New Jersey Democratic Leadership
Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver
Sheila Oliver was sworn in as New Jersey’s second Lieutenant Governor on January 16, 2018, becoming the first woman of color to serve in statewide elected office in New Jersey history. Governor Phil Murphy appointed her Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.
A 40-year resident of East Orange, Oliver is a native of Newark.
First elected to the General Assembly in 2003, she became Speaker in 2010–the first African-American female Speaker in the state and just the second in the nation’s history to lead a state legislative house.
In the Assembly, Oliver also chaired the Assembly Human Services Committee, and served on the Labor, Higher Education, Women and Children, Commerce and Economic Development, and Transportation and Independent Authorities committees. She also sat on the Joint Committee on the Public Schools and the Joint Committee on Economic Justice and Equal Employment Opportunity.
She previously served from 1996 to 1999 as an Essex County Freeholder, and was also a member of the East Orange Board of Education.
A graduate of Newark’s Weequahic High School, she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, cum laude, from Lincoln University. She holds a Master of Science in community organization, planning, and administration from Columbia University.
Oliver began a career in public service as the Director of the Office of Youth Services and Special Projects for the City of Newark, focusing on preparing young people for their post-secondary education and entry into the workforce. She later became the Development Director for the Newark Literacy Campaign while working at Caldwell College as the Coordinator of Career Guidance within the Educational Opportunity Fund Program.
She has taught college courses in achievement motivation, non-profit management, and pre-college preparation; served as a consultant to a variety of non-profit organizations; and spent several years as the Director of the Essex County Division of Community Action, an anti-poverty initiative.
Oliver has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations, including the East Orange General Hospital Board of Trustees, the United Way, the Newark Coalition for Neighborhoods, the Newark Collaboration Group, the Rutgers-Newark Educational Opportunity Fund Advisory Council, the Global Women’s Leadership Collaborative of New Jersey, the Essex County and East Orange Committees on the Status of Women, and Programs for Parents, among other community-based entities.