Acting Prosecutor Stephens offers the following comments on the life and legacy of the late Lieutenant Governor:
“I met the Lieutenant Governor in the 1990s. She was born in Newark but moved to East Orange, where I’ve lived most of my life. We first met when Mayor Cardell Cooper appointed Sheila to the East Orange Board of Education. That was the beginning of an exemplary career in public service. I am deeply saddened by her passing.
She had a unique ability to connect and empathize with her constituents, especially when they were going through trying times. It was not uncommon to see the Lieutenant Governor become emotional in her zeal for a topic for which she was concerned; almost always, it dealt with the plight of those who were experiencing distress and/or needed assistance. She was authentically moved and saddened by the loss and suffering faced by residents of our county and state. And now, I’m saddened by her loss.
As the Lieutenant Governor, she combined seemingly mutually exclusive characteristics. She was a woman who was extremely committed and intelligent but knew how to disagree with people without necessarily being disagreeable. She was an excellent public official, but she was an even better person. And if that’s what people are left to remember about Sheila Oliver, then in my humble opinion that is a legacy worth remembering. Her passing is a loss for all of us. May she rest in eternal peace.”