Haley absence at event irks some

tflach@thestate.com June 19, 2012 

SC Governor Nikki Haley

SC Governor Nikki Haley

TIM DOMINICK — tdominick@thestate.com Buy Photo

Gov. Nikki Haley is getting heat for skipping the traditional gubernatorial appearance at an annual gathering of teen leaders.

Some organizers and parents are upset at her absence at Friday’s conclusion of Palmetto Boys State and Palmetto Girls State, a weeklong lesson in civics for 1,450 of South Carolina’s top high school students.

“It left a terrible impression,” said the Rev. Sinclair Lewis of Anderson, secretary-treasurer of Boys State. “It was rude.”

Haley went instead to celebrate a manufacturing plant opening in York.

“Scheduling conflicts arise in any governor’s office and on Friday, the governor was committed to a grand-opening celebration in York that represents a $20 million job-creating investment,” Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said.

But it’s rare for a governor to ignore the event as Haley did, Lewis said.

State officials typically send representatives to stand in when demands take them elsewhere, but that didn’t happen, he said.

“Boys and Girls State is a great program — she (Haley) has visited it before and loves it because it helps young people understand the power of their voice,” Godfrey said. “ She looks forward to visiting them again.”

Mayor Steve Benjamin also didn’t come to welcome the students — who spend most of their time at Upstate colleges — to Columbia. That was due to a long-standing commitment at a U.S. Conference of Mayors session in Orlando, Benjamin aide Michael Wukela said. Benjamin is one of the leaders of that group.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service