Comparing U.S. and CA Executive and Legislative Branches

California is arguably one of the most economically advanced states of the USA. Janiskee and Masugi state that if California became an independent country, it would be among the largest economies in the world. The state of California has a high population and a very productive economy that can be attributed to the wide range of industries and farming. There are three levels of government in California; the executive is headed by the governor, the legislature consisting of the assembly and the senate, and the judiciary which consists of the supreme court of California (Janiskee and Masugi). The head of the state of California is the governor, who is elected to a four-year term.  The governor signs and approves the laws that are passed by the legislature. Given that California has the largest population in the United States, the legislative decisions made here have a significant impact on the Congress decisions. More than any of the states in the US, California receives more immigrants from abroad and other states of the US. This makes the state of California to be more culturally diverse than other states (Anagnoson et al. 3).

Differences between US President and CA Governor

Unlike the President of the US, the governor of California is less popular due to his/her limited involvement in national politics and national governance. The media also has a role to play due to the little interest in state politics. Despite the fact that both are heads-of-state and governments, the president of the US have more duties than the governor of California. Therefore these differences in roles make the president more visible nationally than the governor of California. However, it should be noted that governors run their states in the same way the president runs the country. Both are political leaders with limited constitutional powers. The governor of California has some special authority than the president of the US. For instance the governor has the line-item veto powers which are not granted to the president of the US (Anagnoson et al. 135-143).

While the Commander-in-Chief of the US military is the president, the governor of California is the commander-in-chief of the California National Guard. However, the governor’s role is less significant in this capacity compared to the president’s role. The governor has the power to prepare the budget and exercise his/her line-item veto powers. This power of the governor in budget making process gives him/her the power to negotiate and influence the budget. The president of the US on the other hand only makes a budget proposal and hands it to the House of Representatives who have authority over fiscal matters (Anagnoson et al.). Once the bill is passed the president can only veto it or pass it in full.

These two offices are distinct and function at different levels. California remains one of the states of the USA and has equal representation in the Congress as other states. Its significance in the US is visible given that it has a strong economy, a large population, and more ethnically diverse than the percentage of the USA. The proper functioning of the state of California can, therefore, be attributed to the gubernatorial as well as the USA leadership (Giventer). The scope of duty between the president of the US and the governor is the major separating factor between the powers. While the president is in charge of national and international interests, the governor is responsible for his/her State affairs. Technically the president is the head of all states while the governor’s mandate is limited within the borders of the individual state.


The governor and the president have powers to appoint personal staff, administrative officers, members of boards and commissions. However, some of the appointments made by the president and the governor need confirmation by other bodies, while others don’t. These two offices are therefore limited by their constitutions. The two leaders have no absolute powers and are also checked by the electorate, the judiciary, and the legislature.

The governor of California is required to make a state of the state speech at the beginning of the legislative session. This speech is similar to the state of the Union speech by the president. Most often these speeches contain the governor’s or the president’s legislative agenda ant actions on the proposals by the opposition and the government. Governor’s political and public roles may be similar to the president, but they are limited in scope. The governor and the president often move into the public spotlight when they preside on significant events such as signing a law into a bill, during elections, and other significant functions (Giventer).

The president and the governor of California have powers to convene their legislative bodies to inform them of matters that need attention. The constitution allows the president and the governor to convene the legislature to extraordinary sessions. During these sessions, the president and the governor have may outline major legislative initiatives. The difference between the two sessions called by the president and the governor is that the president can only call for the extraordinary session when the Congress is out of session while the governor can do it during a legislative session.

The similarities and differences, therefore, point to striking differences between the president and the governor of California. It is evident that the governor has more powers at his disposal than the president. The proposals by the president can easily be prevented than those made by the governor.