Nikki Haley on Principles & Values
State workers all say "It's a Great Day in South Carolina"
When I first ran for governor, I often heard people speaking negatively about our state, both here at home and around the country. When we first asked public servants to answer the phones at state agencies with "It's a Great Day in South Carolina, how
may I help you?" they hated it. But it wasn't just some off-the-wall catchphrase--it had two purposes, in fact:
So in spite of the pushback we kept saying it. Now, the first thing I hear wherever I speak is almost always, "It's a Great Day in South Carolina." Because, it almost always is.
Source: 2017 State of the State address to S.C. Legislature
, Jan 11, 2017
- It was to remind those public servants that they worked for the person on the other side of the phone and that they were there, above
all, to answer whatever question might come up.
- South Carolina was never the state it was portrayed to be. It was time for the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, to see South Carolina as she truly is--a state of unlimited potential and
unrivaled beauty populated by good, faithful, hardworking people.
Local government needs to be more accountable
My two main priorities in terms of government reform haven't changed: Requiring public officials to disclose who pays them and having independent investigators oversee legislators, just like they do for every other elected official in the state.
The House has passed both. Repeatedly. South Carolina thanks you for that. The Senate has refused to even vote on either. Repeatedly. It should not be this hard.
Source: 2016 State of the State speech to South Carolina legislature
, Jan 20, 2016
Removing religion from public discourse is entirely wrong
My conversion and my walk with God as a Christian remain intensely personal to me. I will probably never be 1 of those politicians who sprinkle biblical passages into every speech.
Mind you, I have no objection to those who do. The effort by some in our country to remove religion from public discourse is entirely wrong. Public policy would benefit from more, not less, infusion of religious values.
But I think maybe my upbringing as a religious minority has made me sensitive to how religious talk can easily become politically manipulated.
And that's just not who I am. What I do know is that you can never have too much of God in your life, and I am mindful of that every day.
Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p. 48
, Apr 3, 2012
First Indian family in small town of Bamberg SC in 1960s
In South Carolina in the late 1960s, when it came time for my parents to find a home, no one would rent to them. World quickly got around that my father worked at the "black school," and besides that, he and my mom were obviously foreigners themselves.
Then they finally found a house, they had to buy it, not rent it. And they were told there were conditions: They couldn't entertain black people in it. They couldn't have alcohol in it. And they had to sell it back to the man they had bought it from.
It was located in the nearby town of Bamberg, population 2,500.
We were the first Indian family ever to live in Bamberg. In a time & a place that only knew black & white, we didn't fit either category. We weren't dark enough to be black or pale enough
to be white. We were brown. That difference--our difference--was an inescapable fact. We coped the only way we knew how: We went into survival mode. We clung to one another tightly. We worked hard. We were respectful to our neighbors. We tried to fit in.
Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p. 4-5
, Apr 3, 2012
My Sikh dad proudly wears turban over uncut hair
Although it is changing, in the Sikh faith men traditionally don't cut their hair. From the time they're little boys, they allow their hair to grow. That's one reason Sikh men wear turbans, to manage their long hair.
Still, I can't remember a time when I went somewhere with my parents and people didn't stare. "What's that on your head?" they would say. Walking into a restaurant meant hearing people whisper.
Walking by a store meant seeing people point.
I can honestly say that I was never embarrassed. I was, however, very sad. My dad is one of the best people I know. He's honest and optimistic. And he loves this country in the way that only a man who gave
up a life of comfort and prestige elsewhere can. When I was little, the stares and comments he would evoke instilled in me a kind of quiet sadness. When I was older, it was quiet anger.
Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p. 12
, Apr 3, 2012
Converted to Christianity to marry Michael & raise children
When Michael and I were dating, we had many heartfelt conversations about religion. They touched our mutual desire to bring God into our lives in a more personal and direct way than I had growing up. When I attended Sikh worship services as a young
person, I gained an appreciation for God's presence, but because the ceremony was conducted in Punjabi, I never truly understood the message.
I converted to Christianity because the teaching of Christ spoke to me in a way that
I could understand and that would help me live my life--the life I wanted in mine and Michaels's marriage and raising of our children.
To me this was all very personal. As a newcomer to politics, it came as quite a shock to me that my faith journey
was something that would be dissected by political opponents on the campaign trail.
Michael and I were married in the Christian faith. Our children were baptized as Christians. We attend church regularly. It was and is central to our lives.
Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p. 47
, Apr 3, 2012
2005: Unseated longest-serving legislator in SC history
Legislatures--and the South Carolina legislature is not exception--are clubs. They have rules. Play by the rules and you remain a member in good standing. Break the rules and, well you can get locked out of the clubhouse
I came to the South Carolina house in 2005 having already broken a rule. I had unseated the longest-serving legislator in South Carolina history--a real good old boy. Luckily, I had company. Nathan Ballentine had unseated the majority leader.
Nathan and I were the skunks at the garden party. No one wanted to be near us.
At the meeting of the Republican caucus, the incumbents patted one another on the back like old friends, while we stood off to the side, not sure what to do.
We had defeated their friends, and we were feeling it. We knew it would take time for them to get to know us and for us to prove ourselves.
Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p. 59-60
, Apr 3, 2012
RedState Moneybomb: $50,000 in four days
Along with the folks at RedState, at the end of March we launched the Nikki Haley for Governor Money-bomb--a concerted, 4-day push to raise $50,000 on-line. It wasn't much money to my competitors, but to me it was the world. We cut a fast-paced
Moneybomb video that highlighted me as a small-government, fiscally conservative reformer. In it I promised to lead a coalition of conservative governors to push back against the federal government. The response was eye-opening.
