Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy has New Jersey Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver of East Orange as his running mate and lieutenant governor pick.
If the Democrats win in November, Oliver would become the first African-American in state history to become first in the line of succession to the governorship, and the highest-ever elected African-American woman in state government.
“Sheila Oliver has the breadth of experience and remarkable personal history needed to meaningfully contribute to turning our state around. She is going to be an active, contributing member of my administration, because she not only knows our challenges but how we get out from under them,” Murphy said. “Sheila shares my vision for a state that once again is fair, is just, is welcoming and inclusive, and has an economy that not only grows, but ensures everyone can participate in that growth.”
First elected to the New Jersey Assembly in 2003 ,Oliver served as speaker from 2010 to 2014. She has supported increasing the minimum wage, establishing the state’s paid family leave law, and creating job training programs for unemployed residents. She also has been a leader in expanding the rights of LGBT residents — and was a prime sponsor of efforts to legislatively enact marriage equality in 2012.
Prior to serving in the Assembly, she was an Essex County Freeholder and member of the East Orange Board of Education. She started her career as a non-profit administrator. She holds degrees from Lincoln University and Columbia University.
“Sheila brings a wealth of expertise and perspective, and I am greatly looking forward to having her by my side as my partner in this campaign,” Murphy said.
Oliver said she will be a different lieutenant governor from Kim Guadagno, the Republican candidate for governor. “I will spend every minute of my time working to make the economy fairer for New Jersey,” she said.