Who was Sheila Oliver?
Sheila Oliver was a Democratic politician who served as the second lieutenant governor of New Jersey, a position she served from 2018 to 2023. She was the first Black woman to serve as the New Jersey lieutenant governor.
IOliver was actively involved in serving the East Orange School District during the 1990s as a member of the Board of Education, eventually becoming the district’s president. From 2004 to 2018, she represented the 34th legislative district in the New Jersey General Assembly and held the position of the speaker of the body from 2010 to 2014.
She also participated in the 2013 special election for the U.S. Senate but lost the Democratic primary to Cory Booker. In the 2017 gubernatorial election, Oliver was selected to be the running mate of Democrat Phil Murphy. After their successful campaign, she was sworn in as lieutenant governor on January 16, 2018. Murphy and Oliver were reelected in the 2021 election.
Was Sheila Oliver Married?
Sheila was married to her husband William Oliver. Not much is known about him since they keep a low profile away from the public.
What was Sheila Oliver’s Cause of Death?
On July 28, 2023, Oliver took on the role of acting governor while Phil Murphy was away on vacation in Italy. However, on July 31, she experienced a medical emergency and was admitted to Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. As a result, Scutari, the President of the New Jersey Senate, acted as governor in her absence. The following day, Oliver died at the age of 71. The cause of her death has yet to be announced.
Sheila Oliver as the Governor of New Jersey
Phil Murphy, the Democratic nominee for governor of New Jersey, announced in July 2017 that his running mate for the 2017 election would be Oliver. Together, they defeated the Republican ticket comprised of Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and Mayor Carlos Rendo of Woodcliff Lake. Murphy also stated that Oliver would serve as the commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, a cabinet position.
This was made possible by a provision in the New Jersey Constitution, which allows the governor to appoint the lieutenant governor to a cabinet post without the approval of the New Jersey Senate.
On January 16, 2018, Oliver was sworn in as lieutenant governor, making her the first black woman to hold this position in New Jersey and the first woman of color to be elected to statewide office in the state. During her tenure as lieutenant governor, Oliver also served as the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.
In November, Murphy and Oliver were re-elected, earning 51% of the vote and defeating the Republican ticket of Jack Ciattarelli and Diane Allen. Prior to her appointment as lieutenant governor, Oliver was considered a potential candidate to succeed Murphy as governor in the 2025 election.
Where was Sheila Oliver born?
Oliver was born in Newark, New Jersey on July 14, 1952. She went to Weequahic High School and later joined Lincoln University where she graduated with a B.A. in sociology. She also has an M.S. from Columbia University.