|Governor of Rhode Island|
|Term length||Four years, renewable once|
|Inaugural holder||Nicholas Cooke|
|Formation||November 7, 1775|
|Deputy||Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island|
The governor of the State of Rhode Island is the head of the executive branch of the government of Rhode Island and serves as commander-in-chief of the state's Army National Guard and Air National Guard. The current governor is Daniel McKee. John W. Davis, Herbert W. Ladd, and Aram J. Pothier each served two non-consecutive stints, while James Fenner served three non-consecutive stints as governor.
|Law and Order||2|
|Rhode Island Party||1|
Colonial Rhode Island, 1640–1775
List of governors of Rhode Island, 1775–present
|#||Governor||Picture||Party||Took office||Left office||Lt. Governor||Notes|
|1||Nicholas Cooke||None||November 7, 1775||May 4, 1778||None||2 years 6 mos.|
|2||William Greene||None||May 4, 1778||May 3, 1786||None||8 years.|
|3||John Collins||None||May 3, 1786||May 5, 1790||None||4 years.|
|4||Arthur Fenner||Country Party||May 5, 1790||October 15, 1805||Samuel J. Potter||15 years. |
Rhode Island ratified the U.S. Constitution on May 29, 1790.
Died in office.
|5||Henry Smith||Country||October 15, 1805||May 7, 1806||7 months.|
|6||Isaac Wilbour||Country||May 7, 1806||May 6, 1807||Himself||1 year.|
|7||James Fenner||Democratic-Republican||May 6, 1807||May 1, 1811||Constant Taber
|8||William Jones||Federalist||May 1, 1811||May 7, 1817||Simeon Martin
|9||Nehemiah R. Knight||Democratic-Republican||May 7, 1817||May 2, 1821||Edward Wilcox||4 years.|
|10||William C. Gibbs||Democratic-Republican||May 2, 1821||May 5, 1824||3 years.|
|11||James Fenner||Democratic-Republican||May 5, 1824||May 4, 1831||Charles Collins||7 years.|
|12||Lemuel H. Arnold||National Republican||May 4, 1831||May 1, 1833||Charles Collins||2 years.|
|13||John B. Francis||Democratic||May 1, 1833||May 2, 1838||Jeffrey Hazard
Benjamin B. Thurston
|14||William Sprague III||Whig||May 2, 1838||May 2, 1839||Joseph Childs||1 year.|
|15||Samuel Ward King||Rhode Island Party||May 2, 1839||May 2, 1843||Byron Diman||4 years.|
|May 1, 1842||January 23, 1843||9 mos.|
|17||James Fenner||Law and Order||May 2, 1843||May 6, 1845||Byron Diman||2 years.|
|May 6, 1845||May 6, 1846||Byron Diman||1 year.|
|19||Byron Diman||Law and Order||May 6, 1846||May 4, 1847||Elisha Harris||1 year.|
|20||Elisha Harris||Whig||May 4, 1847||May 1, 1849||Edward W. Lawton||2 years.|
|21||Henry B. Anthony||Whig||May 1, 1849||May 6, 1851||Thomas Whipple||2 years.|
|22||Philip Allen||Democratic||May 6, 1851||July 20, 1853||William Beach Lawrence
Samuel G. Arnold
|2 years 2 mos.|
|23||Francis M. Dimond||Democratic||July 20, 1853||May 2, 1854||Francis M. Dimond||10 mos.|
|24||William W. Hoppin||Whig||May 2, 1854||May 26, 1857||John J. Reynolds
Anderson C. Rose
Nicholas Brown III
|25||Elisha Dyer||Republican||May 26, 1857||May 31, 1859||Thomas G. Turner||2 years.|
|26||Thomas G. Turner||Republican||May 31, 1859||May 29, 1860||Isaac Saunders||1 year.|
|27||William Sprague IV||Republican||May 29, 1860||March 3, 1863||J. Russell Bullock
Samuel G. Arnold
|2 years 10 mos. Resigned to become a U.S. Senator.|
|28||William C. Cozzens||Democratic||March 3, 1863||May 26, 1863||None.||2 months 23 days. Defeated for election.|
|29||James Y. Smith||Republican||May 26, 1863||May 29, 1866||Seth Padelford
|30||Ambrose Everett Burnside||Republican||May 29, 1866||May 25, 1869||William Greene
|31||Seth Padelford||Republican||May 25, 1869||May 27, 1873||Pardon Stevens
|32||Henry Howard||Republican||May 27, 1873||May 25, 1875||Charles C. Van Zandt||2 years.|
