Lt. Governor? Lt. Governor? We don’t need no stinkin’ Lt. Governor.


“There’s also more of an ethical issue of why is there this position in state government that’s one and only job is to sit around and wait for the governor to die?” – Kris Frieswick

As a Libertarian I don’t care what you do in the privacy of your own home or bedroom. Nor do I care what you choose to put in your own body. However, I am fiscally conservative, that is, I expect the government to run as lean as possible and I ask that they be good stewards of taxpayer money.

As our own state, and states across the country struggle with poor economic conditions I, like many  before me, have to ask the question: “Do we really need a lieutenant governor?” Several states say no, as do I; that’s why I’ve decided to run for said “office”.

As your next (and hopefully last) Lieutenant Governor I would be happy to serve voluntarily, but I would collect no salary and hire no staff, thereby saving taxpayers over $1 million for each year of the term (totaling $4 million over the term’s duration) I would also work toward abolishing the office of Lieutenant Governor.

If I Win

Even should I win, a constitutional amendment would be needed to abolish the lieutenant governor’s office.   Here’s how the RI Constitution addresses the “job””Article IV, Section 3: “When the governor-elect shall die, remove from the state, refuse to serve; become insane, or be otherwise incapacitated, the lieutenant governor-elect shall be qualified as governor at the beginning of the term for which the governor was elected.”Article IX, Section 9: “Section 9. Vacancy in office of governor. — If the office of the governor shall be vacant by reason of death, resignation, impeachment or inability to serve, the lieutenant governor shall shall fill the office of governor, and exercise the powers and authority appertaining thereto, until a governor is qualified to act, or until the office is filled at the next election.”

So, in essence, everybody who is seeking or gets elected to this office is simply using it for their own pet projects, while in reality, they have no actual power vested from the office.  They are asking the taxpayers to pay them  to hang out as they promote their own personal agenda, whatever it might be…on your dime.

Constitutional Role

We do have a Constitutional provision for the absence of a lieutenant governor:”Article IX, Section 10. Vacancies in both offices of governor and lieutenant governor. — If the offices of governor and lieutenant governor be both vacant by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, or inability to serve, the speaker of the house of representatives shall in like manner fill the office of governor during such vacancy.”

Now, I’m not a constitutional scholar, but it appears it would only take a simple amendment or revision to the RI Constitution to eliminate the office. Yes, there is precedence for this:  Up until 2003, the lieutenant governor served as presiding officer of the RI State Senate, however in 2003 the Senate was allowed to elect its own officer (Art. VIII, Sec. 1 and 2). Moreover, a quick scan of the full text of the RI Constitution shows that there have been at least three articles repealed since its ratification.

I submit to you that Rhode Island does not need this office, and that by eliminating the Lieutenant Governorship we could save the taxpayers over $1 million per year.

About Author

Tony Jones, a lifelong Rhode Islander, is a local musician, radio host and blogger. He currently serves as vice chairman of the Libertarian Party of RI and is the party's 2014 candidate for Lieutenant Governor, running on a platform that advocates for the elimination of the office.