How to Address U.S. Federal Officials



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HONOR & RESPECT

Abbess,
    Christian Orthodox       
Abbot,
    Christian Orthodox        
Accountant        
Acting Official       
Adjutant General     
Admiral
        

Admiral, Texas Navy   
Adventist Minister       
Alderman
        

Archbishop, Catholic        
Archbishop,
   Christian Orthodox        
Archdeacon, Episcopal        
Archimandrite        
Architect
Archpriest        
Ambassador, Goodwill
Ambassador to your country
   from a foreign country      
Ambassador of the U.S.
   by a U.S. Citizen       
American Indian Chief        
Assemblyman
   U.S., State / or           

   Assemblywoman            
Associate Justice,
   U.S. Supreme Court          
Associate Justice of a
   State Supreme Court
Astronaut      
Attorney
         
Attorney General           
Attorney General,
       Assistant   
Attorney, U.S.         
Australian Officials    

Baron, Baroness           
British Officials,
   Royalty, Nobility     
Brother, Catholic
         
Brother,
   Christian Orthodox          
Bishop, Catholic            
Bishop,
   Christian Orthodox         
Bishop, Episcopal        
Board Member     
Boy        
Brigadier General       
Business Cards      

Canadian Officials    
Candidate    
Captain,
   USA, USAF, USMC     
Cardinal
             
Chairman
    Federal Reserve      
Chairwoman      
Chancellor      
Chaplain in the
    Armed Services        
Chaplain of Congress          

Chargé d’Affaires         
Chief Executive Officer 
Chief Judge          
Chief Justice,
      U.S. Supreme Court 
Chief Justice, of a State
      Supreme Court             

Chief of Police          
Chief of Staff     

Chief Operating
   Officer          
Child
           
Chiropractor     
City Manager
   
Clergy & Religious
    Officials     
Club Official          
Colonel, Kentucky      
Colonel, USA, USAF,
    or USMC     
Commandant       
Commissioner, Court     
Commissioner
         
Commodore of a         
      Yacht Club         
Congressman, U.S.               
Congresswoman, U.S.   
Consul and or
   Consul General   
 
Consultant      
Corporate Executive         
Councilman
    Councilwoman      
Counselor (Diplomat)      
Countess     
County Officials       
Couples     
    U.S. Military
    U.S. Officials
    Private Citizens  
Curator        

Dalai Lama          
Deacon         
Dean, academic            
Dean, clergy            
Deceased Persons        
Degree, honorary      
Delegate, U.S., State
            

Dentist             
Deputy Chief of Mission      
Deputy Marshal          
Designate,
Elect,
    Pro Tempore      
Diplomats      

District Attorney           
Doctor, Chiropractor     
Doctor of Dentistry
          
Doctor of Medicine              
Doctor, Military           
Doctor of
   Veterinary Medicine          
Doctor, Optometrist   
Doctor of Osteopathy            
Doctor, Other Disciplines     
Doctorate        
Doctorate, honorary      

Earl            
Elect, Designate
  
Pro Tempore      
Emeritus/emerita
     
Eminence     
Emperor    
Engineer    
Etiquette    
Excellency           

Family     
Fiancee      
Firefighter    
First, Second,
   Third, etc.        
First Lady, Spouse
   of the President of
   the United States 
First Lady, Member
    of Her   
    White House Staff      
First Lady, Spouse
   of a Governor
   or Lt. Gov.    
First Lieutenant
   
Flag Protocol     
Former Officials    
Freeholder       

Gay Couple      
Geshe

General
    USA, USAF, USMC
Girl       

Goodwill Ambassador      
Governor General         
Governor, Lieuten
ant
 
Governor, Lt., Spouse   

Governor, Tribal Council          
Governor, U.S. State       
Governor, Former    
Governor
    Spouse of     
Governor's Staff,
    Member of
     
Governors, Board of 

High Commissioner    
Honorable, The
          
Honorary Ambassador       
Honorary degrees
Honorary doctorate
   
Honourable, The
   
 
   

Indian Chief         
Inspector General    
Interim Official   
Introductions       
Invitations
  
   Writing &  
   Addressing  
Invitations
   
Military:
    Writing &
    Addressing

Judge, former     
Judge of US City or

        US Count     
Judge, US Federal            
Junior, Senior,
    I, II, III, etc.       

