Lt. Governor Ed Reinecke and Governor Ronald Reagan, 1969-1972


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Publisher’s Note: I have broken down this assessment of the relationship between the final two of three Lieutenant Governors who served under Governor Ronald Reagan into three parts. The first part, discussed below, covers their relations and activities by Lt. Governor Ed Reinecke between January of 1969, when he assumed office, through January of 1972.

The second part will assess the state of their relationship and Reinecke’s work between January of 1972 and the federal trial that resulted in his conviction in 1974. The third part will discuss the period of time between Reinecke’s conviction, his departure from the office of Lieutenant Governor, and the appointment and brief tenure of his successor, John Harmer, between October of 1974 and January of 1975.

With the departure of Bob Finch in early 1969 to serve as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Nixon, California Governor Ronald Reagan was given a rare opportunity to appoint a lieutenant governor that was more aligned with his thinking. Indeed, after the clashes that marked his relationship with Lieutenant Governor Finch, Reagan would not have appointed anyone who did not clearly support his vision of state government. And, he found the Perfect Lieutenant Governor in Congressman Ed Reinecke of the San Fernando Valley. As time wore on, though, Reinecke, who clearly was positioning himself as Reagan’s successor, found himself increasingly isolated and without Reagan’s support in the 1974 California gubernatorial primary.

When he appointed Congressman Reinecke as his second-in-command in January of 1969, Reagan indicated that he and Reinecke agreed fully “…upon the goals and aims of the Creative Society” (Goff 1969), the Governor’s name for his state political vision. And, from all appearances, Reinecke’s credentials, including an electrical engineering degree from Caltech and several years representing a staunchly conservative House district in the east San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles Times, 1969), seemed to buttress those claims.

After his appointment, Reinecke for the most part disappeared from the headlines throughout 1969 and 1970, with the only item of his that made news for the duration of 1969 being his appointment by Reagan to head a multi-agency effort analyzing the California coastline (Gillam, 1969). In 1970, Reinecke briefly made the headlines statewide when he suggested that the press voluntarily refrain from reporting episodes of student unrest at California colleges and universities, an idea seconded by Governor Reagan (Greenburg, 1970). Having a lieutenant governor who  made the news very rarely most likely was quite a relief to Reagan and his staff, who clearly appeared frustrated at times with Finch and his legitimate desire to get the attention of the media and forward his own agenda. In Reinecke, one gets the sense that his agenda was simply to serve as a loyal deputy to the Governor, hoping that it would pay political dividends down the road.

After being elected in his own right to the office of Lieutenant Governor in 1970, Reinecke began to assume more formal authority within the Reagan Administration and to appear more and more in the media spotlight, as he prepared–along with others in state office–to run for Governor when Reagan stepped down in 1974.  Reagan kicked off his second term in office by assigning Reinecke formal jurisdiction over intergovernmental relations, Model Cities affairs, management services, and environmental policy (California Journal, 1971). In addition, Reinecke was named by Reagan to administer the state Department of Commerce (California Journal, 1971).

In March of 1971, Reinecke garnered headlines via his position on the State lands Commission, he demanded a private-sector audit of state tidelands revenue used  by the city of Long Beach to help purchase the legendary cruise ship Queen Mary that had since been turned into a stationary floating museum (Los Angeles Times, 1971). It is worth noting that Republican State Senator George Deukmejian, who was known to covet higher office statewide, represented Long Beach in California’s upper house, and this may have been an effort by Reinecke to both harm Deukmejian’s chances for the gubernatorial nomination in 1974, and promote his own credentials. Reinecke continued this effort to prove his conservative bona fides later in the year, when as acting governor he criticized teachers at the University of California for having what he considered to be extremely light teaching loads (Trombley, 1971).

