Hundreds of federal, state and local officials, including from Phillipsburg, among those who paid tribute to Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver
Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver dies at 71
Essex County Democrat was the first woman of color to serve as Assembly Speaker and to win a statewide election. By David Wildstein, August 01, 2023, 12:25 pm
Sheila Y. Oliver, the trailblazing two-term lieutenant governor who became the first woman of color to serve as Assembly Speaker and the first to win a statewide election, died today after a long illness. She was 71.
Oliver spent 27 years in public office as a fierce advocate for social justice, affordable housing, opportunities for women, and New Jersey’s economically disadvantaged communities.
In 2017, Phil Murphy, then the Democratic nominee for governor, picked Oliver as his running mate. They defeated Republicans Kim Guadagno and Carlos Rendo by a fourteen-point margin. Murphy also picked Oliver as Commissioner of Community Affairs in his cabinet.
“I knew then that her decades of public service made her the ideal partner for me to lead the State of New Jersey,” Murphy said. ”It was the best decision I ever made.”
Murphy said that Oliver “did not view these issues in the abstract because she lived with them every day of her life.”
“She brought a unique and invaluable perspective to our public policy discourse and served as an inspiration to millions of women and girls everywhere, especially young women of color,” he said. “She was an incredibly genuine and kind person whose friendship and partnership will be irreplaceable.”
Oliver ran for Essex County Freeholder in 1993 on an off-the-line slate backed by State Sen. Richard Codey (D-West Orange). She lost the primary to the organization line slate headed by incumbent Joseph DiVincenzo.
Mayor Cardell Cooper appointed Oliver to serve on the East Orange Board of Education the following year. She served there until 2000.
Following the retirement of Essex County Freeholder Arthur Wright in 1996, Essex County Democrats backed Oliver to succeed him in the East Orange-based District 3 seat. After Wright resigned in June to become the deputy county clerk, Oliver was appointed to fill the unexpired term.
Oliver sought the Democratic nomination for mayor of East Orange in 1997. She came within 51 votes of defeating Robert Bowser in a field of five candidates.
Democrats backed Tony Jackson to replace her as a freeholder in 1999, and in 2000 she became the deputy Essex County Administrator while Republican James Treffinger was still the county executive. She remained in a county post, including a stint as director of the Essex County Department of Citizen Services and Economic Development, Training and Employment, until she was elected lieutenant governor.
After legislative redistricting in 2001 created a solidly Democratic 34th district represented by Republican State Sen. Norman Robertson (R-Clifton), Oliver became a candidate for the State Senate. But Essex Democrats backed Assemblywoman Nia Gill (D-Montclair) instead, and Oliver lost the primary by a 78%-18% margin and a plurality of 8,243 votes.
Two years later, when the Essex County Democratic organization tossed Gill from their ticket and backed former Assemblyman LeRoy Jones, Jr. (D-East Orange), Oliver became a candidate for State Assembly. Democrats also withdrew party support for freshman Assemblyman Willis Edwards (D-East Orange), and Oliver ran with Jones and Assemblyman Peter Eagler (D-Clifton). While Gill narrowly edged out Jones for the Senate, Oliver was the top vote-getter in her race, running 1,469 votes ahead of Gill’s running mate, Helyn Baltimore.
She became the Assistant Majority Leader in 2006 and chaired the Assembly Human Services Committee.
A Senate legislative coup in 2009 led to Oliver’s meteoric rise in power. As part of a deal for Steve Sweeney to take out Richard Codey as Senate President, Oliver became the new Assembly Speaker.
She became the first Democratic woman to serve as Speaker – Marion West Higgins (R-Westwood) held the post in 1965 – and the first Black Speaker – S. Howard Woodson (D-Trenton) served from 1974 to 1976.
In contrast with Sweeney, Oliver was often a ferocious critic of the state’s Republican governor, Chris Christie. She called him “mentally deranged” and a liar.
In 2011, she faced a possible challenge from Joseph Cryan (D-Union) after she backed Christie on pension reforms.
But after four years as Speaker, political alliances changed, and she was replaced by Vincent Prieto (D-Secaucus).
