Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

New Jersey's First Black Woman to Be Lieutenant Governor

Lieutenant Governor, N.J.

1811_Sheila Oliver 09a
Sheila Oliver has long admired Shirley Chisholm. As the first black woman lieutenant governor of New Jersey, Oliver sees a role model in the late, iconic New York congresswoman, who was the first black woman elected to Congress and who made a historic bid for the presidency in 1972. “One of the things I learned from her,” Oliver says, “is that you have to learn to swim upstream when the current is going in the other direction. You also have to have an alligator hide.”

Oliver worked to develop that tough skin in her state’s General Assembly, where she served as a Democratic representative from 2004 to 2018 and as speaker between 2010 and 2014. She was only the second black woman speaker in the nation’s history. “Social media and technology has totally changed the game and made it possible for more women to be successful in running and winning office,” Oliver says, noting that “like-minded people, even though they may not live in your district or city or state,” can more easily support these candidates. Having worked in her legislature to raise the minimum wage and enact same-sex marriage, she looks forward to continuing to fight for affordable housing and free college as lieutenant governor.

 
Read about the Women in Government program and the rest of the honorees.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
Sponsored
In recent years, local governments have been forced to adapt to a wildly changing world, especially as it pertains to sending bills and collecting payments.
Sponsored
Workplace safety is in the spotlight as government leaders adapt to a prolonged pandemic.
Sponsored
While government employees, students and the general public had to wait in line for hours in the beginning of the pandemic, at-home test kits make it easy to diagnose for the novel coronavirus in less than 30 minutes.
Sponsored
Governments around the nation are working to design the best vaccine policies that keep both their employees and their residents safe. Although the latest data shows a variety of polarizing perspectives, there are clear emerging best practices that leading governments are following to put trust first: creating policies that are flexible and provide a range of options, and being in tune with the needs and sentiments of their employees so that they are able to be dynamic and accommodate the rapidly changing situation.
Sponsored
Service delivery and the individual experience within health and human services (HHS) is often very siloed and fragmented.
Sponsored
In this episode, Marianne Steger explains why health care for Pre-Medicare retirees and active employees just got easier.
Sponsored
Government organizations around the world are experiencing the consequences of plagiarism firsthand. A simple mistake can lead to loss of reputation, loss of trust and even lawsuits. It’s important to avoid plagiarism at all costs, and government organizations are held to a particularly high standard. Fortunately, technological solutions such as iThenticate allow government organizations to avoid instances of text plagiarism in an efficient manner.
Sponsored
Creating meaningful citizen experiences in a post-COVID world requires embracing digital initiatives like secure and ethical data sharing, artificial intelligence and more.
Sponsored
GHD identified four themes critical for municipalities to address to reach net-zero by 2050. Will you be ready?