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Ruiz Statement on the Passing of Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver


Trenton – Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz issued the following statement today on the passing of Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver:

“Today, we bid farewell to a remarkable woman who was a trailblazer in this state, a friend to so many, but to me, family. Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver embodied the spirit of a warrior, she was a fierce advocate for our communities and led with resilience and compassion. She was not only a fearless fighter for the voiceless, but she was also a pioneer who shattered glass ceilings and opened doors for so many women and especially women of color. Born and raised in Newark, she carried the essence of her diverse upbringing throughout her distinguished career in public service.

“Sheila Oliver’s legacy will forever be etched in New Jersey’s history as the first woman of color to hold a statewide elected office. Her passion for social justice, women’s equality, and education was unwavering, and she used her position to advocate for a fairer and more equitable society. As Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, she championed initiatives to provide fair and affordable housing, uplift distressed communities, and prevent homelessness.

“Her impact extended beyond legislation; she touched the lives of countless individuals through mentorship and friendship. Her dedication to public service was rooted in the belief that government should work for the people, and she lived by that principle every day.

“Today, we mourn the loss of a true shero, advocate, and friend. Let us honor her memory by continuing the work she started, striving for a better, more just society for all New Jersey residents. Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, your light will forever shine in our hearts and we pray that you understood the profound impact your service has had to this State. Sammy, Silver and I are forever in your debt and we will profoundly miss you. Rest in power my sister.”