Nikki Haley

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Nikki Haley
116th Governor of South Carolina
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 12, 2011
LieutenantKen Ard (2011-2012)
Glenn McConnell (2012-Present)
Preceded byMark Sanford
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives
from the 87th district
In office
2005–2010
Personal details
BornNimrata Nikki Randhawa[1][2][3][4]
(1972-01-20) January 20, 1972 (age 40)
Bamberg, South Carolina,
United States
NationalityAmerican
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Michael Haley
(2 children)
Alma materClemson University (B.S.)
ProfessionAccountant
ReligionMethodism
Websitewww.governor.sc.gov
 
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Nikki Haley
116th Governor of South Carolina
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 12, 2011
LieutenantKen Ard (2011-2012)
Glenn McConnell (2012-Present)
Preceded byMark Sanford
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives
from the 87th district
In office
2005–2010
Personal details
BornNimrata Nikki Randhawa[1][2][3][4]
(1972-01-20) January 20, 1972 (age 40)
Bamberg, South Carolina,
United States
NationalityAmerican
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Michael Haley
(2 children)
Alma materClemson University (B.S.)
ProfessionAccountant
ReligionMethodism
Websitewww.governor.sc.gov

Nimrata Nikki Randhawa Haley[1][2][3][4] (born January 20, 1972)[5][6] is an American politician and the 116th and current Governor of South Carolina. A member of the Republican Party, Haley represented Lexington County in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 2005 to 2010.[7] Haley received the highest proportion of the ethnic minority vote in South Carolina gubernatorial history.

In the 2010 South Carolina gubernatorial election, Haley was endorsed for the Republican nomination by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and the Tea Party movement.[8][9][10][11] On June 8, 2010, she finished first in the four-way Republican primary election with 49% of the vote, but fell short of the 50% required to avoid a runoff election. Haley won the runoff on June 22 with 65%,[12] and proceeded to win the general election by a 51–47% margin.

Haley is the first woman to serve as Governor of South Carolina and the second Indian-American governor in the country. At the age of 40, Haley is the youngest current governor in the United States.[13][14]

Contents

Early life, education and career

Haley was born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa[1][2][3][4] in Bamberg, South Carolina, on January 20, 1972, to a Sikh family. Her parents, Dr. Ajit Singh Randhawa and Raj Kaur Randhawa, are Sikh immigrants from Amritsar District, Punjab, India. She has two brothers, Mitti and Charan, and a sister, Simran.[15] Haley is a graduate of Orangeburg Preparatory Schools, and Clemson University with a B.S. in accounting[16]. She worked for FCR Corporation, a waste management and recycling company,[17][18] before joining her mother's business, Exotica International, an upscale clothing firm, in 1994.[19] The family business grew to become a multi-million dollar company.[19]

Haley was named to the board of directors of the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce in 1998.[20] She was named to the board of directors of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce in 2003. Haley became treasurer of the National Association of Women Business Owners in 2003 and president in 2004.[20] She chaired the Lexington Gala to raise funds for the local hospital.[19] She also serves on the Lexington Medical Foundation, Lexington County Sheriff's Foundation, West Metro Republican Women, President of the South Carolina Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Chairman for 2006 Friends of Scouting Leadership Division campaign and is a member of the Rotary Club in Lexington.[21]

State legislature

Elections

In 2004, she ran for the South Carolina House of Representatives for a district in Lexington County. She faced incumbent representative Larry Koon in the Republican primary. Koon, who had served since 1975, was the longest-serving member of the House. In the primary election, Haley won 40% of the vote (2,247 votes) to Koon's 42% (2,354 votes), thus forcing a runoff.[22] Her platform was anti-tax and fiscally conservative with an emphasis on education.[23] In the runoff, Haley won with 54.7% (2,928 votes) of the total. She then ran unopposed for the House seat; no Democrat even filed in the heavily Republican district. She became the first Indian-American to hold office in South Carolina.[24][25]