Throughout the year, Reinecke also garnered headlines via work he was assigned by Reagan to carry out, or took on himself. He spearheaded the effort to assist jobless California aerospace workers by successfully lobbying the federal government to fund an unemployment assistance center dedicated to their industry (Jones, 1971).  In addition, Reinecke was appointed by Governor Reagan to lead the state’s effort to obtain federal contracts to build the new Space Shuttle (Foley, 1971).  All of the work that he conducted during this time was putting him in contact with national Republican Party officials, which is when he also began leading an effort to land the 1972 Republican National Convention in San Diego, something that was little-noticed at the time, but would ultimately embroil him in the Watergate scandal and doom his chance to become Governor.

The final significant activity that Reinecke participated in during this period of time occurred at the tail end of 1971 and into January of 1972, during a fight between Reagan and the Legislature over who would get the ability to craft the maps that apportioned legislative districts throughout the state, an activity that occurs every decade after the census is conducted. At the time, a little-known and apparently never-used group, the California Reapportionment Commission, still existed in California government. The body, founded in 1926, was allowed to intervene in reapportionment disputes and consisted of the Lieutenant Governor and several state constitutional officers–all of whom, fortuitously, happened to be a majority Republican (Fairbanks, 1971). Thus, Reinecke announced his intention to revive this commission, and actually convened one or two meetings of the group to discuss the matter and plan next steps before the state supreme court stepped in and ruled in January of 1972, much to his displeasure, that the commission was unconstitutional (Goff, 1972).


California Journal. “The Lieutenant Governor and His Office.” January, 1971, Page 4.

California Journal. “Interview: Lieutenant Governor Ed Reinecke.” January, 1971, Page 7.

Fairbanks, Robert. “Special Commission to Work on Redistricting.” Los Angeles Times, December 9, 1971, E23.

Foley, William J. “State Has Good Chance to Get Shuttle Sites, Reinecke Says.” Los Angeles Times, August 17, 1971, A3.

Gillam, Jerry. “Reagan Asks Overhaul for State Government; Plan Would Scrap Equalization, Franchise Tax Boards,31 Other Agencies, Commissions.” Los Angeles Times, March 6, 1969, A3.

Goff, Tom. “Reagan Announces Reinecke’s Appointment to Succeed Finch.” Los Angeles Times, January 9, 1969, A3.

Goff, Tom. “Reagan, Reinecke, Denounce Court; Legislative Leaders Praise Action.” Los Angeles Times, January 19, 1972, A14.

Greenburg, Carl. “Governor Defends Reinecke Proposal on Violence News.” Los Angeles Times, June 13, 1970, A1.

Jones, Jack. “State to Open Center for Aerospace Jobless.” Los Angeles Times, July 30, 1971, A1.

Los Angeles Times. “Reagan May Select Congressman to Fill Finch’s State Job.” January 8, 1969, A3.

Los Angeles Times. “Reinecke Urges Private Audit on Queen Mary; Cites Waste of Money on Huge Project; State Lands Commission to Study Request.” March 26, 1971, A1.

Los Angeles Times. “San Diego Plans $1.5 Mil for GOP Parley; State Officials Confident of Acceptance for National Convention.” June 30, 1971, pp. 3.

Trombley, William. “UC Teaching Load Hit as Too Light.” Los Angeles Times, October 16, 1971, A1.


Lieutenant Governor Robert Finch and Governor Ronald Reagan, 1967-1969


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The relationship between California Lieutenant Governor Robert Finch and Governor Ronald Reagan can best be described as strained. There were a couple of reasons for the difficult relations between the two. First, Finch hailed from the more moderate wing of the Republican Party, and had toiled on behalf of GOP elected officials and causes for many years. Reagan, meanwhile, represented the avant-garde of the Republican Party, the much more conservative folks who had been shaken from their slumber during Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign of 1964.

