The US has a federal democratic republic form of government that was set up by the Constitution. Under this form of government, governors are considered the heads of their respective states, and they report directly to the President of the US. On the other hand, Senators are not the “head” of a part of government. Instead, they are representatives of their respective states.
While governors and Senators are important figures in the U.S. political system, it has always been a point of debate over who is more influential. Let’s go ahead and learn more about their roles and responsibilities to find out.
|Manages affairs of the state||Ensures the interests of respective states are represented in the political process|
|One governor for each state||Two Senators for each state|
|Has control over revenue-related bills||No control on revenue-related bills|
|Can block state legislation||Can block any proposed legislation|
|Serves a 4-year term||Serves a 6-year term|
A governor is a chief executive of a state. Each state elects its own governor, and the governor heads the state just as the president heads the whole country. Each governor is directly elected by the citizens of each state.
Governors are not subject to federal authorities (unless otherwise stated by the federal constitution). As governors function as the head of government and head of state, they have the authority to implement state laws and manage its affairs. A governor may also have considerable control of his jurisdiction’s budget. He can appoint state officials and judges as well as participate in creating state laws.
In states where the National Guard is not federalized, the governor acts as its commander-in-chief. This would also include the state’s defense force, such as the police. The governor can sometimes hold partial to absolute authority to pardon a criminal sentence. They also manage natural disasters within their states, such as fires, tornados, floods, hurricanes, and more.
All U.S. governors are directly elected and serve four-year terms with the exception of Vermont and New Hampshire governors, who only serve 2 years in office.
Governors have the power to veto state bills. In 43 states, the governor has the power to reject certain provisions of an appropriations bill without rejecting the whole bill, a power not even the president wields.
A U.S. Senator is a member of the Senate, the counterpart of the House of Representatives in the United States Congress. Like the governor, Senators are elected directly by the people in their states. There are two Senators elected for each state, who each serve for 6 years. The Senate performs many important duties and responsibilities including creating and passing laws. They have the authority to approve many presidential appointees and treaties with other countries. Part of their job is to oversee the performance of the president’s administration. Their main responsibility is to ensure that the interests of their respective states are represented in the nation’s political process.
Senators can introduce new laws. They also hold the most power to deliberate, modify and block proposed laws (except revenue-related bills). Senators can elect the vice president of the country in the event of a tie in the state electoral votes. The Senate can preside over impeachment proceedings initiated in Congress.
Governor vs Senator
Now that the roles of each have been discussed, what’s the difference between a governor and a Senator? Does a governor hold more influence and power compared to a member of the Senate?
Each state has the power to elect one governor and two Senators.
A governor is the head of a state, while a Senator represents the interests of their state in the national political process. A governor is in charge of running state affairs but has no direct control in national politics. A governor is held responsible for their state and its citizens. The governor has no (or minimal) power at the national level. However, they are responsible and held accountable for the well-being of their state and its people.
A Senator, on the other hand, is tasked with passing laws, at the national level, dealing with their jurisdiction’s welfare and interest. Senators also vote (on behalf of their states) to pass federal bills and laws that may affect the entire nation.
A Senator votes on behalf of their state to pass federal laws and bills; however, they don’t have much power at the state level. The Senator’s job is to represent his state on the national level, ensuring their needs and wants are taken care of.
While a governor possesses considerable control of his jurisdiction’s budget, a Senator cannot exercise its power over revenue-related laws. In some instances a governor has complete authority over the National Guard, while a Senator does not have any sort of authority over this matter.
A governor can choose to block provisions in a state bill (line-item veto) while the Senate can block both federal and state legislation from being enacted. While both are elected into office, a governor serves for only 4 years while a Senator stays for 6 years in office. Only one governor and two Senators can be elected to represent each state, so the U.S. has 50 governors and 100 Senators at any given time.
Because both political positions deal with different platforms in the government, neither the governor nor the senator truly outranks the other. Both are influential in their own spheres of government and look after the interests of the people in their state.