What does a Texas Govenor do?


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Formal qualifications:

  • Must be a citizen of the U.S
  • Must be 30 years old
  • Must be a resident of Texas for 5 years preceding the election

Informal qualifications:

  • well-educated
  • wealthy white
  • Protestant
  • males with prior political experience


Although state governors are the most visible state official and the public generally assumes state governors will be strong leaders of their states, their formal powers are often limited

The Texas Governor is allowed to...

  • make appointments and control state agencies
  • remove any person they personally appointed, with a two-thirds vote of the senate
  • control budgets (important aspect of executive authority)
  • general veto any bill passed by the legislature
  • call a special session that can last up to 30 days. The governor sets the agenda for the special session (the issues that can be considered.) The legislature can only consider those legislative issues put on the special session agenda by the governor. This can be used as a bargaining tool to help the governor get support for bills of importance to him/her. There is no limit on the number of special sessions the governor can call
  • appoint the adjutant general of the National Guard. The governor can also direct the guard to protect lives and property, a power used primarily during natural disasters
  • deliver the "State of the State" address and an annual state budget report and budget recommendation

History of the Position

  • The Governor of Texas is the chief executive of the state of Texas and is elected by the citizens every four years
  • In the colonial south, state governors held a lot of power but when the union was reconstructed after the civil war they lost most of it. To this day the Texas governor has very limited powers so in order for him/her to be successful they must be a good politician
  • The office of chief executive in Texas, if the earlier history of the area is considered, is older than the union of the American states and earlier by almost a century than the presidency of the United States
  • The office of governor of Texas as it exists today was established by Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution of 1876

Texas Govenors Compared to Other State Govenors

  • The office of governor is probably not as strong in Texas as in some other states
  • The least powerful governors, according to a report by stateline.org, are those in Vermont, Rhode Island, Alabama, Oklahoma, Indiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. This is one ranking where Texas doesn't do much better: The governor there is also a relative weakling (NewsOK)
  • Edmund J. Davis was the first governor of Texas and set the standard for the preceding governors