Second, Finch out-polled Reagan statewide during the 1966 election, which, while little-noticed by the national media in the aftermath of Reagan’s defeat of incumbent Governor Pat Brown, was a point of influence for Finch. In a post-election spirit of unity, Governor-elect Reagan sought to immediately include Finch as part of his team by naming him to head up welfare reform efforts in California state government (Associated Press, 1966). Likewise, Finch, in at attempt to reach out to GOP conservatives, announced his intention to propose an anti-pornography bill (Associated Press, 1966). But, as time went on, Finch began to carve his own path in state government and openly oppose Reagan on public policy matters.

First, in early 1967, the Lieutenant Governor on his own initiative proposed the formation of three new legislative committees (Zeman, 1967). Then, Finch announced that he opposed the budget cuts to California’s higher education system that had been proposed by Reagan, and indicated he was trying to negotiate a compromise between Reagan and those on the UC regents and the trustees of the state college system who opposed the reductions (Trombley, 1967). Finch further distanced himself from Reagan’s political perspective by declaring that capital punishment in California should be applied in a much narrower fashion (Los Angeles Times, 1967).

Perhaps in response to Finch’s decision to carve his own political path away from Reagan’s, the Governor publicly proposed–all the while effusively praising Finch–that the Governor and Lieutenant Governor should be elected as a ticket (Lembke, 1967).  It is apparent that the two were at odds, and a breaking point may have been inevitable. Indeed, that rupture occurred in August of 1967 when Finch, at a joint press conference with Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh, unveiled a joint Republican-Democratic anti-poverty proposal. However, Reagan claimed he was adamantly opposed to such a plan and was furious at Finch for appearing in public with the presumed 1970 Democratic contender for Governor against him (Los Angeles Times, 1967). That was the low public point of the relationship between the two, as the remainder of 1967 saw no public animosity between them, though Finch in an interview towards the end of the year made no apologies for his willingness to speak out (Zeman, 1967).

Public sparring between Finch and Reagan subsided in 1968, but this author suspects that relations may have not have been very cozy, simply due to Reagan’s favorite-son bid for the 1968 GOP presidential nomination, and Finch’s key role as an operative for Richard Nixon. After Nixon secured the GOP presidential nod, rumors began to spread that Finch would depart Sacramento for Washington in order to serve Nixon in some capacity, and Finch was indeed appointed by Nixon to serve as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.

The animosity that was apparent in the relationship between Robert Finch and Ronald Reagan highlights a critical problem in states that choose to elect a stand-alone Lieutenant Governor: the possibility of different perspectives on policy issues, which can hamper the implementation of a Governor’s political and policy objectives. While divergent at times, the relationship between Finch and Reagan would not reach the depths seen in the future, and Reagan would see to it that Finch’s successor would be very loyal to him and his aims.


Associated Press (1966, November 17). Reagan Says He Will Consult People on Curing State’s Ills. Los Angeles Times, pp. 3.

Associated Press (1966, November 18). Finch Will Propose Anti-Smut Measure to New Legislature. Los Angeles Times, pp. 2.

Lembke, Daryl (1967, July 14). Reagan Asks Change in State Election System. Los Angeles Times, pp. 30.

Los Angeles Times (1967, April 13). Finch Declares Death Penalty is Used Too Broadly by State. Los Angeles Times, pp. 3.

Los Angeles Times (1967, August 3). Monaghan Supports Finch in Disclosure of Poverty Plans. Los Angeles Times, pp. 3.

Trombley, William (1967, February 28). Finch Opposes College Across-Board Slashes. Los Angeles Times, pp. 3.

Zeman, R. (1967, January 28). Finch Calls for New Legislative Committees. Los Angeles Times, pp. 2.

Zeman, Ray (1967, October 12). A Busy Man-Robert Finch. Los Angeles Times, pp. C4.


Lieutenant Governor Glenn Anderson and Governor Pat Brown: 1959-1967


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Publisher’s Note: This is the first post in a series dedicated to assessing the relationship between California’s Lieutenant Governors and the Governors whom they served under, from 1959 until 2014.

