TRENTON, NJ - Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver was among a group of panelists featured during the First Annual Building the Bench Breakfast on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Hosted by Emerge New Jersey, the political training organization for Democratic women in the state, the event was held at the New Jersey Education Association office in Trenton.

The Building The Bench Breakfast had an empowering political panel moderated by award-winning reporter, Deb Howlett.

The panel featured the following Democratic female legislators: Senator Linda R. Greenstein (D), Senator Nellie Pou (D), Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D) and East Orange native Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver (D). Each panelist shared their journey to elected office and the challenges they overcame. “The road to becoming the first woman to represent the 14th Legislative District in the Senate has not been without challenges, but it has been very rewarding for me. I believed I could be a senator and a wife and a mother, and I am,” said Senator Greenstein.

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After the panel concluded, Emerge New Jersey honored the following women for their efforts of building the bench around the state: Princeton Public Affairs Group Partner Sonia Delgado; McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, LLC General Partner Lillian A. Plata; NJEA Government Relations Director Ginger Gold Schnitzer; and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

“Each honoree is a supporter of Emerge New Jersey and its efforts to change the face of New Jersey politics by identifying, training and encouraging Democratic women to run for office. We owe them a great debt of gratitude and thank them for building the bench in the state,” said Emerge New Jersey Executive Director Truscha Quatrone.

The Building The Bench Breakfast drew a crowd of more than 70 Emerge New Jersey supporters from around the state, including Senate President Steve Sweeney. “I want to congratulate Emerge New Jersey for the role they have played in helping New Jersey’s Democratic party expand the role of women in politics,” said Senate President Sweeney.

“The truth is, we live in an incredibly fractured time in politics. If my experience has proven anything, it’s that increasing the involvement of women in our state political circles will have a constructive and thoughtful impact on the way we govern in New Jersey. I applaud Emerge for their work, and look forward to their continued success.”

In addition to Senate President Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, NJDSC Vice Chair Lizette Delgado-Polanco, Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, Former Edison Mayor Jun Choi, CWA Area Director Hetty Rosenstein, HPAE Spokeswoman Bridget Devane, Tammy Murphy, and Paul Bontempo attended the Building The Bench Breakfast.