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Sheila Oliver, NJ’s Lieutenant Governor, Dead at 71


CREDIT: Eduardo Munoz Avarez/AP

New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who had assumed the role of acting governor while Gov. Phil Murphy was away from the state, has passed away after being hospitalized for an undisclosed medical condition.

The 71-year-old Oliver was transported to Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston Monday, where she was “unable to fulfill her responsibilities” as acting governor, according to a statement released by Murphy’s spokesperson, Mahen Gunaratna. As per the state constitution, Democratic Senate President Nicholas Scutari took over the duties of acting governor during this period.

Oliver’s family released this statement: “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. 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.”

Gov. 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.”

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