NJ Mourns the Passing of Lt Gov Sheila Oliver; Timeline of Events Details Sudden Transition of Power


After Governor Murphy's departure for personal travel, unexpected medical issues with Lieutenant Governor Oliver lead to Senate President Scutari assuming Acting Governor duties, culminating in the tragic passing of Lt. Governor Oliver.

The State of New Jersey is grieving the loss of Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, who passed away while receiving medical care. The sudden turn of events unfolded during Governor Murphy's absence, prompting a temporary transition of power, and ultimately leading to a statewide loss.

Timeline of Events:

July 28, 2023: Governor and First Lady Travel 

On the evening of Friday, July 28, Governor Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy departed New Jersey for personal travel. They were scheduled to return on the afternoon of Sunday, August 13, with Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver serving as Acting Governor during this period.

July 31, 2023: Unexpected Medical Issue for Lt. Governor Oliver 

In a sudden and unforeseen development, Lieutenant Governor Oliver was admitted to Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston for medical care. The specific nature of her medical condition was not disclosed. Senate President Scutari assumed the duties of Acting Governor, effective that morning. A statement from Communications Director Mahen Gunaratna wished her well and promised updates.

Statement from Acting Governor Scutari 

“I want to extend my best wishes to Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver for a rapid and healthy recovery. We look forward to her return.” - Statement from Acting Governor Scutari, July 31, 2023.

Acting Governor Scutari confirmed his assumption of responsibilities and extended his best wishes for a quick recovery to Lieutenant Governor Oliver.

August 1, 2023: Tragic Passing of Lt. Governor Oliver 

The Oliver family announced the devastating news of the passing of Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver. 

"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." - The Oliver family.

Her legacy as a distinguished public servant, trailblazer, and committed community leader was celebrated, with requests for privacy during this time of grief.

Statement from Governor Murphy 

"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." - Governor Phil Murphy

Governor Murphy expressed his profound sadness and paid tribute to his friend and partner in government. He highlighted Lieutenant Governor Oliver's unique contributions, including her historic role as the first Black woman to serve as Speaker of the General Assembly. He also acknowledged her vital work in community affairs, city revitalization, affordable housing, and homelessness prevention.

The tragic loss of Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver leaves a void in the hearts of New Jersey's residents and political community. 

As the state reflects on her impactful legacy, preparations are being made for memorial arrangements, with details to be provided in the coming days. 

Her memory will endure as a symbol of dedication, service, and inspiration to all who knew her and those who were influenced by her lifelong commitment to the people of New Jersey.

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