Justice, Associate

     Federal
     Supreme Court

Justice, Associate

     State
     Supreme Court

King     
Knight      

Late, The
   (deceased persons)
       
Lawyer      
Lesbian Couple    
Lieutenant      
Lieutenant Colonel,     
   USA, USAF, USMC      
    
Lieutenant General,
   USA, USAF, USMC      

Lieutenant Governor    
     

Major
   USA, USAF, USMC  
Major General,
   USA, USAF, USMC   
Man, business
          
Man, social
         
Marquess / Marchioness
 
 
Married Women       
Marshal for a
   Judicial District, U.S. 
Mayor, U.S. City   
Mayor, Canadian City    
Mayor Pro Tempore
     
Mayor, Vice    
Medic      
Minister,
   Protestant Clergy       
Miss      
Monk,
   Christian Orthodox     
Monsignor       
Most Reverend, The        
Mother Superior
    
Mr. (Social)      
Mr. (Business)      
Mrs., Ms. (Use, Social Forms)      
Mrs. vs. Ms.     
Mr. & Mrs. / Couples   
   

Name Badges or Tags     
Nobility, British
       
Nobility, Other     
Nun, Catholic
  
Nun, Orthodox
Nurse           

Officer, Police     
Optometrist     

Pastor, Christian Clergy  
Patriarch,
   Christian Orthodox  
Patriarch,
   Ecumenical Patriarch
   of Constantinople  
People with Two Titles      
Permanent
     Representative        
Petty Officer
      
Pharmacist     
Physician
        
PhD     
Place Cards            
Police Chief
Police Officer                     
Pope, Catholic
  
Pope, Coptic
      
Postmaster General         
Post-Nominal
    Abbreviations    
Presbyter, Orthodox
   
President, corporate
President of
    College or
    University   
President of a
    Secondary
    School      
President of a
    US State Assembly 
President (current)
   of the U.S.A.          
President (former)
   of the U.S.A.     
     
President of the
    U.S.A., spouse of  
President-elect
    of the U.S.   
Priest, Catholic          
Priest,
    Christian Orthodox 
Priest, Episcopal        
Prime Minister
       
Principal      
Professionals
   & Academics         
Professor
     
Pro Tempore,
   Elect, Designate    
Psychologist      

Queen

Rabbi               
Ranger, Texas        
Representative,
   U.S., Federal           
Representative,
   U.S., State            
Reservist, Military      
Resident
    Commissioner 
Retired Military
   1. Formula For
       How to Address     
   2. Q&A / Blog On
       Use of Rank by
       Retired Military    
 

   3. Q&A / Blog on
       How to Address
       Retired Military   
Reverend, The
      
Right Reverend, The         

Same Sex Couple      
Salvation Army    
School Board Member
     
Second
Lieutenant        
Secretary,
   U.S. Department,
   Member of the Cabinet
Secretary
   of Defense, U.S.       
Secretary, Assistant       
Secretary General
   of the U.N.            
Senator, U.S., Federal       
Senator, U.S., State         
Senator, Canadian       
Senior, Junior,
     I, II, III, etc.         
Senior Judge 
      
Sergeant       
Sergeant at Arms
          
Seventh Day
     Adventist Minister       
Sheriff       
Sister, Catholic       
Solicitor General      
Speaker of the U.S.
   House of
   Representatives.           
Specialist       
Spouse of the
    President of the U.S.       
Spouse of the
    Vice President
    of the U.S.           
Spouse of an
    Elected Official            
State Attorney     
Surgeon General          

Texas Ranger        
Town Justice      
Town Manager       
The Honorable     
Tribal Officials     
Two Titles,
    Person With

Under Secretary    
US Attorney
       
US Federal Officials
     
US State Officials     
US Municipal Officials

Venerable, The        
Veteran (not Retired)         
Veterinarian
           
Very Reverend, The         
VFW Officer/Official    
Vice Mayor       
Vice President
    of the U.S.
Spouse of the
    Vice President
   
of the U.S.
Vice President-elect
    of the U.S.      
 
