BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTRERE
When former two-term South Carolina Governor and United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley came to Denver on August 19 to help Sen. Cory Gardner in his bid for re-election in 2020, she stole the show.
Haley was there to speak about the importance of re-electing Gardner to the Senate, but most people seemed far more interested in Haley’s future than in Gardner’s.
A native of South Carolina and the daughter of Sikh immigrant parents from India, she talked about keeping the books for her family’s clothing store as a teenager, leading to a degree in accounting from Clemson University. When she returned to work in her family’s business after working as an accountant, she said, “I felt like the people at the state House didn’t understand how hard it was for small businesses. They didn’t understand the value of a dollar.”
Haley said that when she eventually decided to run for the state House in 2004, she challenged and defeated a 30-year incumbent.
After getting re-elected in 2008, Haley told the gathering that she tried to stop a long-standing practice of the South Carolina state legislature, where virtually everything was decided by a voice vote, resulting in legislators’ not having a voting record that their constituents could see. She tried to reform that system but failed found herself stripped of all her committee assignments. “So, I ran for governor, and won,” she told the delighted crowd in Greenwood Village.
The first bill she signed as governor was a requirement that votes in the South Caroline legislature be recorded. She held the governorship from 2011 to 2017, when President Trump appointed her to represent the United States in the United Nations.
Haley talked about what she did as governor to bring back South Carolina’s sagging economy, how she brought down the high unemployment rate by getting large car manufacturers to come to her state. Haley told the audience that she believed, “if you could give a person a job, you could take care of a family.” She continued, “Jobs depend on a healthy business environment.”
Speaking about the current climate in the nation’s capital., Haley said, “It has never been as toxic as it is in D.C. right now.” Still, she believes “The only way to find solutions is to find common ground to accomplish goals. At the end of the day, we all want to see solutions, not just talk.”
At the United Nations, Haley said, “Every day it was like putting on body armor. Most countries don’t like us, but they all want to be us and at the end of the day, they want us to lead.”
She talked about the decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Said Haley, “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. We have all our embassies in countries’ capitals. I stood up for the U.S. and we used our veto.”
The Ambassador acknowledged what worries many Republicans. She said, “I’m very sensitive to the toxic nature of our politics. We should not call other people evil. I’ve seen evil in places like Sudan and the Congo. What we’re having is a debate. Even on our worst day, we are blessed to be Americans.”
When the speeches ended, everyone crowded around Haley to talk to her and take her picture. She was patient, gracious, and friendly to all. The room was buzzing as one person after another commented privately on how “presidential” Haley sounded.
In 2016 Time Magazine named Nikki Haley one of the 100 most influential people in the world. After leaving her position as U.N Ambassador, Haley founded Stand for America, which she describes an “an advocacy group promoting public policies that strengthen America’s economy, culture, and national security.” It also serves as a base from which she can communicate to Americans about where she stands on the important issues of the day.
News outlets are increasingly describing Nikki Haley as a rival to Vice-President Mike Pence for the V.P spot in 2020 or the presidency in 2024. Although she recently denied being the source of rumors to that effect, many Republicans are convinced the competition is real. A June 24 Wall Street Journal Op-Ed urging President Trump to replace Pence with Haley on the 2020 Republican ticket did little to change anyone’s mind that she has her eye on the prize.
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