How to Address the Mayor of a U.S. City

—-Also on This Page:
—-—-How to Address a Former Mayor
—-—-How to Address an Acting Mayor
—-—-How to Address a Mayor and Spouse

How to Address a Mayor of a U.S. City

—-Envelope or address block on letter or email:
——–The Honorable
—-—-(Full name)
—-—-Mayor of (municipality)

————-Or – it’s a bit less formal all on one line:
—————–The Honorable (Full name)
————-—-Mayor of (municipality)

—-Letter salutation:
—-—-Dear Mayor (surname):

—-—-Mayor (surname):
—-—-Your Honor


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

Is a Former Mayor Addressed as Mayor (Name)?

I am addressing an invitation to a former mayor. How do I correctly do that??
—–– Karen Szczpanski   How to Address the Mayor of a US City

Hi Karen:
Address a former mayor on the envelope or address block of a letter with this form:
—–—–The Honorable (Full name)

On the salutation, in conversation, or if your invitation has an inside envelope use this:
—–—–Mr./Mrs./Dr./etc. (Surname)

Sometimes you will see or hear former mayors addressed as Mayor (name) but it is not correct,  Address a former mayor as Mr./Ms./Dr./etc. – whatever honorific they had before becoming (Mayor) (Name).

The reason? In a city there is only one mayor at a time. It’s not respectful to the current office holder, and is potentially confusing to be addressing more than one person as Mayor (Name).

Being addressed as Mayor (Name) is a courtesy of the office and is reserved for the current office holder. I know, I know, I know, you hear former mayors addressed in the media or referred to as Mayor (Name), but addressing a former mayor as Mayor (Name) is simply a reporter flattering the former official’s ego, or the former official seeking to continue to enjoy the courtesies due his or her former lofty post.

[This contrasts with officials of which there is more than one office holder at a time — e.g, there are many judges, ambassadors, generals, admirals, professors, senators etc. at a time — and these former office holders DO use their (Special Honorific)+(Name) in every situation for the rest of their lives.]

— Robert Hickey How to Address the Mayor of a US City

Forms of Address: How a conversation begins can have a huge impact on how the conversation - even the entire relationship - develops.

How to Address an Acting Mayor?

Would it be appropriate to address an acting mayor of a U.S. city as The Honorable? Do you call him Mayor (Name)?
——————-– Cheryl

Dear Cheryl:
Acting officials are not addressed as if they were the elected and inaugurated official. An ‘acting’ mayor of a city, governor of a state, or president of a college isn’t really the office holder — he or she is ‘acting’. So in a salutation or conversation use Mr./Ms./Dr./etc. (Name) and identify as the acting mayor.

The Honorable is reserved for officials elected in a general election … or those very high officials appointed by the President of the United States and approved by the U.S. Senate.

So if he/she is serving as acting mayor through an appointment … he/she would not be the Honorable … I say that with one exception: he or she might have been The Honorable due to prior elected service.

— Robert Hickey

How to Address the Vice Mayor of a US City

Is a Mayor-Elect Your Honor?

Our mayor-elect is coming to our building today. If I have the occasion to address him personally, should I call him Your Honor even though he will not take office for two months? Or is he simply Mr. (Surname) still?
——————-– Laurie in Chicago

Dear Laurie:
Address him/her as Mr./Ms. (Surname) … or with whatever honorific to which he or she used prior to the election.

He will be addressed with the forms of address due a Mayor when he takes the oath and is sworn in.

He/she is already The Honorable (Full Name) on a letter because he has been elected office, but won’t be addressed as Your Honor until he takes office.

— Robert Hickey


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

How to Address a Mayor and Spouse?

How does one address an invitation to the mayor and his wife?
—-– Susan Hensley How to Address the Mayor of a US City

Dear Susan
Here are the formulas.

—-#1) If “the Honorable” is a man – and if his spouse uses (Mrs.) + (same family name) – then traditionally her given name does not appear:
—-—-The Honorable William Stanton
—-—-and Mrs. Stanton

—-#2) If “the Honorable” is a man – and she uses a different family last name or has a special honorific – her full name appears:
—-—-The Honorable William Smith
—-—-and Ms. Linda Blake

—-—-The Honorable William Smith
—-—-and Dr. Linda Smith

—-#3) If “the Honorable” is a woman – his full name always appears:
—-—-The Honorable Linda Stanton
—-—-and Mr. William Stanton

—-—-The Honorable Linda Blake
—-—-and Mr. William Smith

—-#4) When person is the Honorable — they get their name as unit — not combined with anyone else’s name. So what you might want to avoid is:
—-—-The Honorable and Mrs. William Stanton

Probably more answer than you wanted … but I hope it is useful.

— Robert Hickey How to Address the Mayor of a US City

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Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.
___What I don’t cover on this site are many things I do cover in my book: all the rules of forms of address, about names, international titles, precedence, complimentary closes, details on invitations, place cards, all sorts of introductions, etc. I hope you’ll get a copy of the book if you’d like the further detail.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”