|33||Henry Lippitt||Republican||May 25, 1875||May 29, 1877||Henry Tillinghast Sisson||2 years.|
|34||Charles C. Van Zandt||Republican||May 29, 1877||May 25, 1880||Albert Howard||3 years.|
|35||Alfred H. Littlefield||Republican||May 25, 1880||May 29, 1883||Henry Fay||3 years.|
|36||Augustus O. Bourn||Republican||May 29, 1883||May 26, 1885||Oscar Rathbun||2 years.|
|37||George P. Wetmore||Republican||May 26, 1885||May 29, 1887||Lucius B. Darling||2 years.|
|38||John W. Davis||Democratic||May 29, 1887||May 29, 1888||Samuel R. Honey||1 year.|
|39||Royal C. Taft||Republican||May 29, 1888||May 28, 1889||Enos Lapham||1 year.|
|40||Herbert W. Ladd||Republican||May 28, 1889||May 27, 1890||Daniel Littlefield||1 year.|
|41||John W. Davis||Democratic||May 27, 1890||May 26, 1891||William T. C. Wardwell||1 year.|
|42||Herbert W. Ladd||Republican||May 26, 1891||May 31, 1892||Henry A. Stearns||1 year.|
|43||D. Russell Brown||Republican||May 31, 1892||May 29, 1895||Melville Bull
|44||Charles W. Lippitt||Republican||May 29, 1895||May 25, 1897||Edwin Allen||2 years.|
|45||Elisha Dyer, Jr.||Republican||May 25, 1897||May 29, 1900||Aram J. Pothier
|46||William Gregory||Republican||May 29, 1900||December 16, 1901||Charles D. Kimball||1 year 7 mos. Died in office.|
|47||Charles D. Kimball||Republican||December 16, 1901||January 3, 1903||vacant
George L. Shepley
|1 year 18 days.|
|48||Lucius F. C. Garvin||Democratic||January 3, 1903||January 3, 1905||Frederick H. Jackson||2 years.|
|49||George H. Utter||Republican||January 3, 1905||January 1, 1907||Frederick H. Jackson||2 years.|
|50||James H. Higgins||Democratic||January 1, 1907||January 5, 1909||Frederick H. Jackson
|51||Aram J. Pothier||Republican||January 5, 1909||January 5, 1915||Arthur W. Dennis
Emery J. San Souci
|52||R. Livingston Beeckman||Republican||January 5, 1915||January 4, 1921||Emery J. San Souci||6 years.|
|53||Emery J. San Souci||Republican||January 4, 1921||January 2, 1923||Harold Gross||2 years.|
|54||William S. Flynn||Democratic||January 2, 1923||January 6, 1925||Felix A. Toupin||2 years.|
|55||Aram J. Pothier||Republican||January 6, 1925||February 4, 1928||Nathaniel W. Smith
Norman S. Case
|3 years 1 month.|
|56||Norman S. Case||Republican||February 4, 1928||January 3, 1933||James G. Connelly||4 years 11 months.|
|57||Theodore Francis Green||Democratic||January 3, 1933||January 5, 1937||Robert E. Quinn||4 years. |
Elected to U.S. Senate in 1936 and served from 1937 to 1961.
|58||Robert E. Quinn||Democratic||January 5, 1937||January 3, 1939||Raymond E. Jordan||2 years.|
|59||William Henry Vanderbilt III||Republican||January 3, 1939||January 7, 1941||James O. McManus||Two years. |
Defeated for re-election.
|60||J. Howard McGrath||Democratic||January 7, 1941||October 6, 1945||Louis W. Cappelli||4 years 9 months. Resigned to become United States Solicitor General.|
|61||John Pastore||Democratic||October 6, 1945||December 19, 1950||John S. McKiernan||5 years two months. Appointed to U.S. Senate and served from 1950 to 1976.|
|62||John S. McKiernan||Democratic||December 19, 1950||January 2, 1951||None||Two weeks.|
|63||Dennis J. Roberts||Democratic||January 2, 1951||January 6, 1959||John S. McKiernan
Armand H. Cote
|64||Christopher Del Sesto||Republican||January 6, 1959||January 3, 1961||John A. Notte, Jr.||2 years. |
Defeated for re-election.
|65||John A. Notte, Jr.||Democratic||January 3, 1961||January 1, 1963||Edward P. Gallogly||2 years.|
|66||John Chafee||Republican||January 1, 1963||January 7, 1969||Edward P. Gallogly
Joseph O'Donnell, Jr.
|6 years. |
Defeated for re-election.