Viscount and/or
   Viscountess        

Warrant Officer       
Widow
     
White House Staff    
Woman, business        
Woman, social        

Yacht Club Officer      


 

How to Address / Forms of Address
United States Federal Officials

Questions & Answers, Frequently Asked Questions, and Blog


Site updated by Robert Hickey on July 28, 2014

How Do I Address a Former Official?
Link to Q&A /Blog just on Former Officials  (not Military)

How to Address "President Obama"?        
How to Address The Vice President?        
How to Address The Vice President
      as President of the Senate?        

How to Introduce the The Speaker of the House
      and The President-elect of the United States?         

How to Address the White House Chief of Staff?      
How to Address The Attorney General?          
How to Address a Deputy Secretary?          
How to Address a Deputy Assistant Secretary?          
How to Address Two Senators in a Salutation?           
How Do I Address My Congressman?     
Why Do We Address a Congressman as "Mr./Ms. (Name)"?     
How Do I Address the Director of the CIA?           
How Do I Address a Federal Inspector General?            
How Do I Address a Member of the Senior Executive Service?            

How Do I Address a Judge?        
How to Address a U.S. Attorney?        
How to Address a Friend of the Court?        

How to Address an Official Who is Also a Physician?

How to Address an Acting High Federal Official?       
How to Address an Official Elected but Not Sworn In?    

Looking for Joint Forms of Address? (Two Names in the Address)
Link to Q&A just on Joint Forms of Address

All about The Honorable
Link to Q&A just on officials in the U.S. addressed as The Honorable

How to Address a Deputy Assistant Secretary?
     Is a political appointee Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense an “Honorable”?  Thanks.
           -- Alfred Loren Smith

Dear Mr. Smith:
 
  I include in my book on pages 78 and 79 a full list of which positions are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate ... and while a Deputy Secretary and Assistant Secretary are President Appointed/Senate approved ... a Deputy Assistant Secretary is only
Presidentially appointed .... and by that criteria would not be addressed as  "The Honorable."
     
       -- Robert Hickey

May I Use SES As A Post-Nominal Abbreviation?
    Some of our association members are retired from the Senior Executive Service (SES). Is there any title for them? 
    For example .... John Smith, SES (Ret.)  Maybe?

 
         -- DF

Dear DF:
    I have not seen SES used as a post-nominal abbreviation. 
    It would be used after the name in an introduction .. e.g., "Our speaker to day is Edmund Burns, a member of the Senior Executive Service and ...."
    However everyone who is SES has (or had in the case of retired SES) a specific job and job title and it would be appropriate to note that person is a "former (whatever position they held).
"
                 -- Robert Hickey

How to Address The Vice President
    as The President of the Senate?

     I am preparing a letter to the VP in his role as President of the Senate to be signed by our CEO. For addressing the letter, would I use the protocol for addressing him as The Vice President, Old Executive Office Building, Washington, DC; Dear Mr. Vice President or as President of the Senate?  If it should be as President of the Senate, would he be addressed as The Honorable Joseph Biden?
     I refer to your Web site often and find it very helpful – thank you very much for any assistance you can give me.

 
         -- Pat at MCC in DC

Dear Pat:
     There is always a flurry of comments in the media when they pick up that The President of the United States addresses The Vice President presiding as The President of the Senate at the State of the Union Address as Mr. President.
    But he is absolutely correct in doing so, because in that room The Vice President is Mr. President of the Senate.
    George Bush one year addressed Dick Cheney as Mr. Vice President and the protocol professionals went into meltdown mode.
    I include that form of address on page 168 of my book. The envelope to the Vice President as President of the Senate is addressed to The Vice President at his/her Senate office on Capitol Hill:
   
        The Vice President
   
        United States Senate
   
       
Washington, DC 20510
    The salutation is to the Vice President in his capacity as President of the Senate is:
            Dear Mr. President:
    If the letter is to him or her as the Vice President it goes to The Old Executive Office Building ... the salutation is to:
   
        Dear Mr. Vice President
    This is consistent with the American tradition that we give an official just one title at a time ...but address a person who he or she is to us at that moment.