A casual glance at the relationship between Lieutenant Governor Glenn Anderson and Governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown shows a spirit of cooperation between the two, with Brown delegating tasks to Anderson, and the Lieutenant Governor studiously avoiding any appearance of conflict with Brown’s legislative agenda. However, a more nuanced study of their relationship over time appears to show Governor Brown displaying growing unease with Anderson as his deputy, especially after the Watts Riot and Anderson’s role in that event became public fodder.

In the early years of their service together, Brown designated the Lieutenant Governor as an official member of his cabinet, and in 1963 appointed him to serve as coordinator with local government. Later in 1963, during an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Anderson indicated his primary task was assisting with “…helping to sell the Governor’s program,” and he expressed no desire to publicly criticize Brown. Interestingly, Anderson also expressed during that interview a strong reluctance to the possibility of carrying out one of the mandated duties of the Lieutenant Governor, that of casting a tie-breaking vote in the State Senate if called upon to do so (9/1/63, G2).

However, beginning with the 1962 Democratic primary, signs begin to show that Brown may have not completely supported Anderson. During the 1962 primary, Anderson found himself with an opponent, none other than the incumbent District Attorney of Los Angeles County, William B. McKesson. Could Governor Brown have stepped in and dissuaded McKesson from running against Anderson? Quite possibly, but that does not appear to have occurred; Anderson survived the primary, and went on to be re-elected in November for a second term along with Brown.

Beginning in 1965, Brown again began appearing in news items related to potential opponents to Anderson. In February, 1965, Brown denied reports that he had decided to support Assembly Speaker Jess Unruh over Anderson for the post in 1966, and again reiterated his support for the incumbent Lieutenant Governor. And, in the aftermath of the 1965 Watts Riot, as Anderson’s role in summoning the National Guard to Los Angeles was debated, those news items began to appear more frequently, and Brown’s support appeared more tepid.

As Acting Governor during Governor Brown’s trip to Greece in August of 1965, Anderson was in charge when the Watts Riot broke out. The Lieutenant Governor appears to have delayed by several hours issuing an order for the National Guard to be called out to the streets of Los Angeles. In early December, 1965, the McCone Commission, the official body charged with investigating the root causes of the Watts Riot indicated that Anderson “hesitated when he should have acted” when directing the Guard out of their armories.

And, Governor Brown did not defend Anderson’s actions as Acting Governor during the Watts crisis until December 24, 1965, eighteen days after the McCone Commission had scolded the Lieutenant Governor. It appears that Brown waited until Christmas Eve, a day in which newspaper reading isn’t at the top of everyone’s list, so that little media attention would be placed upon his defense of Anderson. In the aftermath of Watts, Sam Yorty, the Mayor of Los Angeles, indicated to the Los Angeles Times that he had proposed to Brown the idea of running against Anderson in the 1966 Democratic primary election. According to Yorty, Brown pondered the idea, then rejected it (11/4/65, pp. 3).

The 1966 Democratic primary election saw Anderson draw two opponents. One of those opponents to Anderson, Lloyd Hand, may have been Brown’s stealth candidate in that particular race. First, Hand, prior to suddenly deciding to run for Lieutenant Governor one Friday afternoon in Washington, worked in the Johnson Administration as his liaison to California, and Brown’s close ties to LBJ were something the Governor made no attempt to hide. Indeed, according to the Los Angeles Times Brown appeared quite unsure about Anderson as his deputy publicly as the primary election drew nearer, indicating that he “had not discouraged anyone from running” for the job, and indicated of Hand that he was an “intelligent, public-spirited young man with tremendous possibilities. I am for Glenn Anderson” (3/24/66, pp. 30).

Those words hardly amounted to a ringing endorsement of Anderson, and while Anderson survived the primary, both he and Brown lost the November election; Anderson to Bob Finch, and Brown to Ronald Reagan. Thus, it is clear that Brown’s relationship with Anderson was not as strong as one might have assumed.