U.S. Senator 1976 to 1999.
|67||Frank Licht||Democratic||January 7, 1969||January 2, 1973||J. Joseph Garrahy||4 years.|
|68||Philip W. Noel||Democratic||January 2, 1973||January 4, 1977||J. Joseph Garrahy|
|69||J. Joseph Garrahy||Democratic||January 4, 1977||January 1, 1985||Thomas R. DiLuglio||8 years.|
|70||Edward D. DiPrete||Republican||January 1, 1985||January 1, 1991||Richard A. Licht
Roger N. Begin
|6 years. |
Defeated for re-election.
Imprisoned for corruption after leaving office.
|71||Bruce Sundlun||Democratic||January 1, 1991||January 3, 1995||Roger N. Begin
|4 years. |
Defeated in Democratic primary in 1994.
|72||Lincoln Almond||Republican||January 3, 1995||January 7, 2003||Robert Weygand
Charles J. Fogarty
|8 years. |
First governor to serve a four-year term.
|73||Donald Carcieri||Republican||January 7, 2003||January 4, 2011||Charles J. Fogarty
Elizabeth H. Roberts
|74||Lincoln Chafee||Independent[a]||January 4, 2011||May 30, 2013||Elizabeth H. Roberts||4 years. |
Did not seek re-election.
|Democratic[a]||May 30, 2013||January 6, 2015||Elizabeth H. Roberts|
|75||Gina Raimondo||Democratic||January 6, 2015||March 2, 2021||Daniel McKee||Resigned to become United States Secretary of Commerce.|
|76||Daniel McKee||Democratic||March 2, 2021||present||Sabina Matos|
Other high offices held
This is a table of congressional seats, other federal offices, and other governorships held by governors. All representatives and senators mentioned represented Rhode Island except where noted. * Denotes those offices which the governor resigned to take.
|Governor||Gubernatorial term||U.S. Congress||Other offices held|
|Nehemiah R. Knight||1817–1821||S|
|Lemuel H. Arnold||1831–1833||H|
|John Brown Francis||1833–1838||S|
|William Sprague III||1838–1839||H||S|
|Henry B. Anthony||1849–1851||S|
|William Sprague IV||1860–1863||S|
|Ambrose Burnside||1866–1869||S||Commander of the Army of the Potomac|
|George P. Wetmore||1885–1887||S|
|George H. Utter||1905–1907||H|
|Theodore F. Green||1933–1937||S|
|J. Howard McGrath||1941–1945||S||United States Solicitor General*; United States Attorney General|
|John O. Pastore||1945–1950||S*||Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island|
|John Chafee||1963–1969||S||United States Secretary of the Navy|
|Lincoln Chafee||2011–2015||S||Mayor of Warwick, Rhode Island|
|Gina Raimondo||2015–2021||United States Secretary of Commerce*|
Living former governors of Rhode Island
As of March 2021[update], there are six former governors of Rhode Island who are currently living at this time, the oldest governor of Rhode Island being Philip W. Noel (served 1973–1977, born 1931). The most recent governor of Rhode Island to die was J. Joseph Garrahy (served 1977–1985, born 1930) who died on January 24, 2012. The most recently serving governor of Rhode Island to die was Bruce Sundlun (served 1991–1995, born 1920), on July 21, 2011.
|Governor||Gubernatorial term||Date of birth (and age)|
|Philip W. Noel||1973–1977||June 6, 1931|
|Edward D. DiPrete||1985–1991||July 8, 1934|
|Lincoln C. Almond||1995–2003||June 16, 1936|
|Donald Carcieri||2003–2011||December 16, 1942|
|Lincoln Chafee||2011–2015||March 26, 1953|
|Gina Raimondo||2015–2021||May 17, 1971|
- "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
- Table does not include governors from the colonial period, when there were no organized parties in Rhode Island, and governors were generally appointed rather than elected. It also does not include acting governors.
- "Rhode Island Governor Charles Jackson". National Governors Association. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- "Rhode Island Governors 1640 – Present". Rhode Island Secretary of State. State of Rhode Island. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- Burns, Alexander (May 29, 2013). "Lincoln Chafee switches affiliation to Democrat". Politico. Archived from the original on June 9, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-30.
- Governor's digitized records from the Rhode Island State Archives
- Governor of Rhode Island: Proclamations Issued from the Rhode Island State Archives
- Governor's Executive Orders from the Rhode Island State Archives
- Guide to the Governor's Executive Orders from the Rhode Island State Archives
- Guide to the Tavares Collection from the Rhode Island State Archives