 
         -- Robert Hickey

Mr. Hickey
    This is HUGELY helpful, thank you very much and yes, I will order your book.  We were close to getting it all right except for the envelope, so glad you included that info – thanks again, Pat


    

How to Address The Vice President in Conversation?    
   I am going to meet Joe Biden, The Vice President. What should I call him when I do?
        -- Lloyd Greene in DC

Dear Mr. Greene:
    The holders of the highest offices in our government are addressed as Mr. (Office)
or Madame (Office) ... not by their name. So simply call him Mr. Vice President.
    You might hear The Vice President referred to as Vice President Biden in the media, but this is used to identify
The Vice President in the third person or in a news story, not the most formal form of direct address. I include written and spoken forms of address for The Vice President (and spouse) on pages 169-170 of my book.
         -- Robert Hickey

Is an Acting Deputy Secretary or
Deputy Attorney General Addressed as The Honorable

     How does one address a letter to an Acting Deputy Attorney General?  Does one refer to him as
The Honorable (Full Name)?  If he were the Deputy Attorney General he would be the Honorable (Full Name).  I believe that the Honorable is used for all presidential appointees; but this current Deputy Attorney General is just Acting (in office until he is confirmed by the Senate).
          -- Anup Sanjay

Dear Mr. Sanjay:
    Unconfirmed cabinet-level officials ... acting secretary, secretary ad-interim, and secretary designates (and corresponding attorneys general, too) ... are addressed as The Honorable. I base that on Mary Jane McCaffree & Pauline Innis's Protocol. But for office holders below cabinet level I know of no source that says the courtesy title is use with any office holder.
    So, an acting official below cabinet level would not be The Honorable until appointment and confirmation are complete.  Until then he or she is simply:
              Mr./Ms./etc. Name + Name of Office Held

    If an appointee had been elected to office in a general election or in some way was entitled to be addressed as The Honorable already ... he or she would not have to wait.
       -- Robert Hickey

How to Address a US Representative-Elect?
      How would I address someone elected to the House of Representatives, but not yet sworn in?

 
      -- Mike, VR

Dear Mike, VR,
      A representative-elect is addressed in writing as
           The Honorable (First Name) (Surname)
     and in coversation as ...
           Mr./Ms./etc. (Surname)
     I have that form on page 182 of my book.  Officials become the Honorable once elected. It's traditional on Capitol Hill that members of the House address one another as "Mr/Ms. (Surname)."   While you hear members of the House referred to as "Congressman (Surname)" or "Representative (Surname)" in the media, neither is traditionally the correct form of direct address.
         -- Robert Hickey

How to Address a U.S. Attorney?
         How would you address a
letter for a United States Attorney?
        -- Pamela Addison

Dear Ms. Addison:
        I include a list of US federal, state and local officials addressed as the Honorable on page 78-79 in my book.
        U.S. Attorneys are addressed as The Honorable (Full Name).
        In oral conversation or in a salutation they are addressed as Mr./Ms. (Surname)
.

       -- Robert Hickey

How to Address a Federal Inspector General?
    There are two ways to be appointed as a Federal Inspector General; either by presidential appointment with Senate confirmation -OR- by appointment by the head of your agency.  In the IG Act, the latter is known as a “designated Federal entity” as opposed to the former being regarded as an “establishment”. (See Inspector General Act, 5 U.S.C. app.5.)
    Is it appropriate to address both types of appointed IGs (who perform the functions of IG equally) as “ The Honorable.”

           -- Madelyn Dean

Dear Ms. Dean:
    Having two categories of office holders in the same office is not uncommon:
         * Most sheriffs are elected, but some are appointed ... only the elected
sheriffs are "The Honorable" ....
         * Same situation with clerks of courts, school boards, various commissioners, and chiefs of police.
     So ...
         Presidential appointment + Senate confirmation: The Honorable Kevin White
        Other than that: Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr. etc, Kevin White

             -- Robert Hickey

How to Address Two Senators in a Salutation?
     On your website, you covered how to address two married Honorables, but in a letter if they are both Senators, would the salutation of the letter be as follows:
     Dear Senator Smith and Senator Smith,
            OR
     Dear Senators Smith,

           -- Mary in Dallas

Dear Mary:
      In a salutation combining honorifics is typical;
          Dear Drs. Smith,
 
         Dear Professors Smith,
  
     
  Dear Pastors Smith,
    I don't imagine there are many Senators married to another Senator. Most formally each gets a full salutation, which might seem weird, but is actually correct:
          Dear Senator Smith and Senator Smith,
    An slightly less formal option would be:
  
        Dear Senators Smith,
             -- Robert Hickey

Why Do We Address Members of the
US House of Representatives as "Mr./Ms. (Name)"?

