While searching the internet and the classifieds for a new or better job, have you ever thought of applying to be lieutenant governor of your state? What is a lieutenant governor and what does he or she do? For starters, a lieutenant governor is neither a lieutenant nor a governor. A lieutenant governor is like the Vice-President except that he/she serves at the state level instead of the national level. Instead of serving under the President, a lieutenant governor serves under a governor.
In most states the lieutenant governor is elected separately from the governor, instead of on the same ticket as are the President and Vice-President. In California, for instance, it is not uncommon for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to be from opposite parties. In most states the lieutenant governor presides over the State Senate and can break a tie vote in the Senate. However, there are some restrictions and limitations to this. For instance, in California, the lieutenant governor cannot preside over the State Senate unless he or she is invited to do so by the Senate; and it is customary not to invite the lieutenant governor unless he or she formerly served as a state senator.
The other Constitutional duty of most lieutenant governors is to take over as Governor when the Governor leaves the state. This constitutional role was decided long before the age of mass communication, computers and the internet. This role has been modified greatly in California because of abuses of power by the 1970's Lieutenant Governor Mike Curb after he appointed judges while then Governor Jerry Brown was out of state. Now the lieutenant governor's job is more ceremonial when the governor is out of state. However, the lieutenant governor still can ask for federal aide in the event of a disaster as did Lieutenant Governor Leo McCarthy after the Bay Area's 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.
The third role of a lieutenant governor is to serve on state commissions as a voting member. In California the lieutenant governor is on the State Postsecondary Education Commission.
Most people see the office of Lieutenant Governor as a stepping stone to the Governor's job; however, as demonstrated in this commentary, the lieutenant governor's job can be nifty in and of itself. After all, how many jobs allow you to preside over the Senate, be Governor for the day, and be a voting member of a state commission?
So the next time you are out looking for a new job, you might think of running for Lieutenant Governor. You can file your candidacy at your local county elections office and can file every two to four years, depending on the elections cycle in your state.