She was unopposed for reelection in 2006,[26] and defeated Democrat Edgar Gomez with 83 percent of the vote in 2008.[27]

Tenure

Haley served as secretary of the Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs committees. She also was elected chairman of the freshman caucus in 2005 and elected as majority whip in the South Carolina General Assembly.[21] She was the only freshman legislator named to a whip spot.[28]

Awards

Voting Record

Abortion and fetal rights

Haley is pro-life and consistently votes for bills that restrict abortion and bills that protect fetuses. She has also voted for bills that allow abortions in circumstances in which abortion might be necessary to save the woman's life. Haley voted for the Penalties for Harming an Unborn Child/Fetus law in 2006, the Pre-Abortion Ultrasound law in 2007, and the 24 Hour Waiting Period for Abortions bill in the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2009. The Penalties for Harming an Unborn Child/Fetus law says that any act of violence against a fetus is like a criminal act against the mother. The Pre-abortion Ultrasound law requires the woman considering an abortion to look at an ultrasound image before she is allowed to have an abortion. In addition, the 24 Hour Waiting Period for Abortions bill would have required the woman to wait one day from the time of the ultrasound before she is allowed to have an abortion.

Haley also voted yes on some bills that were tabled or rejected relating to abortion, including the Inclusion of Unborn Child/Fetus in Definition for Civil Suits Amendment, Prohibiting Employment Termination Due to Abortion Waiting Period amendment, and Exempting Cases of Rape from Abortion Waiting Period amendment. The Exempting Cases of Rape from Abortion Waiting Period amendment would have allowed specific cases of women to not have to wait the mandatory 24 hours before having an abortion.[31]

Taxation

One of Haley's stated goals is to lower taxes. Haley voted against a bill to override the governor's veto (when Mark Sanford was still in office) to place a surtax on every cigarette produced. The funds earned would be appropriated to smoking prevention programs and cancer research related to smoking.[32] She voted for a bill that raised sales taxes to six percent. The bill exempted sales tax on unprepared food such as canned goods. The same bill also exempts property tax on 'owner-occupied residential property' except for the taxes due from what is still owed on the property.[33]

Immigration

Haley, the daughter of immigrants, has stated she believes the immigration laws should be enforced. She voted in favor of the law that requires employers to be able to prove that any newly hired employees are legal residents of the United States, and also requires all immigrants to carry documentation at all times proving that they are legally in the United States. The law was adopted, but is currently the subject of a lawsuit initiated by the United States Justice Department on numerous grounds, including claims the immigration law violates the Supremacy Clause. Rob Godfrey, a spokesman for Haley, said, "If the feds were doing their job, we wouldn't have had to address illegal immigration reform at the state level. But, until they do, we're going to keep fighting in South Carolina to be able to enforce our laws."[34]

Education policies

Haley has said that funds allocated for public education can be utilized more effectively. She has proposed a plan that would determine a teacher's salary based not only on seniority and qualifications but also on job performance. Their performance rating would be determined by evaluations and reports from principals, students and parents.[35] During her gubernatorial campaign, Haley stated that she would be in favor of school choice and more charter schools.[36] She has said that wasteful spending occurs when funds allocated for education sit too long in departmental accounts before being spent.[citation needed]

2010 campaign for Governor

County-by-county results

On May 14, 2009, Haley announced that she would be running for the Republican nomination for Governor of South Carolina in 2010.[9] On November 11, 2009, she was endorsed by former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as well as Jenny Sanford, the incumbent first lady of South Carolina.[10][11][37] However, she remained in last place among primary candidates in the polls and also in fundraising until former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin endorsed her.[citation needed] The Republican gubernatorial primary took place on June 8, 2010, and Haley captured 49% of the vote, necessitating a runoff election on June 22.[38] Haley won handily in the runoff vote.[39]

