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Governor of West Virginia

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Governor of West Virginia

Governor of West Virginia
Seal of the Governor
Style
His Excellency
Residence West Virginia Governor's Mansion
Term length Four years, renewable once
Inaugural holder Arthur I. Boreman
Formation June 20, 1863
Deputy None
Salary $150,000 (2009)[1]
Website www.governor.wv.gov

The Governor of West Virginia is the head of the executive branch of West Virginia's government[2] and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.[3] The governor has a duty to enforce state laws,[2] and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the West Virginia Legislature,[4] to convene the legislature at any time,[5] and, except when prosecution has been carried out by the House of Delegates, to grant pardons and reprieves.[6]

Since West Virginia became a state, it has had 35 governors; 32 different men have held the office (Arch A. Moore, Jr. and Cecil H. Underwood each served two nonconsecutive governorships). Six governors in the state's history have served multiple terms. The longest-serving governor was Moore, who served for three terms over twelve years. The state's first governor, Arthur I. Boreman, served the most consecutive terms, resigning a week before the end of his third term. Daniel D.T. Farnsworth was Senate President at the time; he filled the last seven days of Boreman's term and remains the shortest-serving governor. Underwood has the unusual distinction of being both the youngest person to be elected as governor (age 34 upon his first term in 1957) and the oldest to both be elected and serve (age 74 upon his second term in 1997; age 78 at the end of his second term in 2001).

The current governor is Earl Ray Tomblin, who assumed office on November 13, 2011 after a special election on October 4, 2011.[7] Tomblin, as President of the West Virginia Senate, acted as governor from November 15, 2010 until November 13, 2011 upon the resignation of Joe Manchin to take a seat in the U.S. Senate.

West Virginia was originally part of the state of Virginia, one of the original Thirteen Colonies. The northwestern counties of Virginia broke away during the American Civil War and formed the state, which was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863. Two more Virginia counties, Berkeley and Jefferson, joined the state on March 10, 1866.

To be elected governor, a person must be at least 30 years old, and must have been a citizen of West Virginia for at least five years at the time of inauguration.[8] The Constitution of West Virginia, ratified in 1872, calls for a four-year term for the governor, commencing on the Monday after the second Wednesday in the January following an election.[8] The original constitution of 1863 had only a two-year term for governor.[9]

The constitution makes no mention of a lieutenant governor; if the governorship becomes vacant, the Senate President acts as governor. If more than one year remains in the governor's term at the time of vacancy, a new election is held; otherwise, the Senate President serves the remainder of the term.[10] A bill passed in 2000 grants the Senate President the honorary title of Lieutenant Governor,[11] but this title is rarely used in practice and the terms of the Senate President do not correspond with governorships. The same bill states that the line of succession after the Senate President will be the Speaker of the House of Delegates, followed by the state attorney general, the state auditor and former governors, in inverse order of term, that are in residence in the state at the time of the vacancy.[11]

List of Governors

For a list of governors who served the region before West Virginia became a state, see List of Governors of Virginia.


      Democratic (20)       Independent (1)       Republican (15)

