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Texas Executive Branch Essays

9.  The Plural Executive

The plural executive in Texas limits the power of the Governor by distributing power usually associated with a chief executive among many elected political leaders. The only executive official appointed by the Governor is the Secretary of State. Other officials are elected independently and do not campaign for office as a unified slate. They do not have to answer to the Governor, nor do they work together as a cabinet in the way that executive officials serve the U.S. President. Party leadership may encourage unity among candidates, but the campaign organizations operate independently of each other. Compare this to the national campaign organization of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates, which is one entity and one choice on the ballot.

This arrangement produces an executive branch whose officials jealously guard their jurisdiction, their power, and their prerogatives. In short, everyone defends his or her turf, and the Governor lacks any formal power to dictate or referee. The Governor is often the nominal head of his or her party in the state, but this does not offset the institutional political base other executives possess. As a result, the executive branch lacks cohesion, with different executives and their agencies often pursuing different goals. Some of the attempts by the framers of the 1876 Constitution to hamstring the Governor, like the short two-year term, have been undone by constitutional amendment; other limitations have been undermined by historical change, like the development of mass media. These changes notwithstanding, the plural executive has proven a durable legacy of the 1876 authors, much to the frustration of many governors.

Government is considered to be the machinery through which a state/ nation is run. (Shaffrey & Fonder, 2002) That said, the United States consists of the Federal government and the state governments. The federal US government is also the central government, established by the United States Constitution. It is in charge of the whole United States while the state governments are in charge of their respective states. State governments that were/are responsible for the creation of the federal government.

Consequently, the United States President is the head of the federal government where as the Governor of Texas is the head of the Texas State. This paper seeks to examine the role and function of the Texas Governor in comparison to that of the US President. Moreover, compare and contrast the structure and operations of both the federal US government and the state government of Texas. Structure. In the federal government, which is also the central government, the President is part of the executive branch which wields power.

Others who constitute this branch include the Vice President and Congress. (USA. gov, 2008) The President is the chief decision maker. He makes major policy decisions that pertain to the economy, foreign policy and the military that consequently affect all the American citizens. His powers are provided for in the Constitution and he is advised by Congress. In the Texas state government, it is the Governor who holds the power. He is the central power therein although still subordinate to the President. (About. com, 2008) This then brings into focus the element of formal and informal power.

Formal power is the kind of power that is provided for by the Constitution. Informal power is not. The powers of the President are provided for in the Constitution and this signifies that he holds formal power. This means is that the federal government is superior and has more powers than the state government. It is for this reason that the federal government can for instance coin money while the state governments cannot. The state government of Texas under the leadership of the Governor is subordinate to the federal/central government.

The powers possessed by the federal government are limited by the US constitution as contained and directed in the 10th Amendment. However, state governments are left to exercise for themselves the powers not outlawed or delegated by the US Constitution. They get their powers from the federal government and from their own state Constitutions. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme authority. (Shaffrey & Fonder, 2002) The Governors of the states hold informal power, however, they can use their positions as launching pads to get to formal powers.

They just have to have the support of the people and be aware and ready to tackle the critical issues that affect the American people. Functions. With the leadership of the President, the federal government is concerned with coining money, appointing department heads, formulating domestic and foreign policies, recommending legislation, signing laws, budgeting in addition to the defense of the US. The states are not allowed to also perform these activities, instead, they focus their strengths in issues of smaller scale for instance education, health, family and contract laws within their respective states. (USA. gov, 2008)

The Governor performs more or less the same duties performed by the President, only that his are at a much lower level, the state rather than the national level. The President operates the federal government with assistance from Congress and defines the roles of the state governments. The state governments under the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor, on their part set forth the roles of the local governments under them. (Hunter, 2006)

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