TRENTON - Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver was sworn in as the state's newest speaker of the General Assembly, becoming the state's first black woman to lead a legislative house in New Jersey.
Democrats said she also became just the second black woman to lead a state legislative house.
Oliver, 57, is an Essex County administrator and holds a masters degree in planning and administration from Columbia University, according to her official biography.
She has served in the Assembly since 2004, chairing the Human Services committee in the last session.
But Oliver, D-Essex, Passaic, was little known before the fall, until moves designed to elevate Sen. Steve Sweeney, D-Cumberland, Salem, Gloucester into the senate presidency booster Oliver as well.
She was named to replace outgoing Speaker Joseph Roberts, D-Camden. But she represents Essex County, making it unlikely that senators would give Sen. Richard Codey, D-Essex, another term as senate president and allow one county's representatives to lead both legislative houses.
It is unclear what impact her term would have on local issues.
One impact on the region will be her moving gaming issues out of their respective tourism and gaming committees and folded into the regulatory oversight committee.
It is unclear what impact the move will be. It could lessen the attention to gaming issues in Trenton, or it could serve to better integrate the anticipated gaming reform proposals with the resorts unique development issues.
The arts will get closer attention, by being added to the tourism committee.