Haley draws fire over Citadel appointment; Democrats want GOP candidate to apologize

September 30, 2013 

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com Buy Photo

Haley criticized for Citadel board appointment

Democrats criticized Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday for replacing The Citadel’s only black board member with a white campaign donor. Haley responded that race didn’t factor into her decision.

Party officials and Democratic legislators accused Haley of pay-to-play politics for her appointment of S.C. Bank and Trust executive Greg Lapointe of Greenville. He replaces Columbia businessman James McQuilla, an appointee of former Gov. Mark Sanford.

Haley appointed McQuilla to the Commission on Higher Education, which oversees all S.C. public colleges and universities.

House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, called it politics at its worst. “For her to remove an African-American from the seat that’s historically been African-American and put on a donor is embarrassing.”

Haley, South Carolina’s first female and first minority governor, said she doesn’t look at race or gender when making such decisions. She said Lapointe, a 1985 Citadel graduate, was the most qualified candidate. Lapointe gave $3,300 toward Haley’s successful 2010 campaign.

The governor gets one appointment to The Citadel’s 11-member Board of Visitors, which now consists of 10 white men and one white woman. The Legislature elects seven members, and three are elected by Citadel Alumni Association members. They serve six-year terms and must be Citadel graduates.

This isn’t the first time Haley has drawn fire for a college board selection.

Haley drew a backlash early in her tenure when she ousted popular University of South Carolina benefactor Darla Moore from its board and replaced her with a male campaign donor, Lexington attorney and USC graduate Tommy Cofield, who gave $4,500 to Haley’s campaign, as did his sister.

In April 2011, Haley angered black legislators by replacing the only black member on the Medical University of South Carolina board with a white man.

From Staff and Wire Reports

Democrats want GOP House candidate to apologize

Democrats demanded Monday that a Republican candidate for the S.C. House apologize for what they said were “bigoted” remarks.

Addressing an Orangeburg County GOP meeting, District 93 candidate Charlie Stoudemire endorsed school reform in remarks that were videotaped, saying Democrats opposed reform.

“Why?” Stoudemire asked rhetorically. “Because as long as they’re sitting at home waiting on that paycheck, they’re going to vote Democrat. They put a chain around their leg, no worse chain than the chain when they were slaves. OK? They put a chain around, and they’re holding them to the Democratic Party by giving them that paycheck.”

Stoudemire faces Democrat Russell Ott in an Oct. 29 special election to fill the House vacancy created by the resignation of longtime Democratic representative Harry Ott, Russell Ott’s father.

“I wish we could get through one election in South Carolina without a Republican making a bigoted remark,” House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, R-Richland, said in a statement, calling on Stoudemire to apologize.

From Staff Reports

Governor’s schedule and activities

Gov. Nikki Haley’s publicly announced schedule for the balance of this week, released Monday by her staff, is:

Tuesday, 8 a.m. – Address the fifth annual Urban Land Institute’s S.C. capital markets conference, Kiawah Island

Tuesday, 11 a.m. – Join the Duke Endowment and state Department of Mental Health to discuss the state’s nationally recognized tele-psychiatry program, Columbia

Wednesday, 1 p.m. – Visit Johnston-Edgefield-Trenton Middle School, Johnston

Wednesday, 3:30 p.m. – Attend a leadership meeting and tour at Flexible Technologies, Abbeville

Wednesday, 6 p.m. – Attend a reception and dinner for FujiFilm’s 25th anniversary in South Carolina, Greenwood

According to her staff, Haley’s activities last week included:

5 – Economic-development activities, four meetings and an announcement-ribbon cutting at Dayton Rogers Manufacturing Co. in Columbia

4 – Calls concerning an unidentified state agency or state agencies

3 – Media activities, an availability in Georgetown after the fire on that city’s waterfront, a press conference for Haley’s Original Six Foundation, and a press conference with the state Department of Social Services and Children’s Trust

2 – Activities in Georgetown, meeting with local leaders and first responders, and touring damage after last week’s fire

1 each – Meeting concerning state policy; also, phone call to the state’s congressional delegation

Busiest day – Thursday, with eight activities

Slowest day – Monday, with one activity

Of note – Haley’s schedule included no activities on Tuesday; also, she did not go to her state office Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, according to her schedule

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