The Lieutenant Governor is elected independently of the Governor and holds office for four years. The position of Lieutenant Governor is unique in Washington state, in that it falls within both the executive and legislative branches. The state Constitution gives the Lieutenant Governor the following responsibilities: to act as Governor if the Governor is absent from the state or is unable to perform the duties of the office; to be presiding officer (President) of the Senate; and to discharge other duties prescribed by law. The Lieutenant Governor’s duties, by statute, include serving on 10 committees or boards, including as chair of the Senate Rules Committee and the Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations (LCEDIR). As chair of the LCEDIR, and a de facto ambassador for the state, the Lieutenant Governor actively pursues opportunities to enhance economic development and international relations for the state of Washington. Additionally, the Lieutenant Governor serves as chair of the State Capitol Committee; and as a member of the State Finance Committee, Washington Health Care Facilities Authority, Washington Higher Education Facilities Authority, Capital Furnishings Preservation Committee and state Medal of Merit and Medal of Valor committees. The Lieutenant Governor makes appointments to over 35 committees, boards and commissions. In addition to the responsibilities set out by the state’s Constitution, the Lieutenant Governor leads the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, a state agency that maintains policy and programming initiatives that focus on economic development, trade and higher education.
The Office of the Lieutenant Governor improves the lives of the citizens of Washington through its commitment to and fierce advocacy for equal access to opportunity for all -- including communities often left underserved. The Office of the Lieutenant Governor focuses on three critical issue areas: expanding access to higher education, promoting Washington’s international trade relations and improving employment opportunities throughout Washington state.