    Why do we address Members of the U.S. House of Representatives on the greeting line as Dear Mr./Ms. (Name) instead of Dear Representative (Name)? Are both ways appropriate?

    -- Working @ Connecticut Avenue and K Street

Dear WACAAKS:
    
On Capital Hill members of the House address one another as Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr./etc. Traditionally members of the House use whatever the highest honorific to which they are entitled on their own.  I show the all the forms of address for members of the House of Representatives on pages 180-181.
    All around the world lower houses of governments routinely follow the British model: e.g. members of the House of Commons in Parliament London, Ottawa, and everywhere else are all simply
Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr./etc.
    The media uses "Representative Williams" or sometimes "Congressman Williams" as shorthand to refer to The Honorable Thomas Williams, Member of the United States House of Representatives from the 3rd District of New Mexico which would be the formal form of address -- and is a mouthful!
    Sometimes you will hear "Representative Williams" or "Congresswoman Williams" to clarify to the listener who is being introduced. Those members
of the House who prefer "Congressman/woman" or "Representative" don't want to their rank to be missed! Members of the Senate with their Senator Brown have it a bit easier!
                           -- Robert Hickey

How Do I Address My Congressman?
Dear Mr. Hickey:
I am a student writing a letter to my representative to the US House. I was wondering how I should address him Dear Congressman Murphy, or Dear Christopher Murphy, or something else. Need the answer soon. Thank you.
    --- Rick Caffi

Dear Mr. Caffi:
    Address the letter to your Representative as The Honorable (full name).
    The salutation is Dear Mr. (Surname):
    Congressman is not formally used as an honorific.

          -- Robert Hickey

Is The President Addressed as "President (name)"?
Dear Mr. Hickey:
      I have been directing people to refer to the president as "President Obama."  Is that correct or am I confused? Any advice
?
    --- Anna McDonald, Stafford, Virginia


Dear Ms. McDonald:
    We hear President Obama on the TV and radio all the time ... but those are references to him in the third person, not in the first person (direct address). 
    In direct address the tradition is:
The President’s name is never used in his or her presence.

    Here is how the President of the United States is correctly addressed. (I show all the forms for The President, former Presidents, and President-elect on pages 165--167 of my book.):
     Address the envelope:
   
    The President
       
    The White House
 
               1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
                    Washington, DC 20500
    For the letter's salutation: Dear Mr. President:
    In conversation, address The President as: Mr. President
                          -- Robert Hickey


How to Introduce the The Speaker of the House
and The President-elect of the United States?


January 6, 2009
Dear Sir:
     A quick question for you… President-Elect Barack Obama will be meeting with the Speaker.  In making an introduction, I think it would be appropriate to introduce Obama to Pelosi, given that the Speaker’s current position takes precedence.  Would you agree?  Obama is not yet the President, but he is no longer Senator.  Would it be appropriate to say the following, “Madam Speaker, I would like to introduce to you Senator Obama, President-Elect of the United States.”
             --- KB on Capitol Hill

Dear KB:
Yes, the Speaker has higher precedence in the introduction, President-elect is not on precedence lists -- but "Senator" is ... and a Senator is lower than Speaker of the House.
    The wording you suggest sounds good.
    Or you could say "Madame Speaker may I present the President-elect" or
"Madame Speaker may I present the President-elect of the United States" Since you address her by her office, maybe it's a elegant to identify him by his new office? She knows he's Senator Obama.
           -- Robert Hickey

How Do I Address the Director of the CIA?
Dear Mr. Hickey:
I am addressing a letter to the Director of the CIA. I know I would address it The Honorable (First name) + (Last name), but what is the salutation?
    Dear Director (Last name)
?
    Dear Secretary (Last name)
?
    --- Theresa Schnipper

Dear Ms. Schnipper:
    Yes ... the Director of the CIA is The Honorable (full name).
    The salutation is Dear Mr. (Surname):
    He's not a "Secretary" ... and "Director" is not used as an honorific -- Commissioners do use Commissioner (surname) and a Chairman of a Board (like the Federal Reserve) is addressed as Mr./Madame Chairman:, but while you may hear the title used in the third person (e.g. someone saying The Director will be here in 20 minutes) "directors" don’t’ formally use “director” as an honorific.
  I include a list of offices addressed as "The Honorable" on pages 78-79 of my book.
          -- Robert Hickey

