NEW JERSEY – New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver died Tuesday. She was 71.
The cause of death was not immediately disclosed.
“Tammy and I, and our children, are incredibly saddened and distraught to learn of the passing of our dear friend, colleague, and partner in government, Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver,” Governor Phil Murphy said.
“When I selected her to be my running mate in 2017, Lieutenant Governor Oliver was already a trailblazer in every sense of the word. She had already made history as the first Black woman to serve as Speaker of the General Assembly, and just the second Black woman in the nation’s history to lead a house of a state legislature. I knew then that her decades of public service made her the ideal partner for me to lead the State of New Jersey. It was the best decision I ever made,” Murphy said.
“In the five and a half years that we served together in office, in addition to her responsibilities as Lieutenant Governor, Sheila led the Department of Community Affairs, handling some of the most challenging issues facing our State, including the revitalization of our cities, affordable housing obligations, and homelessness prevention. As someone who was born and raised in Newark, and who has called East Orange home for more than 40 years, Sheila did not view these issues in the abstract because she lived with them every day of her life. She brought a unique and invaluable perspective to our public policy discourse and served as an inspiration to millions of women and girls everywhere, especially young women of color,” Murphy said.
“Beyond all of that, she was an incredibly genuine and kind person whose friendship and partnership will be irreplaceable. We ask that you all keep the Oliver family and all those who knew and loved her in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” Murphy said.
“It is with incredible sadness and a heavy heart that we announce the passing of the Honorable Sheila Y. Oliver, Lieutenant Governor of the State of New Jersey. She was not only a distinguished public servant but also our cherished daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and hero. As we come to terms with this profound loss, we kindly request that you respect the privacy of the Oliver family during this difficult time as they grieve their beloved Sheila,” the Oliver Family said in a statement.
“Sheila Y. Oliver leaves behind a legacy of dedication, service, and inspiration. We will remember her commitment to the people of New Jersey and her tireless efforts to uplift the community. Further information and details regarding memorial arrangements will be provided in due course. Until then, we appreciate your understanding and support. May her memory be a source of comfort and strength to all who knew her,” the Oliver Family said in a statement.
Lieutenant Governor Oliver was receiving medical care at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston since Monday and was unable to discharge the duties of Acting Governor at this time.
Senate President Scutari has assumed the duties of Acting Governor effective Monday morning.