New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver lies in state in Trenton

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, August 10, 2023
NJ Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver lies in state in Trenton
Services are underway this week to honor New Jersey's late Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver including a funeral in Newark with eulogy by Rev. Al Sharpton. Reporter Anthony Johnson has the story.

TRENTON, New Jersey (WABC) -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a host of lawmakers, and numerous mourners poured into the statehouse rotunda Thursday to mourn the late Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, whose U.S. flag-draped casket lay in state just over a week since she died after a hospital stay for an undisclosed medical issue.

She lied in state in Trenton on Thursday, and will then lie in state again Friday at the Essex County Historic Courthouse in Newark .

The trailblazing lawmaker died last week after she was admitted to the hospital with an undisclosed medical issue.

Members of the public will be permitted to pay their respects to Oliver, who was the first Black woman elected to statewide office in New Jersey history, as well as the first Black woman to be Assembly speaker. She was 71.

Murphy and first lady Tammy Murphy attended a private visitation with Oliver before the rotunda opened to the public.

Murphy ordered flags to be flown at half-staff for a month and commissioned a portrait of her that he said would hang in the statehouse.

On Saturday, there will be a funeral at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark where Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver her eulogy.

Gov. Phil Murphy also announced Monday that an official portrait of Oliver has been commissioned for display in the Statehouse.

"As we continue to remember the life and service of Lieutenant Governor Oliver, I am deeply moved to announce the commissioning of a portrait that will stand as a testament to her legacy," said Governor Murphy. "Sheila's unwavering dedication to the people of New Jersey has left an enduring mark on our state, one that will be immortalized in the halls of our State House forever."

In addition to serving as Murphy's top deputy, stepping in while he was out of the state, Oliver also oversaw the Department of Community Affairs, which coordinates state aid to towns and cities and supervises code enforcement.

In 2021, she signed a bill that established a pilot program to overhaul the state's juvenile justice system in four cities and that aimed to reintegrate young people into their communities. Another measure she signed in 2021 revived a defunct fund for "urban enterprise zones" aimed at driving economic development in cities through lower sales tax rates.

The state constitution requires Murphy to name a successor within 45 days of the vacancy. He so far has not nominated anyone.

Senate President Nicholas Scutari will serve as acting governor if Murphy leaves the state or is incapacitated in the interim.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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