California’s Lieutenant Governor: Election and Appointment


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Electing the Lieutenant Governor

According to the National Lieutenant Governors Association (, California is among the 18 states that elect separately the Lieutenant Governor and Governor. For many years, California elections functioned with a closed primary election system, where voters registered to a political party could select their party’s nominee only, and all the nominees of the various parties competed against one another in the general election in November.

Now, with the advent of the top two primary system, voters can select from any candidate, whether they are affiliated with a political party or not, but only the top two candidates move on to the general election. In the June 2014 election, the top two primary did not result in any difference in the party makeup of nominees for the office, with the Democratic nominee (incumbent Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom) receiving the top spot, and the GOP nominee (former state fire board member Ron Nehring) winning second place.

Appointing the Lieutenant Governor

Since 1958, three vacancies have occurred during the middle of a term in the Lieutenant Governor’s office. The first two vacancies resulted in direct appointment by the Governor, during a time when legislative concurrence in such appointments was not required. The third vacancy in 2009 resulted in a bit of a standoff between the Governor and legislative leaders for a time before the gave their consent. And, during the third vacancy, an Acting Lieutenant Governor automatically assumed the office for a period of time to carry out the duties.

First, in January of 1969, Congressman Ed Reinecke was appointed by Governor Reagan to become Lieutenant Governor, filling the void left by Robert Finch, who departed to become Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Richard Nixon. Then, in September of 1974, Reinecke was forced to resign after being convicted of perjury while in office, leaving the post vacant with only three months left to go in the term. Governor Reagan, after considering his options, appointed State Senator John Harmer–who also happened to be the GOP nominee for the job in the November general election–to be the Lieutenant Governor for the final 12 weeks in the term. However, officially assuming the office for which he was running didn’t help Harmer in the general election, as he lost to the Democratic nominee, State Senator Mervyn Dymally.

Finally, in early November of 2009, incumbent Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, which resulted in two actions. First, according to the California Government Code (Title 1, Division 4, Chapter 4, Article 2, Section 1775), when a vacancy in the Lieutenant Governor’s office occurs, the chief deputy automatically assumes the duties of the office, until a formal successor is appointed. In this case, Mona Pasquil became California’s first Acting Lieutenant Governor on November 5th, 2009, and continued to carry out such duties as sitting on the University of California Board of Regents and the State Lands Commission. However, the powers of the office of Lieutenant Governor (most notably, serving as Acting Governor during the absence of the Governor) devolved upon the President Pro Tem of the State Senate, then Darrell Steinberg, for the duration of the vacancy.

The second action related to the vacancy was the appointment later that month by Governor Schwarzenegger of a formal successor to the office, State Senator Abel Maldonado. However, since 1974, the rules regarding the appointment of state constitutional officers had changed, and this appointment now required confirmation of both houses of the California Legislature. After some back and forth between Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders through early 2010, including a formal rejection by the State Assembly of Maldonado’s nomination, he was formally confirmed as Lieutenant Governor in April of 2010 by a 51-17 vote in the Assembly, and a 25-7 vote in the upper house. However, Maldonado was defeated by Gavin Newsom in the general election in November of 2010. Thus, while California has not seen many vacancies occur in the office of Lieutenant Governor since 1958, two of the three vacancies have been, from a political perspective, rather interesting to observe.



California’s Lieutenant Governor: Statutory Responsibilities


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Like the California Constitution, statutory law in California provides the lieutenant governor with only a few specific duties, one of which might soon be abolished. First, the lieutenant governor does sit as an ex-officio member of the California State University (CSU) board of trustees, which does provide the office some clout with regards to student-centered issues.

In addition, the lieutenant governor presides as Chair of the California Commission for Economic Development. This commission was established in 1971 to serve as a bi-partisan advisory board on several policy areas related to economic development, and its membership consists of six appointed legislators and ten appointed private sector members. To underscore the bi-partisan nature of the group, the vice-chair of the commission must hail from a different political party than the lieutenant governor.  By some accounts, the commission has seen little activity since the mid-1990’s, with an occasional meeting being held now and then, the most recent apparently having occurred in April of 2013.  And, no roster of commission members is available via the lieutenant governor’s website as of May 29, 2014.

