SC's first family talks about life in the Governor's Mansion

The Haley family speaks with Dawndy Mercer Plank
The Haley family speaks with Dawndy Mercer Plank
The Governor's Mansion
The Governor's Mansion

By Dawndy Mercer Plank - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The family dog barking in the yard and American and state flags flown proudly are scenes characteristic of many homes, but this particular South Carolina home is a mansion and a new family just moved in.

South Carolina's new first family now occupies the Governor's Mansion, complete with its oversized driveway, stately gates, and flowing fountain. The Haley family recently sat down to talk about what it's been like to become the first family and move into a new home.

"As a wife and a mom, the one thing you want to do is to make it feel like home," said Governor Haley. "So, for me it doesn't feel like home yet, but we're getting there.  Every day is starting to get a little bit better."

Michael, Nikki, 9-year-old Nalin and 12-year-old Rena say they'll be a hard working family despite the amenities that come with the position.

"You want them to feel normal and you want them to learn their own independence," says Michael Haley. "We do have a staff here, and it's important they assist that staff and the staff is not assisting them."

"They've learned very quickly there are chores in the Governor's Mansion, as well," says the governor. "So, they help clean up the kitchen and they clean their own rooms and we continue keeping them doing what they were doing otherwise."

Nalin's favorite subjects in school are social studies and history. Rena's favorite is language arts. "Sometimes I feel like I want to follow in my mom's footsteps," said Rena.

Nalin said he doesn't want to go into the military. "I know I'm not," he said. "My dad says he eats bugs. I'm not trying them."

But Nalin does have his sights set high. "I just want to be an NBA basketball player," he said. "I had a basketball game this morning. I have fun with basketball."      
The governor and first gentleman met when she was 17. He was 19. Did they imagine then where'd they be today? "Two years ago, I didn't think that," laughed Michael. "Back then I was the political one. Nikki wasn't. We've grown up together.  

"We met my very first week at Clemson, and we've grown up together," said Gov. Haley.

Gov. Haley says even though she's the boss around the State House, Michael is the head of their house. "I think we're all pretty even," deflected Michael. "Even Nalin has his share."

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