In October 2010 South Carolina pollster Crantford & Associates reported Haley barely edging Democratic challenger Vincent Sheheen in general election polling 45% to 41%.[40]

Haley is also part of the Tea Party movement.[41][42]

Haley was elected governor on November 2, 2010, over the Democratic candidate, Vincent Sheheen 51% to 47%.[43]

Racial commentary against Haley

On June 3, 2010, on the Internet political talk show Pub Politics, State Senator Jake Knotts, a South Carolina lawmaker and supporter of Haley opponent Andre Bauer, repeatedly referred to Haley as a "raghead" because of her Sikh background (male Sikhs wear turbans as part of their religious uniform). Knotts said "We've already got a raghead in the White House, we don't need another raghead in the governor's mansion." The Republican state legislator later apologized for the slur, saying the remarks about President Barack Obama and Haley were meant as a joke.[44][45]

Haley campaign manager Tim Pearson called Knotts "an embarrassment to our state and to the Republican Party." Jenny Sanford, the former first lady of South Carolina reaffirmed her support for Haley stating that "I can't help but think that these attacks are being leveled at Nikki Haley because of the courageous stands she has taken over the years in defense of taxpayers and government reform - stands that offend many of the most powerful interests in state government. I am more convinced than ever that Nikki Haley is the best person to be South Carolina's next Governor."[46]

Allegations of affairs

On May 24, 2010, Will Folks, former press secretary for South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, made a claim on his blog that he had an inappropriate physical relationship with Haley "several years ago".[47] Haley has denied the claim, stating "I have been 100 percent faithful to my husband throughout our 13 years of marriage. This claim against me is categorically and totally false."[48] Folks attempted to substantiate his claim by releasing phone records that he said show 700 calls between the two while Folks was working as a political consultant for the Haley campaign.[49][50] Folks said he was "forced" to reveal the alleged affair as a preemptive measure after discovering Haley's political foes were attempting to publicize the story.[51]

On June 3, 2010, Larry Marchant, a consultant for Andre Bauer's gubernatorial campaign, made a statement alleging he and Haley had a one-time sexual encounter.[52]

In a June 2010 interview, Haley said that if she were elected governor and the claims were later validated she would resign the office.[53]

Governorship

Economic policies

Haley supports lower taxes and opposes regulation. In inviting business to move to South Carolina she has said:

"What I'm saying is, if you come to South Carolina, the cost of doing business is going to be low here. We are go going to make sure that you have a loyal, willing workforce and we are going to be one of the lowest union-participation states in the country."[54][55]

Other policies

Haley signed a law cracking down on illegal immigration in June 2011.[56] She supports a law requiring photo identification at the polls.[57]

"Little girl" incident

Following a trip to Europe to meet with companies that might invest in South Carolina, Haley was criticized for the $127,000 of taxpayer money spent on the week-long trip, including unnecessary luxuries such as five star hotels.[58] The spending was reported in an article in The Post and Courier of Charleston by journalist Renee Dudley.[58] While interviewed on The Laura Ingraham Show Haley said, "God bless that little girl at The Post and Courier. I mean her job is to try and create conflict. My job is to create jobs. In the end I'm going to have jobs to show for it." Haley was then attacked for that statement, which she later apologized for while admitting her poor choice of words.[58][59]

Personal life

Haley was born and raised as a Sikh. On September 6, 1996, she married Michael Haley in both a Methodist church ceremony and a Sikh gurdwara.[60] Haley identifies herself today as a Christian,[61] but attends both Sikh and Methodist services out of respect for her parents' culture.[41][62] She sits on the board for Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church.[63]

Michael is a federal employee with the United States Department of the Army and an officer in the South Carolina Army National Guard.[64] The couple have two children, Rena and Nalin.[65][66] Haley's brother Mitti was an active duty officer who served in the U.S. Army for 20 years.[67]

