Nikki Haley took the oath of office as governor of South Carolina just after noon today, becoming the state’s first woman and non-white governor.
Haley, a former Republican state representative from Lexington County, referred to her Indian-American background, saying she would always be the proud daughter of immigrants.
Haley began her speech by thanking outgoing Gov. Mark Sanford for his eight years in office.
She then recounted South Carolina history, noting the tax protests and tea parties before the American Revolution, and drawing a line between those events and her November victory. Haley, who was supported by modern-day Tea Party activists, said she wants to lead the state back to a new spirit of independence.
Haley also said she will end the political bickering that has prevented progress. "We don't have time for it and I won't stand for it," Haley said.
Her goal, she said, is that "the voice heard loudest is neither mine nor any elected official, but is the voice of the taxpayer."
Haley acknowledged the challenges facing the state -- including an $830 million budget shortfall -- but said she was not discouraged. "Tough times can produce better decisions."
Haley's inaugural speech reiterated many of her campaign themes, saying she wanted South Carolina to be a place of unlimited opportunity for its children.
-- Staff reports
Video: Haley takes oath