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New Jersey to hold three-day state funeral for late Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey will send off Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who died after being hospitalized this week, with a three-day state funeral.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement that Oliver’s remains would lie in state in the Capitol rotunda Thursday, followed by a similar honor in her home county’s historic courthouse on Aug. 11. A funeral is set for Aug. 12 in Newark’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

Beginning Friday flags on state buildings will fly half-staff in honor of Oliver for the next month.

Oliver died Tuesday, just a day after the governor’s office said she was admitted to a hospital with an undisclosed medical issue. No cause was given for her death in a statement from the governor’s office on behalf of Oliver’s family, which asked for privacy.

Her death coincided with Murphy’s vacation in Italy and while she was serving as acting governor.

Murphy cut his trip short by 10 days, returning to New Jersey on Thursday.

He’s set to meet Friday with state government workers who worked alongside Oliver at the Department of Community Affairs, which oversees state aid to cities and towns among other duties, and where she was also the commissioner. Lieutenant governors in New Jersey assume a Cabinet position in addition to their role as filling in for the governor if she or he is incapacitated or out of state.

Oliver, also a Democrat, was the first Black woman to hold statewide elected office in New Jersey, winning the vote alongside Murphy in 2017 and again in 2021. She was a well-known figure in state government and made history in 2010 by becoming the first Black woman to lead the state Assembly.

She also signed several bills while deputizing for Murphy.

In 2021, she signed a bill that established a pilot program to overhaul the state’s juvenile justice system in four cities and that aimed to reintegrate young people into their communities. Another measure she signed in 2021 revived a defunct fund for “urban enterprise zones” aimed at driving economic development in cities through lower sales tax rates.

The Associated Press

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