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Leadership Structure and Branches of Massachusetts Government

Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 2 months, 2 weeks ago


Grade 8 Topic 6.8:

Explain the leadership structure of the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the function of each branch



Why Is Massachusetts A Commonwealth?


File:Unity in Diversity flag.svg Brief Political History of Massachusetts (20 Minutes)



How Did Massachusetts Get Its Name?


According to the History of Massachusetts Blog


The word Massachusetts is an Algonquin Indian word which roughly translates to “large hill place” or “at the great hill.” 


  • It refers to the Great Blue Hill in Milton, Massachusetts which is an ancient volcano that was last active over 400 million years ago



Where Did Massachusetts Counties Get Their Names? from MassLive




   Virtual tour of Massachusetts State House   



The Boston Common by Winslow Homer, 1858




Milestones in Massachusetts Politics


First African American Men Elected to the Massachusetts Legislature:  Edward Garrison Walker and Charles Lewis Mitchell (1866)


First African American Woman Elected to the Massachusetts House:  Doris Bunte (1973)


First African American Man Elected to the Massachusetts Senate:  Bill Owens (1975)


First Hispanic Man Elected the Massachusetts Legislature:  Nelson Merced (1988)


First Hispanic Woman Elected the Massachusetts Legislature:  Cheryl Coakley-Rivera (1999)


First LGBT Candidate Elected the Massachusetts Legislature:  Elaine Noble (1975)


First African American Elected to the United States Senate:  Edward Brooke (1966)


First African American Woman Elected to the United States House of Representatives:  Ayanna Pressley (2018)



external image 500px-Hebrew_timeline.svg.png Here is a link to a timeline called "A Historical Sketch of Massachusetts" from the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Link here for national information at Milestones for Women in National Politics


Link here for national information on Major African American Office Holders


Massachusetts Government Structure


  • The Massachusetts government, like the federal government has three branches: executive, legislative, and judiciary. 


Executive Branch:


The executive branch is made up of the Governor, the governor's cabinet, the state treasurer, the state auditor, the attorney general, the state comptroller, and the state secretary.


  • Governor:  The governor is the chief executive officer, similar to the president in the federal government. The governor is elected in a state election and serves a four-year term. The current governor of Massachusetts is Maura Healey (53), a democrat who was elected in 2023.  



  • The Governor's Cabinet: The governor's cabinet is similar to the president's cabinet. The governor's cabinet is made up of Executive Office for Administration and Finance, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Executive Office of Transportation and Public Works, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, the Executive Office of Education and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.


  • The Attorney General: the attorney general represents all legal proceedings in both state and federal courts. The attorney general also brings actions to enforce environmental and consumer protection statues.   


Maura Healey is the 73rd Governor of the state and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to be elected Governor in the state's history.



Legislative Branch


The legislative branch is made up of the State Senate and House of Representatives. 


  • State Senate: The state Senate is made up of 40 members. State senators are elected for two-year terms.


  • House of Representatives: the House of Representatives is made up of 160 members. Representatives also serve two-year terms. 


  • Here are your current senators and representatives 


Look up your state legislators 





Judicial Branch


           Massachusetts Supreme Court 

The judicial branch is made up of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court, and the Trial Court.


  • The Appeals Court and the Trial Court are appointed by the Governor.



About Goodridge v. Mass. Department of Public Health (case which legalized gay marriage in MA) 



CROSS-LINK: The Trial of Sacco and Vanzetti

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