How Do I Address a Judge?
Dear Mr. Hickey:
I have been asked to write a letter to a judge. Having been out of school a while, my skill is very rusty. Specifically, I need to know the salutation, how to address him in the body of the letter, and an appropriate closing with respect to his status.
    --- Roger Faust

Dear Mr. Faust:
    Address the envelope to the Judge as The Honorable (Full name).
    In the letter's address block use The Honorable (Full name).
    The salutation is Dear Judge (Surname):
    An appropriate closing would be Sincerely,
          -- Robert Hickey

How to Address the White House Chief of Staff?
Dear Mr. Hickey:
    I am sending a formal invitation to several government officials. How would I address an envelope to The White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel?
        -- Melanie Schaeffer, Moline, Illinois

Dear Ms. Schaeffer:
    The White House Chief of Staff is addressed as "The Honorable." So Rahm Emanual is addressed as:
   
    The Honorable Rahm Emanual
       
    Chief of Staff
           
    The White House
             
       (Address)       
    As it happens, Rahm Emanual is already an “Honorable” since he was he was elected to the House of Representatives, but he doesn’t get “Honorable” twice!
          -- Robert Hickey

How to Address the Attorney General?
Dear Mr. Hickey,
      I have a very serious legal matter which requires contacting the US Attorney General Eric Holder. Can you tell me the correct salutation to use in an E-mail?
            -- Paula Roth

Dear Ms.Roth,
     I have some basics on the Attorney General page on this site already. See that page.  
     Regarding electronic communications -- When addressing a high official in an E-mail you should use the same correct forms of address you would use in a letter. Address him as Mr. Attorney General in every instance ... until he says "Please call me Eric."

            -- Robert Hickey

How to Do You Address a Friend of the Court?
    How do you address the Friend of the Court?
                  -- Tom

Dear Tom:
    A Friend of the Court is a role, not an official office like an elected or appointed judge, sheriff, or member of a city council  ... all of which get special forms of address.
    Address using the formula for a private citizen: (Appropriate honorific) + (Their name) and simply then identify by (office) when identification is appropriate.
   
Friend of the Court wouldn't be used before the name as an honorific.
    For example:
        In conversation: Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr./Pastor/etc. (name)
        In an introduction: Judge Wilson, may I present Mr./Ms./Dr./Pastor/etc. (name), who is a Friend of the Court ...

             -- Robert Hickey

How to Address a U.S. Deputy Secretary?
    How do I address a U.S. Deputy Secretary of State? In the salutation of a letter, as well as mailing address?
     -- Law office in Dallas

Dear Dallas,
    U.S. Deputy Secretaries of all the departments are all appointed by The President and approved by the Senate .... so all are "The Honorable" 
    While they would be identified as a "Deputy Secretary" they don't have a special "title" so go by "Mr./Ms." and are then identified in an introduction as "The Deputy Secretary of State (for ....)"   Deputy Secretaries sometimes have "an interest area" they are in charge of .... but not always.
    The Honorable Megan Wilson
        Deputy Secretary of State ("interest area" if it's included...)
            U.S. Department of State
                (Address)
    Dear Ms. Wilson:

 
       -- Robert Hickey

How to Address an Elected Official Who Is an MD?
      How would you address verbally and in written form for a governor who is a doctor?
In Alabama, we have Dr. Robert Bentley who is the incoming Governor and I need to change out the name on a website.  Governor Dr. Robert Bentley just doesn’t ring right to me.
     My best guess is Governor Robert Bentley without the ‘Dr.’ with my next guess as Governor Robert Bentley, MD since he was a medical doctor.

              -- Luke

Dear Luke:
        The traditions in the USA are ...
 
               1) We give a person just one honorific OR courtesy title
 
               2) We never use a courtesy title or honorific  AND a post nominal ... it's either / or
   
            3) We use the highest courtesy/honorific they are entitled to.
    For example .... you may see:
  
              The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., PhD
    However the correct forms are:
 
               The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
       
        Martin Luther King, Jr., PhD
 
               Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  
       
      Dr. King
    Check out "The King Center" in Atlanta ... they do it all correctly.
    So .... most traditionally, and most formally your governor's name might be written as all of these ... following rules #1 and #2 ....
  