References

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  2. ^ a b c "Truth in Facts". Nikki Haley for Governor. August 17, 2009. http://www.nikkihaley.com/truthinfacts/. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
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  6. ^ Page, Susan (2012-04-02). "Don't say 'no' to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/story/2012-04-02/nikki-haley-south-carolina/53957632/1.
  7. ^ "Belles of the South". Audrey. April–May 2006.
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  15. ^ Raj Randhawa Takes Her Family Business from Strength to Strength - NRI Achievers
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  40. ^ "Election 2010: South Carolina Governor: Crantford & Associates". Indigo Journal. http://www.indigojournal.com/2010/10/01/new-sc-polling-haley-45-sheheen-41/. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
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  42. ^ "Tea partiers ascend in many states". Salon.com. http://www.salon.com/news/tea_parties/?story=/news/feature/2010/07/03/us_tea_party_next_up. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
  43. ^ Evans, Jason (November 2010). "Nikki Haley to be state's first female governor". The Pickens Sentinel. http://www.pickenssentinel.com/view/full_story/10145728/article-Nikki-Haley-to-be-state%E2%80%99s-first-female-governor-. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
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  45. ^ Hutchins, Corey (June 4, 2010). "Sen. Knotts Calls Haley a 'Raghead', Says 'We're at war over there'". Free Times.
  46. ^ Alongi, Paul. "Jenny Sanford says she stands behind Nikki Haley". The Greenville News. June 4, 2010.
  47. ^ "Will Folks: Letting the Chips Fall". Retrieved May 25, 2010.
  48. ^ "Sex, scandal again in South Carolina political air". Yahoo News. Associated Press. May 25, 2010. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
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  52. ^ Siegel, Elyse (2010-06-03). "Nikki Haley Affair: Larry Marchant Dishes Details Of Alleged One Night Stand (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/03/nikki-haley-affair-larry_n_599346.html. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
  53. ^ http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/06/haley_i_will_resign_if_affair_claims_are_validated.php
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  55. ^ Romney ... Receives Haley Nod
  56. ^ Richard Fausset (January 18, 2012). "For Romney, immigration issue offers an opportunity". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jan/18/nation/la-na-romney-immigration-20120119.
  57. ^ Collins, Jeffrey (January 22, 2012). "Nikki Haley Excoriated By Black Leaders Over South Carolina Voter ID Law". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/22/nikki-haley-south-carolina-voter-id-jesse-jackson_n_1221987.html.
  58. ^ a b c "South Carolina Governor Calls Reporter 'Little Girl' Over Story". Associated Press. Fox News. September 10, 2011. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/09/10/south-carolina-governor-calls-reporter-little-girl-over-story/. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  59. ^ "SS.C. Governor Nikki Haley Apologizes for Calling Reporter ‘Little Girl’". New York Magazine. 2011-09-10. http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/09/sc_governor_nikki_haley_apolog.html. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
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  61. ^ Nikki Haley for South Carolina Governor. "Question: Is Nikki a Christian?". Truth in Facts. NikkiHaley.com. Retrieved October 25, 2009.
  62. ^ O'Connor, John (June 4, 2010). "S.C. state Sen. Knotts uses racial slur against Haley". The Miami Herald. Associated Press. http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/06/04/1663047/sc-state-sen-knotts-uses-racial.html. Retrieved June 8, 2010.[dead link]
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  67. ^ Rucker, Philip (June 8, 2010). "Nikki Haley: 10 things you didn't know about the S.C. Republican". The Washington Post. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/06/nikki-haley-10-things-you-didn.html. Retrieved July 31, 2010.

External links

South Carolina House of Representatives
Preceded by
Larry Koon
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives
from the 87th district

2005–2010
Succeeded by
Todd Atwater
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mark Sanford
Republican nominee for Governor of South Carolina
2010
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Mark Sanford
Governor of South Carolina
2011–present
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Joe Biden
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Within South Carolina
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John Lynch
as Governor of New Hampshire