In just the first day, we raised $34,000 in small donations from people in South Carolina and across the country.
In the end, over 500 contributors from 45 states supported the campaign. Their contributions were small, averaging just over $100.
But the boost they gave our morale was worth more than the money. We were hearing from people all across the country who wanted to send the message that they didn't care if their politicians were Republican; they cared if they were conservative.
Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p.130-131
, Apr 3, 2012
First gubernatorial campaign TV ad: "Join the Movement"
Like our campaign, our first TV ad was unconventional. While most campaigns would use a biographical spot to introduce the candidate to the voters, we knew we didn't have time for that. We had 3 weeks to show them that I was the better choice for
South Carolina's future.
So we made an ad with just that message. It began with a black-and-white image of Gresham Barrett flashed on the screen: "Bailouts." Then Andre Bauer: "Stimulus spending." Then Henry McMaster: "Career politician."
And then it proclaimed, "South Carolina can do better." Then the ad pivoted to upbeat music and color footage of me talking to supporters. The tagline called on voters to "Join the Movement."
That was the message we were trying to get across:
We could do better. We could do better than the establishment candidates, better than the spend-and-stick-the-taxpayers-with-the-bill mentality that had run Columbia--and Washington, DC--for so long.
Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p.141-142
, Apr 3, 2012
OpEd: Accused of affair with Gov. Mark Sanford
A blogger who had once worked for me posted on his blog that Gov. Sanford and I had had an affair several years earlier. The phone began to ring off the hook at headquarters. Overwhelmingly, the South Carolinians we heard from were outraged by the
charges. They were embarrassed to be going down this road again.
Many were asking what they could do to help us fight it. Others said it only made them support me more. But if the people weren't playing along with the politics,
the press was a different story. After showing some initial restraint, they lost all control. The media began to camp out in front of campaign headquarters.
We put out the statement. I have been 100% faithful to my husband throughout our
13 years of marriage. This claim against me is categorically and totally false. These attacks --and those sure to follow--are an effort at distraction, but I will keep my focus on what matters.
Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p.147-151
, Apr 3, 2012
OpEd: Accused of affair with well-known state lobbyist
A well-known lobbyist in Columbia was alleging that he had had a one-night stand with me on a trip to Salt Lake City in 2008. It was the 2nd smear in as many weeks. Once again, I was being forced into the humiliating position of having to deny
being unfaithful to my husband. It was a lie, it was ugly, it was sexist, and it was crowding out all of the issues the people really cared about in the campaign.
We had given up on the press's attempting to bring any credibility to their process of
reporting the "news." We woke up the next morning expecting another ugly story to be splashed across the front pages. But there wasn't one. Good for them, I thought.
They're not playing the game. Then something interesting happened. The Bauer campaign sent out a press release saying it had fired the lobbyist, who had been its paid consultant up until that day.
Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p.158-160
, Apr 3, 2012
Calling me a "raghead" reinforces S.C.'s worst stereotypes
The previous day, on an Internet political talk show called Pub Politics, in which a Democrat and a Republican drink beer and talk politics, state senator Jake Knotts, a Bauer supporter, had said: "We've got a raghead in Washington.
We don't need a raghead in the state-house."
Jake Knotts is a self-described "redneck" with a reputation for...let's just say "blunt" language. As far as I was concerned, he was the poster boy for everything that is wrong with South Carolina politics.
His comments would go national. At a time when I wanted people to feel good about our state, he was an example of why we've been regarded as a bunch of uneducated, backwoods racists. That was the saddest, most regrettable thing about the
senator's bigoted remark: Jake Knotts doesn't reflect the views of most South Carolinians, but here he was, reinforcing everyone's worst stereotypes and prejudices about our state.
Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p.161-162
, Apr 3, 2012
Not Republican government but conservative government
I made it clear to the legislature in the State of the State address that I was going to strictly observe spending caps. I meant what I said. When the legislature didn't listen, I vetoed $213 million in spending.
It sustained the vetoes of just $800,000 of it and spent the rest. In a Republican-controlled house and Republican-controlled senate, no less! It just makes my point that we don't need Republican government, we need conservative government.
My goal for the coming year is to get legislature to understand how it is we got into this spending hole. Every dollar counts, and when we have extra ones, we should use them to pay down the debt or give them back to the taxpayers.
If we don't, we risk becoming another Washington, DC--and in South Carolina believe me, those are fighting words!
Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p.221
, Apr 3, 2012
Born in S.C. as Nimrata Randhawa, to Sikh parents
Haley was born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa in Bamberg, South Carolina on January 20, 1972. Her parents, Dr. Ajit and Raj Randhawa, are Sikh immigrants from Amritsar, India. She has two brothers, Mitti and Charan, and a sister, Simran. Haley attended Clemson
University and majored in accounting and then joined the FCR Corporation (a waste management and recycling company) before joining her mother's business, Exotica International, an upscale clothing firm in 1994.
The family business grew to a multi-million dollar company.
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. Haley identifies herself today as a
Christian, but also attends both Sikh and Methodist services out of respect for her parents' culture. She sits on the board for Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church.
Source: Wikipedia web page, "Nikki Haley"
, Nov 15, 2010
Member of the Tea Party movement.
Haley is a member the Tea Party movement
The Tea Party movement is a populist conservative social movement in the United States that emerged in 2009 through a series of locally and nationally coordinated protests. The protests were partially in response to several Federal laws: the stimulus package; te healthcare bill; and the TARP bailouts. The name "Tea Party" refers to the Boston Tea Party of 1773, the source of the phrase, "No Taxation Without Representation."
Source: Tea Party movement 10-Tea on Aug 11, 2010
Page last updated: Mar 11, 2019