Haley vows to keep fighting: ‘I have a great story to tell’

ashain@thestate.comAugust 27, 2013 

Gov. Nikki Haley announced her re-election bid outside the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville last month alongside her children, Rena and Nalin.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com Buy Photo

— Gov. Nikki Haley spoke to The State newspaper shortly before she formally announced her re-election bid at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville. Here is what she had to say:

Q. How would a second Haley administration be different from the first?

A. “My focus is still finishing this term. It’s going to be more of what you have seen before. It’s going to be additional jobs. It’s going to continue to make sure we’re fighting Washington on the things that bring us down. … I’m a governor who doesn’t have patience, and I will keep fighting and keep moving every day.”

Q. Anything in particular you want to complete?

A. “You’ll see us focus more on welfare to work, because it’s really working and we’ve only done that for just six or seven months. You’re going to see us strengthen tort reforms. The ethics reform, you’re going to see, as we try to bring more of that. And then education, we have done the training portion (and) we have done the higher ed, and now it’s time for K-12 that we have been working on since January.”

Q. How has your relationship changed with the Legislature?

A. “We have kind of learned each other. … They had to develop a sense of trust. I had to develop a sense of trust. What we found is that we have a great relationship with the House Ways and Means (committee). When we need to have some reforms passed, we have some great senators that take on our fights. … When disagreements happen, we agree to disagree and move on. We continue to push our government to remember the value of a dollar … (and) to remember ethics matters to them.”

Q. Are you wallpapering the ethics complaints against you by being an ethics reformer?

A. “Before I even ran for office, I pushed for transparency, I pushed for ethics (reform). One of the first bills we passed was getting legislators to vote on the record with every section of the budget. … The only people complaining about the ethics are my opponent (Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, a Camden attorney). But if you look at the ethics charges brought against me, there’s nothing there. That’s the thing about candidates who are lawyers. They think if you say it enough, you’ll start to believe it. It’s not true.”

Q. Has your administration been as transparent as you promised in your 2010 campaign?

A. “We have been the most transparent administration through the fact that we worked with (the state department of) archives and history to change our emails. We show every place we have been. You have our schedule. You have our flight logs. You have all our press conferences. We do our ‘Open Door After 4’ (meetings with constituents). … We’re not going to stop.”

Q. What danger is posed to the state if a Democratic governor is elected?

A. “I don’t worry about that because I don’t think that’s going to happen. I have a great story to tell. I think I made some promises in the last election that I totally lived up to … This is the first time I ever felt the people of South Carolina are proud and excited for their state.”

Q. Do you have any do-overs?

A. “That’s something I do every night: ‘How could I have done today differently?’ That’s something I literally do every night before I go to bed. Having said that, my goal is focused on how do I make tomorrow better than today. It’s going to continue to be that way the rest of my term.”

Q. Anything specific do-overs?

A. “I could give you a list of things, but I don’t think that’s productive.”

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