There is buzz that the governor of the Palmetto State, Nikki Haley, is of the caliber to run alongside Donald Trump as the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate. Her diverse background and characteristics are said to make her an ideal candidate: young, female, and the daughter of immigrants. She will deliver the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address tonight. See live stream below.
 
Haley is the daughter of immigrants from India, and was born with the name Nimrata Randhawa. Her parents owed a small clothing store in a town near Columbia SC. Raised in the Sikh faith, after attending Clemson University, she married and became a Christian. She was later elected to the State legislature in 2004 and won the governorship as a Tea Party favorite in 2010. Haley is 43 years old, and thus the youngest person to serve as governor in South Carolina.
 
Haley campaigned on a platform that included the limiting of government. Sarah Palin, who was an endorser in 2008, called her a “mama grizzly.” Her approval ratings dipped in the midst of some controversies but she easily won re-election in 2014. In 2011, she endorsed Mitt Romney’s campaign. This time around, she has yet to endorse a Republican candidate. "I plan to be a really sweet host to all," Haley said while showing Jeb Bush around the state in May 2015. "I don't know if I'll endorse. ... It's not going to be anytime soon."
 
Observers have seen that she brokered a compromise to eliminate the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the State House, while she also effectively voiced what her fellow South Carolinians felt in the wake of the June 2015 shootings at a black church in Charleston. Haley said, "We woke up today, and the heart and soul of South Carolina was broken," as tears appeared in her eyes. "Parents are having to explain to their kids how they can go to church and feel safe. And that's not something we ever thought we'd deal with." In the days that followed, Haley told a press conference, "We have stared evil in the eye and watched good, prayerful people killed in one of the most sacred of places." 
 
In August 2015, Haley’s approval rating stood at 55 percent according to a Winthrop University poll, while two thirds of South Carolinians agreed with her that the Confederate battle flag had to go.
 
Here appear excerpts from Haley's speech as prepared for governor:
 
"I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants who reminded my brothers, my sister and me every day how blessed we were to live in this country...My story is really not much different from millions of other Americans. Immigrants have been coming to our shores for generations to live the dream that is America...Today, we live in a time of threats like few others in recent memory. During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation. No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country."
 
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"If we held the White House, taxes would be lower for working families, and we'd put the brakes on runaway spending and debt...We would make international agreements that were celebrated in Israel and protested in Iran, not the other way around. And rather than just thanking our brave men and women in uniform, we would actually strengthen our military, so both our friends and our enemies would know that America seeks peace, but when we fight wars we win them."
 
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"We have big decisions to make. Our country is being tested. But we've been tested in the past, and our people have always risen to the challenge. We have all the guidance we need to be safe and successful. Our forefathers paved the way for us. Let's take their values, and their strengths, and rededicate ourselves to doing whatever it takes to keep America the greatest country in the history of man."
 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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