Haley inauguration will take place despite ice

Gov.-elect Nikki Haley
Gov.-elect Nikki Haley
Chairs set out for the inauguration were covered in snow on Tuesday
Chairs set out for the inauguration were covered in snow on Tuesday

By Jack Kuenzie - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - As governor, Nikki Haley will quickly find herself in the hot seat. But before she gets sworn in on Wednesday, that seat and everyone else's will still be pretty chilly.

Inaugural ceremonies typically attract thousands to Columbia from all over the state. Those who show up for the swearing-in of Nikki Haley and other state office holders won't have to sit in the snow, but it won't be balmy either.

Sound and ETV crews continued their setup on Tuesday, with the ice not helping much. An ETV spokesman says the network had to make some changes in its coverage plan.

ETV decided not to risk stranding a large mobile broadcast truck normally used for this event. The network moved its production center into the State House.

"There will be no difference for the audience," said Tom Posey of SCETV. "We're just losing maybe one extra camera. But the audience, the people watching the inauguration will not see a difference."

Meanwhile, sound reinforcement experts and others scrambled Tuesday afternoon to finish their part of the preps.

Members of the inaugural committee huddled behind the scenes to assess the weather's impact on turnout. At mid-afternoon, they gave a green light.

"Tomorrow everything is going on as planned," said Inaugural Committee Co-Chair Katon Dawson. "The church service will start early in the morning. The Department of Transportation has done a marvelous job in South Carolina in my opinion of having the roads cleared. And we're ready for a very historic moment in South Carolina history tomorrow."

There still is some uncertainty about whether road conditions will affect turnout involving people from remote parts of the state, and whether they will stick around in Columbia for Wednesday night's gala at the Colonial Life Arena.

"I've done cold before, that's not a problem," said Posey. "We can bundle up for cold. But when you're dealing with ice and snow and traffic conditions, it's a whole new level of challenge.

The Haley camp did postpone Tuesday's scheduled family fun event to Jan. 22 in the Cantey Building at the State Fairgrounds.

The 38-year-old Republican faces a gaping, $829 million shortfall in the upcoming budget. Haley says dealing with that will hurt a lot of people but she has to be realistic in dealing with the state's financial problems.

Cuts to education and health care for the poor are being forecast.

Copyright 2011 WIS. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.