Following the death of Frank Lautenberg, Oliver sought the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2013. She finished fourth in a special primary election that Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, won.
As a legislator, Oliver advocated for increases in the state’s minimum wage, affordable health care, better public schools, and increased funding for Planned Parenthood.
Oliver became New Jersey’s second lieutenant governor in 2018, a position created nearly a decade earlier after New Jersey watched two consecutive governors resign and be replaced by the Senate President.
As head of the Department of Community Affairs, Oliver managed the state’s takeover of Atlantic City. She also championed tax incentives for neighborhood revitalizations, urban enterprise zones, and programs to prevent homelessness.
Born in Newark, Oliver graduated from Lincoln University and received her master’s degree from Columbia University. She has taught at Essex County College. She helped found the Newark Coalition for Low-Income Housing and was director of Newark’s Office of Youth Services and Special Projects.
Oliver is survived by her mother, Jennie, and her brother, Charles.
Fulop wins his second county chairman endorsement
Warren County’s top Democrat, Tom Palmieri, backs Jersey City mayor’s bid for governor.
By David Wildstein, June 15 2023 7:01 am
In his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop has picked up the backing of Warren County Democratic Chairman Tom Palmieri.
“New Jersey has made tremendous progress over the last six years, which is why we need a candidate for Governor who can win in 2025 and continue moving our state forward — there is no one better equipped for that fight than Steven Fulop,” Palmieri said. “I’m ecstatic to announce the Warren County Democratic Committee’s support for Mayor Fulop, and I look forward to working closely with him to deliver the leadership our state needs.”
Washington Celebrates America - Mayor Ethel Conry, Washington Boro Dems & Warren County Young Dems President Chris Bauknight
WCDC & Blairstown Dems in Blairstown for July 4th Event.
WCDC spring fundraiser at Hawk Pointe
Convención de nominación de la WCDC 27/02/22 11 a. m.
Reunión virtual - Instrucciones a seguir
Ann Stone, a former Warren County freeholder and a Democrat, dies at 84
Daughter of a GOP county chairman switched parties in 1987
By David Wildstein, April 11 2023 12:12 pm
Ann M. Stone, a former Warren County commissioner and Greenwich mayor who won three countywide elections as a Democrat, died on April 8. She was 84.
Along with James DeBosh, Stone was part of the last Democratic majority on the Warren County Board of Freeholders when her party had two of the three seats in 2000.
Stone became involved in politics at a young age; her father, Harry Snyder, served as Warren County GOP chairman and county clerk.
She began her political career in 1970 when she won a seat on the Greenwich Township Board of Education. She was re-elected in 1973, 1976, and 1979 and spent six years as the school board president.
Stone was elected to the Greenwich Township Committee in 1981 as a Republican. She defeated Democrat James Pacenti with 72% of the vote. She became Greenwich’s first woman mayor and was re-elected in 1984.
In 1986, Stone, then the Republican mayor, endorsed Democrat John Polhemus for freeholder after her preferred candidate in the general election, Rosemarie Albanese, lost the GOP primary to White Township Committeeman Harold Reeves. Polhemus defeated Reeves by seventeen percentage points.
The endorsement of Polhemus led to a split between Stone and top Warren GOP leaders, including Assembly Majority Leader Chuck Haytaian (R-Hackettstown) and GOP County Chairman Frank DeLello.
Stone switched parties in 1987 and became the Democratic candidate for freeholder against GOP incumbent Kenneth Miller. She came within 178 votes of winning the general election. Still, Stone was re-elected to the township committee, this time as a Democrat.
Running for freeholder again in 1988, Stone defeated Anthony Fowler, the Republican incumbent, with 56% of the vote. She did that even as George H.W. Bush carried Warren County in the presidential election with 64.5% of the vote.
In the 1991 Republican wave election that followed Gov. Jim Florio’s $2.8 billion tax increase, Jake Matthenius defeated Stone with 58% of the vote. Matthenius was a political newcomer who had headed the state’s beekeeping industry during his 42 years at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
After the election, Florio hired Stone in the governor’s Office of Constituent Relations.