Another task the lieutenant governor is charged with according to state statute is to serve as a member (one of three, along with the Controller and Director of Finance) of the State Lands Commission. According to their website, the Commission is tasked with management of “sovereign” lands–better known as tidelands–extending from the coast to three miles out to sea, and “school” lands, the approximately 470,000 acres of land that remain granted to the state by Congress in 1853 for the benefit of public education, and additional 800,000 acres where the state, despite no longer having ownership, still retains mineral rights. In essence, the Commission appears to be involved heavily with geothermal, oil. mining, and other mineral-related issues, and clearly is the most influential commission or board the lieutenant governor sits on, owing to its 3-person membership, rotating chairmanship, and significant number of formal activities.

A final commission that California’s lieutenant governor is a member of–and one that may well be abolished soon–is the California Collider Commission. This board apparently was created in the 1980’s to help develop a super-collider project in the Golden State, and according to scattered news archives, appears to have seen its zenith in the late 1980’s as various states developed proposals for just such a project to be presented to the federal government. This commission does not appear to have met since that time, and due to its archaic nature, has been proposed as part of AB 2763 (2014) to be dissolved.

Thus, state statutes do provide California’s lieutenant governor some, though not a great deal, of significant responsibilities.



California’s Lieutenant Governor: Constitutional Duties



The California Constitution provides the lieutenant governor with only three formal duties. First, in Article 2, Section 17, the lieutenant governor is tasked with carrying out “recall duties” if  a formal attempt to remove the governor from office is ever carried out, a duty that can also be performed by the state controller in the event the state’s second-in-command is unable or unwilling to perform it. Political history on this front is rather scant, but in 2003, the lieutenant governor serving at the time, Cruz Bustamante, did carry out this task by officially scheduling the recall of then-Governor Gray Davis.

The second formal duty assigned to the lieutenant governor can be found in Article 5, Section 9, where he is designated as President of the California State Senate, and has a casting (tie-breaking) vote in that body, though in practice he rarely appears at Senate sessions other than during very formal events, such as the opening of a new session or the presentation of the State of the State address by the governor.

The third formal constitutional duty that the lieutenant governor is assigned is to serve as a member of the Board of Regents for the University of California (UC). The UC system is the only one of California’s three higher education systems to be formally noted within the constitution, and the lieutenant governor serves in an ex-officio capacity.

These three constitutional duties leave the lieutenant governor a bit of room, but not much, for political movement. Carrying out recall duties can be fraught with political danger if the lieutenant is from the same political party as the governor (as was the case in 2003), or could easily escalate into an exercise looking something less than dignified if the lieutenant and the governor hail from different political parties. And, presiding over the state senate in sessions other than very formal ones, is frowned upon by senate leadership, which leaves little room for political growth as well. Finally, serving as a UC regent can help boost the political profile of the lieutenant governor, especially during times when students may be seeking a member of their governing board to go to bat for them on a controversial issue, such as increases in student tuition. 

Thus, the state constitution does not assign many tasks for the lieutenant governor to perform, and there is little room for political growth via exercising constitutional duties, due to the imposition of formal and informal constraints.    

California’s Lieutenant Governor: Overview

California’s office of lieutenant governor provides quite a contrast to its contemporaries discussed previously in this blog, the lieutenant governors of Alaska and Hawaii. As the reader will see, California’s second-in-command does not by either statute or constitutional mandate direct a state agency, and the lieutenant governor in California does not have to be elected on the same ticket as the governor, which has made for some unique relationships over the years.

