Feb 122014

HaleyThe Charleston Rotary Club was honored to have Governor Nikki Haley, the 116th Governor of South Carolina as our speaker this past Tuesday, February 4, 2014. Governor Haley, after noting that, “it is another great day in South Carolina,” said that she is very optimistic about the future of the state: “We are doing great things. We are at a five (5) year unemployment low.” She is excited that other states look to South Carolina as an example of how to recruit business. We are being referred to as the Beast of the Southeast and she loves that. We build planes and cars in South Carolina. We are the #1 producer of BMWs in the world and the #1 producer of tires in the Nation. When elected Governor in November 2010, Haley’s immediate focus was to create jobs. Since her inauguration, she has added 43,000 new jobs in most counties in South Carolina. A major focus of her administration is to give incentives to businesses that locate in rural areas of the state. She gave examples of businesses that now have major production facilities in small South Carolina towns such as Colgate-Palmolive, in Hodges South Carolina. Another priority for Haley has to been to improve customer service in state offices. She mandates that all state employees answer the phone, “It’s a great day in South Carolina. How may I help you?” She wants employees to like where they work and remember who they work for in SC– South Carolinians. Additionally, she has told all agencies that time is money. Don’t waste time or money.” Governor Haley’s administration is turning its focus to education. She recently met with Governor Jeb Bush about Education Reform because she “felt like he had done great things for Florida K-12 Education.” She also met with teachers, principals, and deans at universities. She has developed a proposal to change the funding formula for education in South Carolina. To lift up all children in South Carolina, we have to recognize how many live in poverty. Her funding formula now gives 20% more to children living in poverty. Students ages 17-21 (which accounts for 800,000 people out of 4.4 million South Carolinians) do not have a GED. She is excited about the huge success of charter schools but very concerned about the 63% of charter school students who live in poverty. She is adding summer reading programs in rural areas and improving technology in the classroom. Governor Haley additionally discussed her views on Ethics Reform, Welfare Reform, Port Dredging, and improving the state’s bridges and roads. In closing, she assured the group that she would not raise taxes. Her goal is to reduce income taxes. When questioned why she has not raised gas taxes in the state, she answered, “South Carolina has the lowest gas taxes in the nation and we do not need to raise them.” —Submitted by Abby Saunders, Keyway Committee


Photo taken by Fred Sales, Historian


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