EAST ORANGE, NJ — A campaign kickoff was hosted July 27 by the 377 South Harrison Street Tenants Association in East Orange for New Jersey Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy and running mate Sheila Oliver, who currently represents the state’s 34th District. The previous day Murphy had announced his choice for Oliver, the former state Assembly speaker who represents the district that includes Orange and East Orange, as his running mate in the Nov. 6. gubernatorial election.
At the event, attended by both candidates, Oliver was full of praise for Murphy.
“Phil Murphy speaks to you and not at you and I have seen him on at least four occasions and I was very impressed each time,” said Oliver on July 27. “He speaks to you, not at you and above you. He can relate and communicate very well and I can see why he was selected as an ambassador because he has an innate ability to know what people need to know and how to communicate what he’s going to do for them. He really does.”
Also present at the kickoff was East Orange mayoral candidate Ted Green, director of the Irvington Building Department, who will appear on the Line A ticket with Murphy and Oliver on Nov. 6.
“I’m here to thank all of the residents and citizens who voted for me in the last election, and their confidence in me. I’m looking forward to being the 14th mayor of the city of East Orange and moving this city forward with a great group of people such as Gov. Phil Murphy, Sheila Oliver, Britney Timberlake, and the entire East Orange City Council,” Green said at the event.
The “Green Team in 2017” ticket also includes: 1st Ward Councilman Chris James, 2nd Ward Councilman Romal Bullock, 4th Ward Councilwoman Tyshammie Cooper and 5th Ward Councilwoman Alicia Holman.
But while East Orange Democratic Committee Chairman and Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman Leroy Jones said they aren’t taking anything for granted, he said Murphy’s choice of Oliver as his running mate at the top of the statewide Line A ticket was a “big deal” and that it “bodes well for everybody in the state of New Jersey.”
On Sunday, July 30, at the 12th annual Lincoln Park Music Festival in downtown Newark, U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. said Murphy and Oliver are making history with their ticket.
“Sheila Oliver is the most qualified person in New Jersey to be lieutenant governor,” Payne said. “Her intellect, her body of work has prepared her for this. It’s no mistake. It’s no fluke. He chose the right person, the most qualified person, so we’re very delighted about her prospects of being the first African-American lieutenant governor and it’s only rightfully so. From the speakership to lieutenant governor to who knows. It took until 1989 to get a black congressman in one district in the state of New Jersey.”
Green’s current East Orange 3rd Ward partner Quilla Talmadge and Orange At Large Councilwoman Donna K. Williams agreed that the choice of Oliver was a progressive one.
“I’ve known Sheila for a number of years. I’ve campaigned with her when she was running for freeholder and when she ran for the Assembly,” Talmadge said July 27. “Phil Murphy is just so lucky to have her for his lieutenant governor and we’re going to work very hard to make sure that it happens.”
Williams, who is also a member of the grassroots activist group People’s Organization for Progress, said Murphy struck a positive, progressive blow for women, minorities and others.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Williams July 30 at the music festival. “I think she has the wherewithal to do it. She has years of experience being an elected official and it’s her time. What a difference two years make from when she ran for U.S. Senator and lost. I think she will be an asset to the State of New Jersey and she will make us all proud.”