Nikki Haley gives first one-on-one interview since victory

By Dawndy Mercer Plank - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Governor-elect Nikki Haley spoke Tuesday about her plans once she takes office in her first one-on-one sit-down interview. One of the main issues staring the governor-elect in the face: the state budget crisis.

"There's no way to stop running a deficit without it hurting several people," said Haley. "You know, the first thing I have said, and I think it's important for us to be honest with the people of South Carolina, this is going to hurt. This is going to hurt in a way that we've never felt it before."

That's why Haley announced what she calls her Fiscal Crisis Task Force. The members are to identify the pitfalls in the budget. She believes the best opportunities to get on track financially will come after going through the strongest challenges.

"We have to go and say what are opportunities, what are the solutions, so that when we get out of this two or three year crisis, we can come out of it stronger than we did before," said Haley. "The key to that is to define what are the roles of government. Go into every agency and say what is the true role of that agency. This is going to hurt people's lives. I think everything we go through is going to hurt."

The Southeastern Institute for Women in Politics and the League of Women Voters would like to see Haley put more women in leadership positions. "Sure, I mean I would love to see a lot more women," said Haley. "I would love to see a lot more younger people, I would love to see more energy. But I won't fall for 'feel good' quotas."

Haley has had little time to bask in the glory of her victory. Life is changes for not only the governor-elect, but also for husband Michael, and her two children, Rena and Nalin.

"The way every woman does every day," said Haley. "We all do this, we just have different jobs. I will tell you that we know that being a mom is a priority and taking care of your family is first. If I know I am taking care of my family, I will be great at everything else. So, that is my priority and always will be. Michael and I have always balanced well. Even during the campaign, I took the kids to school every morning, and he was there for them at night. We have already started talking about the schedule. We're still going to have Haley Family Fun Nights. We're going to make sure the kids still feel normal. You didn't see them a lot on the campaign trail, but we didn't want them to have to go through a lot of that. So, we're going to try to keep them as normal as we can."

We also asked Governor-elect Haley how she'll create move civility with the General Assembly. Haley said she'll need to be predictable in order to lead, adding that the legislature will have to know what she's going to do before she does it and know the consequences before they happen.

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