Tahesha Way to Be New Jersey’s Next Lieutenant Governor

September 8, 2023 by Dan McCue
Tahesha Way to Be New Jersey’s Next Lieutenant Governor
Tahesha Way

TRENTON, N.J. — Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday named Secretary of State Tahesha Way the next lieutenant governor of the state of New Jersey, five weeks after Sheila Oliver, his previous lieutenant governor, unexpectedly died in office.

Way, 51, has served as secretary of state since 2018 and among her accomplishments was overseeing a 2020 presidential primary and general election that was conducted almost entirely by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She was sworn in as lieutenant governor by Stuart Rabner, chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, during a ceremony at the New Jersey Executive State House Friday morning.

She succeeds Oliver, who was serving as acting governor as Murphy vacationed in Italy, when she was rushed to the hospital on July 31 for an undisclosed medical issue. The 71-year-old trailblazer — Oliver had been the first Black woman elected to statewide office in New Jersey — died the next day.

“Sheila Oliver was the greatest partner in government I could have ever hoped for, and she leaves incredibly big shoes to fill,” Murphy said at Way’s swearing-in ceremony. 

“While no one can truly replace her, I am deeply proud to appoint Secretary of State Tahesha Way to succeed her as lieutenant governor,” he said. 

“Tahesha has been with our administration from the very beginning, and her work over the past five-and-a-half years leading the Department of State has grown New Jersey’s tourism economy, uplifted small businesses and strengthened our election system. Tahesha is the perfect candidate to join me in finishing the job that Sheila and I started,” Murphy added.

As for Way, she remembered Oliver as “a close friend and mentor.”

“To have been selected as her successor as New Jersey’s next lieutenant governor is one of the greatest honors of my career,” she continued. “I look forward to finishing the work of this administration with Gov. Murphy and continuing to build on the legacy Lt. Gov. Oliver fostered.”

Way comes to the lieutenant governor position with over two decades in public service. In addition to fulfilling her duties as lieutenant governor, she will also continue to serve as secretary of state. 

During her tenure as secretary of state, Way became the first Black person and first secretary of state from New Jersey to serve as president of the National Association of Secretaries of State. 

Prior to becoming secretary of state, Way was an administrative law judge for the state of New Jersey. 

Prior to that, she was elected to the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2006, where she later served as the Freeholder director in 2009. She also served as a council member for the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council. 

Way is a graduate of Brown University. She also holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law at Charlottesville. She and her husband Charles have four children and reside in Wayne. 

In a written statement, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said Murphy had chosen “an exceptional leader” to fill the post of lieutenant governor, “Someone whose love of our state is manifest in her exemplary record of public service.

“As New Jersey’s top election official and the first Black person to lead the National Association of Secretaries of State, Sec. Way has worked tirelessly to protect the integrity of our elections and ensure access to the ballot box,” Booker said. “She has also been a powerful force in supporting New Jersey’s tourism and leisure industries and building a stronger economy.

“I’m excited to work with Sec. Way in her new role as we serve the people of New Jersey with renewed purpose and dedication in honor of the remarkable life and legacy of the late Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver,” the senator added.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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  • Cory Booker
  • Lieutenant Governor
  • New Jersey
  • Phil Murphy
  • Sheila Oliver
  • Tahesha Way
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