A Four-Year Term for New Hampshire Governors?

New Hampshire and Vermont are the two states that still only grant governors two-year terms. Will New Hampshire leave Vermont on its own? From Seacoast ...
by | January 14, 2009
 

New Hampshire and Vermont are the two states that still only grant governors two-year terms. Will New Hampshire leave Vermont on its own? From Seacoast Online:

PORTSMOUTH -- State Sen. Martha Fuller Clark hopes a new bill on an old idea will gain the support of the Legislature and change the term of governor from two years to four.

Past attempts to expand the term to four years have repeatedly failed as detractors felt two-year terms allow voters to hold the state's highest elected official accountable. But Fuller Clark said it is not the best way to provide good leadership for the state.

"I believe if we're going to move into an era of government efficiency and long-range planning, it makes no sense for a governor to only have two years," said Fuller Clark. "But we also need to look at what mechanisms are in place to assure we can remove a governor that doesn't live up to expectations."

But, don't expect this change to happen anytime soon. If New Hampshire were a ballot measure state, Clark's proposal would have a chance. It isn't. Here's how a Seacoast editorial describes the process for changing the New Hampshire Constitution:

If successful, Clark's effort would become a constitutional amendment that voters might be able to vote on in 2010. But being successful will require jumping over the major hurdles of reaching two-thirds passage in the House and Senate and then two-thirds approval by the voters.

Mustering a majority in favor of removing a provision that has existed for the entirety of New Hampshire's history sounds like an uphill fight. Getting two-thirds seems nearly impossible.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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