             The Honorable Robert Bentley, Governor of the State of Alabama
   
            The Honorable Robert Bentley
  
             Governor Robert Bentley
   
           Governor Bentley
   
            Robert Bentley, MD
  
             Dr. Robert Bentley
  
       
     Dr. Bentley
    ... and when you take into account #3 he is only the four.  There are only 50 US governors ... lots more doctors, so governor is higher.
     It could be that the incoming governor had a personal preference to be addressed as "Dr." ... and if so,  all should honor that personal preference, but it doesn't change the basic rules ... it just means we follow the individuals preference when addressing that individual.

               -- Robert Hickey

How to Address an US Senator Who is a "Dr."?
     How do I address an envelope to a couple? I know she uses "Mrs. (his name)"; He is a doctor and also a US Senator?

        -- Mrs. Justine Shuman

Dear Mrs. Shuman:
     "Senator" is higher office than "Dr." ... and in the US our tradition is that we only give one honorific/courtesy title at a time ... and we give the highest one the person is entitled to use.  
    So a Senator who is a Dr. and his wife would be as follows
        Envelope:
            The Honorable Henry Wilson
                and Mrs. Wilson
                    (Address)

        Salutation:
            Dear Senator Wilson and Mrs. Wilson:
    However, there are some individuals who have a different preference. For example, Bill Frist, a US Senator from Tenessee preferred to be addressed in conversation as "Dr. Frist".  While some would point out that there are only 100 Senators ... but there are perhaps a million doctors ... and it would note his greater achievement being a "Senator."  BUT it was not his preference ... so everyone addressed him as "Dr. Frist"
    But other Senators who were also medical doctors or who held academic doctorates .... all continued to be addressed as "Senator (surname)".
  So the rules remain the same ... but we address each person as they prefer to be addresses .... and the rules remain.
             -- Robert Hickey


Not Finding Your Question Answered?
Below are other topics covered in my blog and at right is a list of officials, Between the two I probably have what you are looking for.
     After hunting around a bit, if you don't see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day (unless I am traveling.)
      If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – with your name and any personal specifics changed.
      -- Robert Hickey

USE OF NAMES & HONORIFICS   
Mr., Miss, Jr., III, & Names        
Married Women       
Deceased Persons         
People with Two Titles
Post-Nominal Abbreviations and Initials         
 
Couples: Private Citizens / Joint Forms of Address 
Couples: U.S. Military / Joint Forms of Address     
Couples: U.S. Officials / Joint Forms of Address      

USE OF SPECIFIC OFFICIAL TITLES        
Former Officials            
Professionals and Academics        

United States Federal Officials, Currently In Office             
United States State Officials, Currently In Office              
United States Municipal Officials, Currently In Office             
       All About The Honorable with U.S. Officials         
       Former United States Officials of all types             
United States Armed Services, Active Duty             
       Addressing Retired Personnel      
       Use of Rank by Retired Personnel      
       Use of Rank by Veterans      

Tribal Officials 
           
Clergy and Religious Officials           
Canadian Officials         
Australian Officials          
British Officials, Royalty, and Nobility        
Diplomats and International Representatives
           
Foreign National Officials and Nobility        

SPECIFIC SITUATIONS
Business Cards       
Couples        
Etiquette
            
Flags and Anthem Protocol             
Introductions
            
Invitations: Writing & Addressing
        
Invitations: Just Armed Service Personnel        
Name Badges & Tags            
Names on Programs, Signs, & Lists            
Naming a Building or Road            
Place Cards            

Plaques, Awards, Diplomas, Certificates    
Precedence: Ordering Officials 
         
Thank You Notes             


Site updated by Robert Hickey on July 28, 2014


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Robert Hickey is the author of Honor & Respect:
The Official Guide to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address
Published by The Protocol School of Washington®
Foreword by Pamela Eyring

Copyright © 2013 Robert Hickey.     All Rights Reserved.
Book Photo: Marc Goodman.





All information on www.formsofaddress.info is copyright © 2013 by Robert Hickey.
The Protocol School of Washington® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Honor & Respect is dedicated to Dorothea Johnson, Founder of The Protocol School of Washington®