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Oliver to write book about stint as first African-American woman Assembly speaker

Glenn Townes | 1/9/2014, 1:26 p.m.
Sheila Oliver

Former state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver announced last week that she is writing a tell-all book about her shaky four years as New Jersey’s first African-American woman to serve as state Assembly speaker.

Oliver, 61, has served as speaker since 2010 and will be officially replaced in mid-January by Democratic Assemblyman Vincent Prieto. She represents the 34th District, which includes the cities of Clifton, East Orange and Montclair.

In a brief statement to constituents, Oliver said she is working on a memoir chronicling some of her many challenges as an African-American woman Assembly speaker. The announcement comes after a difficult year in the political spotlight year for Oliver, including a dead-last finish last summer in the Senate primaries, frequent public clashes with Gov. Chris Christie and an acrimonious relationship with powerful politico Democratic state Senate President Stephen Sweeney.

Some contend the biggest accomplishment of Oliver’s bumpy tenure was advocating for an increase in the state’s minimum wage—a battle that she ultimately won, as the state recently increased the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour.

No word from Oliver as to if she will self-publish the book or market it to a mainstream publishing house.