Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered flags at New Jersey state buildings until Sunday in honor of former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who died on Wednesday at age 84.
“Secretary Madeleine Albright was a mentor and friend who represented our nation before the world with strength, intelligence, and humor,” Murphy said. “Her advice guided presidents. Her example guided her successors as Secretary of State. Her conscience will guide our ongoing fight against tyrants and oppression around the globe. It is with a heavy heart that we mourn her passing as we recognize her unparalleled life and enduring legacy.”
Albright served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations during President Bill Clinton’s first term and as Secretary of State during his second.
Her death leaves six living former secretaries of state: Henry Kissinger (Nixon and Ford); James Baker (George H.W. Bush); Condoleezza Rice (George W. Bush); Hillary Clinton (Obama); John Kerry (Obama); Rex Tillerson (Trump); and Mike Pompeo (Trump).
Murphy ordered New Jersey flags to be lowered following the death of former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in October 2021, but not when George P. Schultz, who held the post under Ronald Reagan, died in February 2021.
Schultz grew up in Englewood and graduated from Princeton University and served in Richard Nixon’s cabinet as Labor and Treasury secretary and as director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Alexander Haig, who preceded Schultz as Secretary of State, had some ties to New Jersey. His sister, Regina Meredith, was the first woman to serve as a Mercer County Freeholder and was a longtime Republican state committeewoman.
Meredith ran for State Assembly in 1977 in a district that included parts of Mercer, Hunterdon, Middlesex and Morris counties, but lost to Democrat Barbara McConnell by 1,463 votes in a ticket-splitting election that produced GOP winners for Senate – Moose Foran (R-Flemington) – and Assembly – Karl Weidel (R-Pennington).
Only one U.S. Secretary of State has hailed from New Jersey: Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, who held the post under Chester Arthur. He was the great-great-grandfather of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding).