It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that we mourn the passing of our Lieutenant
Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, a distinguished political leader, and an unwavering advocate for the
people. Lieutenant Governor Oliver breathed her last today, August 1, 2023. Her departure from
this life leaves an indelible void in the hearts of citizens and fellow politicians alike.
Throughout her illustrious career, Lieutenant Governor Oliver served East Orange, Essex County
and the State of New Jersey with unparalleled dedication and commitment. Her visionary
leadership, unyielding principles, and passion for public service distinguished her as a beacon of
hope and inspiration for countless individuals across the State of New Jersey and this nation.
Having served on the Board of Education of the East Orange School District from 1994 to 2000,
She was chosen by her peers to serve as its vice president from 1998 to 1999 and President from
1999 to 2000. She served on the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders and in the New Jersey State Assembly. On November 23, 2009, Oliver was elected unanimously by Assembly Democrats to become the 169th Speaker of the Assembly, making her the second woman to serve as Speaker in New Jersey history and the second African American to hold this post. Nationally, she became the second African American woman to lead a state legislature.
In July 2017, Lieutenant Governor Oliver was selected by Governor Phil Murphy as the Democratic Party candidate for lieutenant governor of New Jersey. Governor Murphy and
Lieutenant Governor Oliver were victorious in their election bid making Lieutenant Governor
Oliver the first black woman to serve as Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey, and the first woman
of color elected to statewide office in New Jersey. In addition to her role as Lieutenant Governor,
she served as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, a cabinet appointment.
Lieutenant Governor Oliver made remarkable strides in advancing a multitude of causes that
touched the lives of all State of New Jersey citizens. Her unwavering belief in inclusivity and
social justice reverberated through her every action, making her a beloved and respected figure
among all walks of life. In times of adversity, Lieutenant Governor Oliver displayed remarkable
strength and resilience, ensuring the wellbeing of her constituents remained her top priority.
The entire Township of Irvington joins with State of New Jersey and mourns the passing of
Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver. Her absence will be deeply felt in the days to come. We
extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, and all those who admired and respected
her. May her soul rest in eternal peace.
Tony Vauss is the mayor of Irvington.