Georgia state capitol building in Atlanta at night

Georgia Government 101: What does the Governor do?


What is the Role of the Governor?: The governor is the head of the executive branch in Georgia. The governor’s primary job is to oversee the state budget and lead the executive branch, which consists of more than 100,000 state employees.

In terms of public safety, the Governor is tasked with enforcing laws, leading the state’s National Guard and police forces as commander-in-chief.

In his dealings with the legislative branch, the governor has the power to veto, approve, or take no action on legislation. The governor also has the power to convene special sessions of the Georgia General Assembly.

The governor also has the responsibility of filling unexpected vacancies in the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, as well as other public offices. The governor also nominates officials to positions in state government, but those nominations must be approved by the Georgia General Assembly.

Origin: The founder of the Georgia colony, James Edward Oglethorpe is largely considered the first governor of Georgia, but John A. Treutlen was the first governor after the Revolutionary War.

How is the Governor Chosen: The governor is elected by Georgia voters every four years at the same time as all other state offices. The next governor’s election is in November.

Who is Georgia’s Governor?: Brian Kemp is the current governor of Georgia.

How long is the Governor’s term?: The governor of Georgia can serve two consecutive four year terms and is then term-limited out of office. However, this is a fairly recent development. Up until 1977, the governor was limited to one four-year term and could run again after sitting out one term.

Since the 1977 law was passed, only one governor has served just one term — Roy Barnes, who was defeated by Sonny Perdue in 2002.

Requirements: According to the state Constitution, the Governor must be at least 30 years old, a citizen of the United States for 15 years, and a legal resident of Georgia for six years.

Note: This is part of our Georgia Government 101 series. Throughout this series, we will explain the role of each statewide office that you, the voter, will be voting for in November.

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