Two Meetings with Nikki Haley
Outlook for the New Administration
Candidate Haley (2010)
Gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley came by the Palmetto Family office in 2010 and we had a good talk about our efforts to defend and strengthen families in South Carolina. I was able at that time to present her with a plaque honoring her for her 99% Palmetto Family Alliance voting record.
Nikki was very proud of her close-knit family and spoke warmly that afternoon of the early years of her life spent in Bamberg with her siblings and her hard working immigrant parents. It was very clear to me that Nikki wanted all South Carolinians to enjoy the love, happiness and success that comes from the strong two-parent family she enjoyed.
Knowing she was campaigning for Governor primarily as a fiscal conservative, I shared with her “The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing,” which Palmetto Family co-released with the Institute for American Values last year. She was struck by the fact that the fiscal cost of broken families in South Carolina had been pegged in that peer-reviewed study at $469 million per year.
As the campaign progressed and the legislature continued to meet, her legislative voting record kept pace. During her last term before being elected governor, the SC House voted on the Life issue an incredible 37 times (including the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, the 24 Hour Abortion Reflection and Abortion Funding Restrictions in the state budget). Of those 37, Nikki Haley supported the most aggressive pro-life position on 35 roll calls, or 95% of the time.
Governor Haley (2011)
Our second formal meeting took place last week.
From the minute we walked into the “West Wing” of the Statehouse first floor, the atmosphere was markedly different from the Sanford years.
I will never forget that day Mark Sanford met with our board of directors. He chose to meet in a small, untidy conference room. Not only did he politely tell us he wouldn’t work for our legislation, he actually left the meeting to retrieve a series of fiscal charts and proceeded to explain each one. (I kid you not.) What Mark seemed to be saying was: “I agree with what you are doing and will sign your bills when they come to my desk, but promoting your agenda just isn’t my agenda…and, oh, by the way, please do me the favor of making my agenda yours.”
The meeting with Haley couldn’t have been more different. We were ushered directly into her immaculate office. As we went through a long list of policy proposals, not only did she express agreement as we went along, but in several cases the Governor indicated we weren’t going far enough in our positions. Wow.
Perhaps the most positive sign for us was that Governor Haley seemed aware of the policies advocated by Governor Bobby Jindal in Louisiana and Governor Frank Keating of Oklahoma. These governors have made efforts to promote family, fatherhood, marriage, adoption, patriotism, and faith-based compassion initiatives a part of their public service. Nikki too indicated her willingness to use the staff and pulpit of her office to promote these causes.
The Haley term is new. But the signs are indeed positive, and a significant break from the past.
Action Item: Please pray for Michael & Nikki Haley as we do every night with our family.