Civics 101: What Does Our Minnesota Governor Do?

In the primaries and elections of 2022, Minnesotans will be voting for key roles in state and local governments. Here’s a primer on who we vote for and how they serve the citizens of Minnesota:

State Seal of Minnesota

The Governor of Minnesota is an elected constitutional officer, the head of the executive branch and the highest state office in Minnesota. The governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and has no term limit.

Minnesota’s governor is the commander-in-chief of the state’s militia and naval forces and is charged with upholding and seeing to the faithful execution of all laws. Along with the Attorney General of Minnesota and the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, the governor sits on the state Board of Pardons. However, the power of pardon does not extend to cases of impeachment.

Other duties and privileges of the office include: Requesting written opinions from any executive officer on any matter relating to that officer’s duties, Making appointments (with the advice and consent of the Senate, when the offices of the Secretary of State, Attorney General, Auditor, and other state and district offices not otherwise provided for by law become vacant), Appointing Commissioners, Appointing notaries public.

Similar to the U.S. President, the governor has veto power over bills passed by the Minnesota State Legislature. As in most states, but unlike the U.S. President, the governor can also make line-item vetoes, where specific provisions in bills can be stripped out while allowing the overall bill to be signed into law.

The governor of Minnesota must be 25 years old upon assuming office, and must have been a Minnesota resident for one year before the election. Since a 1958 amendment to the Minnesota Constitution governors are elected to four-year terms, with no limits on the number of terms they may serve.

Executive Responsibilities:
Administer laws and affairs of the state, appoint heads for departments and agencies, and act as commander-in-chief of state military forces.

Legislative Responsibilities:
Inform legislature of condition of the state, propose a state budget, approve or veto bills passed by the legislature and call emergency legislative sessions.

Judicial Responsibilities:
Appoint judges to vacancies in district, appellate, and supreme courts.

Sources: www.runforoffice.org, ballotpedia.org/Governor_of_Minnesota, and https://www.sos.state.mn.us/about-minnesota/minnesota-government/


Learn About Precinct Caucuses

What they are: Precinct caucuses are local meetings by political parties. They are not run by the government, but by the parties and are considered party activities.

The caucuses are held every two years and are the first in a series of meetings where parties may endorse candidates, select delegates, and set goals and values (called party platforms). 
Raised hands.

Caucuses for the 2022 election cycle will be February 1, 2022 at 7 pm.

Each political party runs their caucus meetings differently.
Check directly with a political party to answer specific

questions about how they are run and where their caucuses are located.

Who can participate in a caucus? To participate, you must be eligible to vote in the next general election and live in the precinct. You also must generally agree with the principles of the political party hosting the caucus.

What happens at a caucus? Each political party runs their caucsu a little differently so check with the local party if you have questions. Typically three main activities take place at caucuses:

1. Choose volunteers who will organize political activities in the precinct or state senate or house district.

2. Discuss issues and ideas (resolutions) for the party to support that will eventually become the party platform.

3. Choose delegates who will endorse candidates at future conventions.

Major Parties: Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party, Legal Marijuana Now Party, Republican Party MN Statues 200.02, subd.7

Minor Parties: Green Party of MN, Independence Party of MN, Libertarian Party of MN

MN Statutes 200.02, subd. 23

Employers are required to allow employees time off to attend caucuses if they receive written a request 10 days before the date.