Next Tuesday night, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has a once-in-a-political-lifetime honor -- chosen by her party to deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s final State of the Union address.
It’s a calculated move by the GOP to provide viewers with a fresh look at its youngest governor, a groundbreaking figure as the state’s first woman and first minority chief executive.
While Haley won’t command national attention nearly as long as the president, she has an option to use that time to do more than re-hash the same old Republican opposition to almost everything he stands for.
Haley led her state in a year that saw the strength, resolve and faith of South Carolinians tested to their limits and then some.
A shocking mass shooting and the uplifting response of the victims’ families and community around them.
She demonstrated true empathy, then seized the moment to lead the removal of a symbol revered in the hate-filled mind of a sick young man.
A few months later, the governor showed a steady hand guiding the Palmetto State through its worst weather-related crisis since Hurricane Hugo.
In her ten minutes after the president’s address Nikki Haley can point to this part of the South, where people of all colors, political stripes and income levels pulled together to overcome immense tragedy.
She can tell a fearful, angry and divided country this is what we went through, this is what we learned and this is how we moved forward.
The governor can offer a message celebrating the renewal that comes when people unite in a common purpose.
And she can do it because she now speaks from experience.
If our governor chooses this approach, we hope America is listening.
That's my take, what's yours?
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