The name of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has been tossed into the ring as a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, and as the first woman to hold the office of governer in South Carolina, she is becoming a shining light for the Republican Party.
One of the two sitting Indian-American governors, along with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Haley earned a second term in the 2014 election.
Could she be a Republican presidential candidate in 2016? Here are seven of her key political positions.
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1. She's against Obamacare. Despite a growing number of Republicans that are allowing their states to participate in President Barack Obama's healthcare changes, Haley remains opposed.
"Those of us who fought the president's disastrous healthcare plan have watched as predictions of lost coverage, rising costs, and unprecedented dysfunction have come true," Haley said in her Jan. 22, 2014, State of the State Address. "Obamacare is damaging to the country, and it is damaging to South Carolina. ... But as a state, and as an elected government, we will not be victims in this process. We rejected the federal government's less than generous offer to run a state exchange, an offer that would have Washington bureaucrats dictating the exchange and South Carolinians paying for it. ... I pledge to you this: We will continue to fight ObamaCare every step of the way."
2. She supports gun rights. Last Christmas, Haley proudly displayed a photo on Instagram of a gun she received from her husband, and she also spoke of the Second Amendment during her 2010 gubernatorial campaign: "Few things are as clearly defined as the right of individual Americans to own and use firearms. The right to bear arms was deemed so critical by our founders that they spelled it out in absolute terms, and any governmental action that undermines that right is in turn undermining the very freedoms that built our great nation. … We need to make the rules that govern carrying far more simple."
Haley was endorsed by the NRA during the 2014 election.
3. She's staunchly pro-life. Haley has long supported bills that protect the rights of a fetus and restrict abortion, except when the mother's life is at risk. As a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2006, she voted for the Penalties for Harming an Unborn Child/Fetus law, which asserted that an act of violence against a fetus is akin to a criminal act against the mother. She also voted for two separate bills that required a woman to first look at an ultrasound and then wait 24 hours before being permitted to have an abortion.
4. As the daughter of immigrants, Haley believes in strict immigration laws. In 2011, she signed a law that granted police more power to check whether people are legally allowed in the U.S., further tightening what were already among the toughest restrictions in the country.
"(Legal immigrants) come here, they put in their time, they pay the price and they get here the right way," she said at the bill signing. "What we're saying is this state can no longer afford to support people that don't come here the right way and we are now going to do something about it."
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5. She's anti-union. In February 2014, Haley told reporters she discourages companies from opening factories in her state if they intend to allow unions.
"It's not something we want to see happen. ... We discourage any companies that have unions from wanting to come to South Carolina because we don't want to take the water," she told the Greenville News
Michelin, BMW, and Boeing all have non-union factories in South Carolina.
6. She favors alternative forms of energy. While wrapping her re-election bid in August 2014, Haley signed a bill to ease restrictions on using solar energy for businesses. Prior to that, environmentalists and South Carolina's traditional businesses argued about the impact of solar power on the local economy.
"What we had were a lot of barriers — barriers that stood in our way when it came to solar energy," Haley told reporters at the signing. "When you look at North Carolina and you look at Georgia, they've been doing pretty well when it comes to solar energy — and they don't have any more sun than we do."
7. A few months earlier, in June 2014, Haley criticized an Environmental Protection Agency proposal that would require South Carolina power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than half by 2030. She claimed it would hurt economic growth and cause an increase in power rates.
"This is exactly what we don't need," the governor said at a meeting of the S.C. Electric Cooperatives. "This is exactly what hurts us. You can't mandate utility companies which, in turn, raises the cost of power. That's what's going to keep jobs away. That's what's going to keep companies away."
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