Specifically, I will focus on the following aspects of the Lieutenant Governor of California: 1) constitutional responsibilities; 2) statutory responsibilities; 3) the formal process of election to the office; 4) the formal rule of appointment to the office in case of a vacancy, and an assessment of the three vacancies that have occurred in the lieutenant governor’s office, in 1969, 1974, and 2009, and how those vacancies were filled; 4) the personalities who have held the office between 1959 and the present, and the nature of their relationship with the governor under whom they have served.

Thus, this should be an interesting look at California’s lieutenant governor, and I invite you to follow along over the next few weeks and months.

Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor: Relations with the Governor & Unofficial Duties


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The candidates for governor and lieutenant governor in Hawaii run separately in the primary election, and then the winners of both primaries then run as a team in the general election, which can be a dilemma for the junior partner if they are not who the gubernatorial nominee preferred to be their running mate. And, being elected as part of a ticket can mean multiple or few unofficial responsibilities for the state’s second-in-command, depending upon their relationship. If there is mutual trust in the relationship, the lieutenant governor will take on assignments entrusted to them by the governor above and beyond their official duties. But, if their relationship is weak, acrimony can easily end up being the result. Political history in Hawaii since statehood provides us some examples.

First, the relations between Governor John Burns and his first lieutenant governor, William Quinn, appear to have been so strong that Burns entrusted the care of the state judiciary to him by appointing Quinn as chief justice of the supreme court in 1966. On the other hand, Quinn’s successor as lieutenant governor, Tom Gill, was not Burn’s choice in the 1966 primary, and thus the pragmatic Burns and progressive Gill endured a stormy relationship for four years, culminating in an unsuccessful campaign by the lieutenant governor against Burns in the 1970 governor’s primary election.  However, Gill’s successor as lieutenant governor, George Ariyoshi, who was Burn’s preferred lieutenant governor candidate in the 1970 primary, apparently served so capably that Burns didn’t hesitate when he stepped down as governor late in 1973 facing a terminal illness and allowed Ariyoshi to become acting governor until he was elected to the office in his own right in 1974.

Interestingly, Ariyoshi cycled through three lieutenant governors in his three terms, but the relationship he endured with Jean King (the first female lieutenant governor in the state’s history from 1978-1982), parallels the bitterness that was the hallmark of the Burns/Gill relationship. King, like Gill, decided to run against Ariyoshi for Governor in 1982, and like Gill, was defeated. More recently, James “Duke” Aiona doesn’t appear to have enjoyed a particularly close relationship with Governor Linda Lingle, as nothing notable can be found regarding any extra assignments he may have received, other than his mandated responsibilities. Aiona appears to have focused on substance abuse as his particular issue, and he organized a statewide conference on the dilemma and was named to several national advisory boards devoted to finding solutions to the problem.

Brian Schatz, the first lieutenant governor to serve under Neil Abercrombie, from 2010-2012, does appear to have enjoyed a trusted relationship with the governor. Abercrombie appointed Schatz as his formal liaison with the federal government, and as his representative to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group. On his own initiative, Schatz actively engaged with clean energy issues in Hawaii. Schatz’s successor, Shan Tsutsui, appears to have a more distant relationship with Governor Abercrombie. The governor tapped Tsutsui to lead a sports development initiative, and a field office for the lieutenant governor opened in Maui (perhaps as an incentive for Tsutsui to take the position when Schatz became a U.S. Senator), but Tsutsui also lost two staff positions in the recently approved 2013-14 state budget. On his own, Tsutsui has taken on after-school issues as a policy task.  

This concludes my look at the lieutenant governor’s office in Hawaii.  The next lieutenant governor to be assessed over the next few weeks and months will be California’s second-in-command.


Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor: Permanent and Temporary Succession


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Hawaii has utilized a unique approach to the issue of succession to the office of lieutenant governor, and the format used in the case of permanent and temporary vacancies differ somewhat. Title 4, Section 26-2 of the Hawaii Statutes provides guidance on this dilemma. First, when a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of lieutenant governor, the next official in line to succeed is the State Senate President, and then after him or her, it is the Speaker of the Hawaii. But, the assumption of office is not automatic, as there is a clause that allows those two offices to be bypassed in succession to the lieutenant governor’s seat if, according to Section 26-2, they do not “resign promptly,” a period of time for which there is given no specific definition. 