In 1994, Stone sought a rematch with Matthenius and ousted him by about 1,000 votes, 52%-48%. Haytaian, then the Assembly Speaker, carried Warren County with 62% in his U.S. Senate race against Frank Lautenberg that year.
Seeking re-election in 1997, Stone faced Hackettstown Mayor John DiMaio, now the Assembly Minority Leader. She won by seven points, 49%-42%, with independent John Celentano receiving 8%.
As a candidate for re-election in 2000, Stone faced a challenge from a young West Point graduate and attorney, Michael Doherty. Doherty came within 221 votes of unseating Assemblywoman Connie Myers (R-Milford) in the Republican primary in 1999.
Doherty ousted Stone by 4,217 votes, 51%-40%, with Celentano (6%) and Thomas “Reggie” Regrut (3%) running as independents.
Stone made one last run for office in 2004, challenging DiMaio, who had joined the freeholder board in late 2000. DiMaio defeated her by 4,000 votes, 43%-45%.
Over the years, Stone served on the Warren County Tax Board and Board of Elections.
Predeceased by her husband, Dale, Stone is survived by her four daughters, fifteen grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
A visitation will be held on April 14 at the Stewartsville Presbyterian Church from 10-11 AM, followed by an 11 AM funeral service.
Ann M. Stone, 84, of Stewartsville, NJ passed away on Saturday, April 8, 2023 at Complete Care of Brakeley Park Center.
Ann was born in Bellefonte, PA on August 14, 1938 to the late Harry J. Snyder, Sr. and Marion Bieler Snyder.
Ann had been a government official for Warren County and Greenwich Township, NJ for many years. She was a member of the Greenwich Township Board of Education (1970-1981), serving as president for six years. Ann was a member of the Greenwich Township Committee (1981-1990), of which she was Greenwich Township's First Female Mayor, having served for six years. She served on the Warren County Freeholder Board (1989-1991 and 1994-1997), of which she was Director for one year during each term. Ann was an aide to New Jersey Governor James Florio (1992-1993), working in The Office of Constituent Relations. In 1996, she was awarded the Warren County Woman of the Year award.
Ann had served as President of the Warren County Cancer Society, was a member of the Warren County Tax Board, was involved with the Warren County Habitat for Humanity Organization, the Warren County Election Board, the Warren County and Greenwich Township Democratic Committee, and the Warren County Welfare Board.
Ann was a member of Stewartsville Presbyterian Church, where she served as an elder and deacon, was a Member and Senior Coordinator of Greenwich Township Senior Citizens, and was a Founding and Life member of the Greenwich Township Historical Society.
Ann is survived by Four Daughters, Debbie Riley of Stewartsville, NJ, Kim Stone of Stewartsville, NJ, Denise DeMasi of Bethlehem, PA, and Dawyne Stone of Alpha, NJ; 15 Grandchildren; 9 Great-Grandchildren; Sister, Sally J (George) Wilbur of MN and AZ; Two Brothers, Thomas (Connie) Snyder of AZ, Charlie (Karin) Snyder of GA; Daughter-in-law, Brenda Stone of Stewartsville, NJ; Two Sister-in-Laws, Alice Stone of Bloomsbury, NJ and Barbara Snyder of AZ; many nieces and nephews. Ann was predeceased by her Beloved Husband, Robert D. "Dale" Stone, Sr., Son, Robert D. "Bob" Stone, Jr. and Brother, Harry J Snyder, Jr.
A Visitation for the Family and Friends of Ann will be held on Friday, April 14, 2023 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am at Stewartsville Presbyterian Church; 550 North Main St; Stewartsville, NJ 08886, with a Service at 11am. Interment will be in Stewartsville (Presbyterian) Cemetery.
Memorials may be made in Ann's name to Stewartsville Presbyterian Church Deacons; 550 North Main St.; Stewartsville, NJ 08886, American Cancer Society; 110 W. Laurel Ave.; Cheltenham, PA 19012, or American Heart Association; 450 Hamburg Pike #2a; Wayne, NJ 07470. Condolences may be made at www.rupellfuneralhome.com