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Nikki Haley 2016: 8 Facts About Political Background of GOP Presidential Hopeful

Image: Nikki Haley 2016: 8 Facts About Political Background of GOP Presidential Hopeful
Nikki Haley at the 2013 CPAC in Washington D.C. on March 15, 2013. (Gage Skidmore/wikimedia/commons, file)

By    |   Monday, 05 Jan 2015 06:48 PM

Nikki Haley would not only be the first female president, she’d also be the first Indian-American president if she were to take the seat in 2016. Insiders, however, are speculating that the South Carolina governor is more likely to become a vice presidential candidate on the GOP ticket.

With the race expected to kick off in 2015, here’s a look at eight things to know about Haley’s political background.

1. As she helped build her immigrant parents’ successful clothing company, Haley took on her first leadership role as she joined the board of a local chamber of commerce in 1998. By 2004, she was president of the National Association of Women Business Owners, going on to hold positions with various nonprofits and political organizations.

Urgent: Do You Support Nikki Haley for the GOP Nomination? Vote Here Now

2. In 2004, Haley ran for the South Carolina House of Representatives. On a platform focused on reducing taxes and supporting education, Haley defeated the longstanding incumbent during the primary and ran uncontested in the general election. She ran unopposed again in 2006, then won her third term in 2008.

3. Haley was named majority whip for the South Carolina General Assembly and received a number of awards during her tenure. She proposed plans to link teachers’ pay to their performance, to limit legislators’ special pension benefits, and to cut taxes.

4. Following a vicious campaign cycle and runoff election, Haley was voted governor of South Carolina in 2010. The wife and mother of two easily won re-election in 2014.

5. Haley has been vocal about her position that immigrants need to follow the law the way her own parents did in coming to the United States from India. In 2011, she signed into law a bill that gives police more power to stop and detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally while stepping up enforcement against anyone caught making fake IDs.

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6. One of Haley’s key focuses as governor has been on creating jobs. She’s proposed policies to limit labor unions while cutting taxes and regulations for businesses, trying to lure them to South Carolina. The state’s unemployment rate has plummeted and major companies such as Boeing and Amazon have relocated operations there.

7.
Since the 2010 election, Haley has been plagued with rumors about her personal life. Two men came forward claiming she’d had affairs with him — claims Haley adamantly denies. Others spread false rumors that she’d committed tax fraud. Though none of the accusations have been true, they’ve cast a shadow on Haley’s reputation.

8. Haley hasn’t yet made an announcement about her intentions for 2016. However, a number of insiders say they expect the fact that she’s a woman and a minority with a strong conservative record will make her an attractive running mate for some of the leading white male presidential contenders. Others fear she wouldn’t stand up to a national vetting.

Vote Now: Which Potential GOP Candidate Would You Support in 2016?

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Nikki Haley would not only be the first female president, she’d also be the first Indian-American president if she were to take the seat in 2016. Insiders, however, are speculating that the South Carolina governor is more likely to become a vice presidential candidate on the GOP ticket.
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