# Governor Term start Term end Party Terms
[note 1]
1   Arthur I. Boreman June 20, 1863 February 26, 1869 Republican 2 12
[note 2]
2 Daniel D. T. Farnsworth February 26, 1869 March 4, 1869 Republican 12
[note 3]
3 William E. Stevenson March 4, 1869 March 4, 1871 Republican 2
4 John J. Jacob March 4, 1871 March 4, 1877 Democratic 2
[note 4]
[note 5]
  Independent
5 Henry M. Mathews March 4, 1877 March 4, 1881 Democratic 1
6 Jacob B. Jackson March 4, 1881 March 4, 1885 Democratic 1
7 Emanuel Willis Wilson March 4, 1885 February 6, 1890 Democratic 1
[note 6]
8 Aretas B. Fleming February 6, 1890 March 4, 1893 Democratic 1
9 William A. MacCorkle March 4, 1893 March 4, 1897 Democratic 1
10 George W. Atkinson March 4, 1897 March 4, 1901 Republican 1
11 Albert B. White March 4, 1901 March 4, 1905 Republican 1
12 William M. O. Dawson March 4, 1905 March 4, 1909 Republican 1
13 William E. Glasscock March 4, 1909 March 14, 1913 Republican 1
14 Henry D. Hatfield March 14, 1913 March 5, 1917 Republican 1
15 John J. Cornwell March 5, 1917 March 4, 1921 Democratic 1
16 Ephraim F. Morgan March 4, 1921 March 4, 1925 Republican 1
17 Howard M. Gore March 4, 1925 March 4, 1929 Republican 1
18 William G. Conley March 4, 1929 March 4, 1933 Republican 1
19 Herman G. Kump March 4, 1933 January 18, 1937 Democratic 1
20 Homer A. Holt January 18, 1937 January 13, 1941 Democratic 1
21 Matthew M. Neely January 13, 1941 January 15, 1945 Democratic 1
22 Clarence W. Meadows January 15, 1945 January 17, 1949 Democratic 1
23 Okey L. Patteson January 17, 1949 January 19, 1953 Democratic 1
24 William C. Marland January 19, 1953 January 14, 1957 Democratic 1
25 Cecil H. Underwood January 14, 1957 January 16, 1961 Republican 1
26 William Wallace Barron January 16, 1961 January 18, 1965 Democratic 1
27 Hulett C. Smith January 18, 1965 January 13, 1969 Democratic 1
28 Arch A. Moore, Jr. January 13, 1969 January 17, 1977 Republican 2
29 Jay Rockefeller January 17, 1977 January 14, 1985 Democratic 2
30 Arch A. Moore, Jr. January 14, 1985 January 16, 1989 Republican 1
31 Gaston Caperton January 16, 1989 January 13, 1997 Democratic 2
32   Cecil H. Underwood January 13, 1997 January 15, 2001 Republican 1
33 Bob Wise January 15, 2001 January 17, 2005 Democratic 1
34 Joe Manchin January 17, 2005 November 15, 2010 Democratic 1 12
[note 7]
35 Earl Ray Tomblin November 15, 2010 Incumbent Democratic 12
[note 8]

Other high offices held

This is a table of congressional offices held by governors. All representatives and senators listed represented West Virginia. No governor of West Virginia has held any other federal office.

Denotes those offices that the governor resigned to take.
† Denotes those offices that the governor resigned to be governor.
Governor Gubernatorial term U.S. House U.S. Senate Source
Arthur I. Boreman 1863–1869 S* [12]
George W. Atkinson 1897–1901 H [16]
Henry D. Hatfield 1913–1917 S [17]
Matthew M. Neely 1941–1945 H S† [18]
Arch A. Moore, Jr. 1969–1977
1985–1989
H [19]
Jay Rockefeller 1977–1985 S [20]
Bob Wise 2001–2005 H [21]
Joe Manchin 2005–2010 S* [22]

Living former governors

As of January 2012, five former governors are alive, the oldest of whom is Arch A. Moore, Jr. (1969–1977; 1985-1989, born 1923). The most recent governor to die was Hulett C. Smith (1965-1969), who died on January 15, 2012. The most recently serving governor to die was Cecil H. Underwood (1957–1961, 1997–2001), who died on November 24, 2008.[23]

Name Gubernatorial term Date of birth
Arch A. Moore, Jr. 1969–1977
1985–1989
(1923-04-16) April 16, 1923 (age 91)
Jay Rockefeller 1977–1985 (1937-06-18) June 18, 1937 (age 77)
Gaston Caperton 1989–1997 (1940-02-21) February 21, 1940 (age 74)
Bob Wise 2001–2005 (1948-01-06) January 6, 1948 (age 66)
Joe Manchin 2005–2010 (1947-08-24) August 24, 1947 (age 66)

Notes

References

General
  • Richard E. Fast. The history and government of West Virginia (1901) to 1900 online edition
Constitutions
Specific

External links

  • Office of the Governor of West Virginia
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