And, even though Hawaii has experienced the dominance of one political party for many years, it is possible to predict a situation where a legislator of one political party would not want to join the administration of another party and the governor most probably would not want them to join their administration–here it is critical to keep in mind the ticket system for election of the governor and lieutenant governor in Hawaii, where they are elected together, not separately, and are thus a partnership, to some extent.  Recent political history provides some clarity on this potential statutory dilemma. When, for example, the incumbent lieutenant governor was appointed by the governor to the United States Senate in late 2012, the senate president, apparently after giving it some thought, did indeed resign “promptly” and join the administration of Governor Neil Abercrombie, thus avoiding any kind of succession crisis. However, Section 26-2 does permit the two legislative leaders to “decline the powers and duties” of the lieutenant governor’s office if they so choose without any harm to their own official standing. In that case, the line of succession extends automatically to the attorney general, finance director, comptroller, the director of taxation, and then the director of human resources. None of the aforementioned offices are elected, they are all part of the governor’s cabinet, and they do not have the option of turning down an appointment as lieutenant governor.

Now, in the case of a temporary vacancy in the lieutenant governor’s office (defined by Section 26-2 as being either disabled or temporarily absent from the state), legislative leadership is not referenced at all. Rather, the power and duties of the office devolve automatically to the list of cabinet members mentioned mentioned above, starting with the attorney general who then becomes acting lieutenant governor for the duration of the disability or absence. Also, in this case, a subsection of section 26-2 does provide for the appointment by the acting lieutenant governor of a staff member within the office to perform the “functions” of the position, but that is all. Thus, the person designated under this subsection is not able to become, in essence, an “acting acting” lieutenant governor.   

The Hawaiian Lieutenant Governor: Statutory Responsibilities

As a purely executive branch function, it should be expected that Hawaii’s lieutenant governor would have some, if not a great deal of, administrative influence. And, Hawaiian lawmakers indeed have ensured through Title 4, Section 26 of the Hawaii Statutes that the second-ranking elected office in the state does carry out two specific administrative functions.

First, the lieutenant governor is officially designated as the secretary of state for intergovernmental relations. In this capacity, the lieutenant governor records all executive and legislative branch actions, certifies state documents, and maintains a record of rules that are exercised by all executive branch agencies as they carry out their duties. However, the lieutenant governor is not involved in overseeing elections in the state of Hawaii, a function nominally reserved for secretaries of state in most of the United States. In Hawaii, there is a separate office called the Chief Elections Officer that administers the elections process at the state level.

Further, the lieutenant governor does have the statutory ability designate another officer of state government (Section 26-1 leaves that designation undetermined and thus up to the LG to decide) to authenticate documents on his or her behalf during temporary absence from the state or during illness suffered by them. Section 26-1 is adamant that any documents authenticated in such a manner by their designee must state the words “for the lieutenant governor.” In addition, such appointees are most assuredly not serving in a capacity as acting lieutenant governor–they have signing powers only, as sub-section C of Article 26-1 definitively points out.

The second formal administrative power granted to Hawaii’s lieutenant governor in Section 26-1 is their supervision of the Office of Information Practices (OIP). OIP implements and administers the Uniform Information Practices Act, and exercises jurisdiction over the Hawaiian “sunshine law, which governs open meeting rules for local and state governments in the Aloha State.

Thus, it is apparent that the lieutenant governor in Hawaii, through their work overseeing the document recording process and administering privacy and open meeting rules, is most certainly not at a loss for things to do, though they are relatively low key & bureaucratic in nature, and thus lacking a certain dynamic quality. In the next edition of this blog, succession to the office of lieutenant governor in Hawaii will be reviewed.