Black History Month: Highlighting New Jersey Lt. Gov. Tahesha Way
The role of New Jersey lieutenant governor is a fairly new state government position, one that began under former Gov. Chris Christie. As we celebrate Black History Month and the accomplishments of African Americans in New Jersey, News 12 New Jersey’s Naomi Yané sat down with Lt. Gov.Tahesha Way – the third woman to hold the position.
“I feel highly privileged serving as the lieutenant governor for our Gov. Phil Murphy and of course still continuing my role as New Jersey Secretary of State,” Way said.
She’s been the Secretary of State since 2018 and under the constitution, the lieutenant governor also holds a cabinet position. In her role as lieutenant governor, the mom of four and wife serves alongside the governor, second in command, ensuring the governor’s agenda is moving forward and also stepping into the role of governor if the governor is out of the state or incapacitated. But there’s a long list of responsibilities for the state’s second-in-command.
“I oversee the business action center, all of our great cultural commissions the office of volunteerism the state museum archives and the Council Of The Arts And Travel And Tourism, just to name a few. It just is inspiring to be part of this body of work and especially because each of these portfolios really touches upon public-facing work with the many residents of New Jersey,” said Way.
Working with people and being of service to others like her parents were, is what got her here. The lieutenant governor is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Virginia School of Law. She’s a member of several service organizations, including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. Over the past 20 years, she’s served at numerous levels of local and state government. But, after suffering from a massive brain hemorrhage at just 19, her part of servitude was clear to her.
“That was my moment in which I said to myself, ‘What is it that you really want to do, Tahesha?’ The perfect marriage of law and writing, advocating and writing came to fruition after I suffered the brain hemorrhage,” she said.
Way has been lieutenant governor since Sept. 8, 2023 - stepping into the position of her close personal friend and mentor Sheila Oliver, who died after a short hospitalization. And as she continues to settle into the role and make it her own, she also wants to honor her predecessor’s legacy.
“I am forever grateful for her. What I saw and how she mentored me was more on the lens of being yourself with integrity in all of your work. Sheila Oliver was one of the greatest,” said Way.
Looking ahead, Way has a lengthy list of things she’d like to accomplish or improve for New Jerseyans, like wealth disparity, reproductive rights and continued work with voter rights and civic engagement, focusing always on the people of our great state.