Remembering Sheila Y. Oliver: New Jersey Mourns the Loss of a Trailblazer

by Shine My Crown Staff
Remembering the Legacy of Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver: A True Trailblazer and Dedicated Public Servant from Trenton, New Jersey

TRENTON, New Jersey – The state of New Jersey is mourning the loss of a true trailblazer and dedicated public servant, Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver, who passed away at the age of 71.

Oliver had been serving as the acting governor of New Jersey while Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy was out of the state. However, she was taken to Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston for an undisclosed medical issue, and her condition prevented her from carrying out her duties.

With profound sadness, Murphy’s spokesperson, Mahen Gunaratna, confirmed her passing in a statement on Monday. Under the state constitution, Democratic Senate President Nicholas Scutari stepped in as acting governor during this difficult time. 🗽🕊️

A true trailblazer in every sense, Oliver made history as the first Black woman to serve as the Speaker of the General Assembly in New Jersey’s history. Her accomplishments didn’t stop there, as she became just the second Black woman in the nation’s history to lead a house of a state legislature.

Her legacy of dedication, service, and inspiration will forever be cherished. Her family, in a heartfelt statement, announced her passing and requested privacy during this time of grieving. They spoke of her as a cherished daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and hero.

Oliver’s commitment to the people of New Jersey and her tireless efforts to uplift the community will be remembered fondly. Her leadership and trailblazing spirit made her the ideal partner for Gov. Phil Murphy when he chose her as his running mate in 2017. It was a decision he described as the best one he ever made.

As the state’s second lieutenant governor since 2018, Oliver had also served as the head of the Department of Community Affairs. In this role, she played a crucial part in coordinating state aid to towns and cities and overseeing code enforcement. Her impact on the state and its residents cannot be overstated.

In 2010, she made history yet again by becoming the first African-American woman to serve as the Speaker of the state Assembly, leaving an indelible mark on New Jersey’s political landscape.

As the state and the nation grieve the loss of this extraordinary leader, we can only hope that her memory will continue to be a source of comfort and strength for all who knew and admired her. Her contributions will be forever etched in the hearts of those she touched.

Let us take a moment to honor Sheila Y. Oliver’s life and legacy, celebrating her achievements, resilience, and dedication to public service. As we say goodbye to a true hero, may her legacy inspire generations to come, reminding us all that with determination and courage, we can pave the way for a brighter future.

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