Governor Phil Murphy Appoints Tahesha L. Way as New Jersey’s Next Lieutenant Governor

Tahesha L. Way Lieutenant Governor
Tahesha L. Way Lieutenant Governor Courtesy of njccgovguide.com

This article was first reported by New Jersey Globe

G:overnor Phil Murphy has selected Tahesha L. Way, who has been serving as the Secretary of State since 2018, to be New Jersey’s upcoming lieutenant governor. This announcement is expected to be made public tomorrow. Tahesha Way will be succeeding Sheila Oliver, who unfortunately passed away on August 1 due to a prolonged illness.

At 51 years of age, Way will not only take on the role of lieutenant governor but will also continue her duties as Secretary of State. It’s noteworthy that she is not anticipated to run for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2025, given that Murphy will have reached his term limit by then.

Earlier this week, Governor Murphy had narrowed down his choices for the position to two main contenders: Tahesha Way and Nina Mitchell Wells. Wells, who previously held the position of New Jersey’s Secretary of State under Governor Jon Corzine, was a significant contributor to the national Democratic party. She was rigorously considered for the lieutenant governor post.

Another notable mention is Commissioner of Transportation Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, who had to withdraw her consideration due to potential conflicts with the State Constitution’s seven-year residency requirement. Dr. Brian Bridges, the current Secretary of Higher Education for New Jersey, was also a top contender for the position. However, his residency in the Washington area during his tenure at the United Negro College Fund might have posed challenges.

The appointment of the lieutenant governor is solely at the discretion of Governor Murphy and doesn’t require Senate confirmation. Chief Justice Stuart Rabner is slated to officiate Way’s swearing-in ceremony tomorrow.

Tahesha Way, a staunch supporter of Murphy, will be the third individual to hold the position of lieutenant governor in the state and the second Black woman to do so. Historically, New Jersey’s lieutenant governors have also held cabinet positions. For instance, Kim Guadagno served as Secretary of State, while Oliver was the Commissioner of Community Affairs.

Way’s political journey includes her election as Passaic County Freeholder in 2006, although she faced a defeat in her re-election bid two years later. Before joining Murphy’s cabinet in January 2018, she served as an attorney for the Passaic County Board of Social Services and as an Administrative Law Judge.

In October, Way will assume the role of acting governor for nine days while Murphy embarks on an economic development trip to Asia. During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Way was tasked with overseeing primary and general elections, which were predominantly conducted through mail. This resulted in over 4.6 million vote-by-mail ballots being cast in the November 2020 presidential election.

Tahesha Way is married to Charles Way, a former player for the New York Giants and an NFL executive. She is an alumnus of Brown University and the University of Virginia Law School.

The position of lieutenant governor in New Jersey was established following a 2005 referendum, after the state saw two governors resign in less than four years.