Governors Are Not CEO’s

The California legislature is a co-equal branch of government. Governors are not CEO’s but rather more like committee chairs with veto power. They cannot enact legislation without the consent of at least 62 members of the state legislature. To get to those members they must go through two people: the Speaker of the Assembly and the President Pro Tem of the State Senate. Despite their power, few Californians even know their names*.

This is why any evaluation of candidates for governor must include a determination of their ability to gain legislative consent for their agenda. In the absence of legislative approval, those agendas are just words. California’s history is littered with examples of gubernatorial campaign positions rendered irrelevant because of legislative opposition.

When considering a candidate for governor, ask how they propose to gain the consent of the legislature for their agenda and look for clues about how they’ve performed in the past with legislatures, boards of supervisors, school boards or other legislative bodies. The management of legislatures by elected executives is an art at which few excel.

*Anthony Rendon and Toni Atkins.


Originally appeared on Medium, 5/20/18.