s term:?  Each term is 4 years. There is no term limit.

Requirements: The qualifications for the governor’s office and lieutenant governor’s office are the same. According to the state constitution, both must be at least 30 years old, have been a citizen of the United States for 15 years and a legal resident of Georgia for six years.

How much influence does the Lieutenant Governor have?: Despite the fact that Georgia’s lieutenant governor doesn’t have any specifically prescribed executive duties and can’t sponsor any bills in the legislature, the position wields a significant amount of power. The lieutenant governor actively presides over the state senate and controls the flow of debate and conversation.

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