Diaspora News: Nikki Haley, Governor, South Carolina


In a sharp attack on President Barack Obama, seeking re-election, Indian-American Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley has charged that he has failed to handle America and skipped a White House dinner.

Haley who has endorsed Republican Mitt Romney said Obama was coming in the way of development in her State. “In South Carolina, we can't even pass our own bills without him getting in the way.” “We pass illegal immigration reform, he stops it. We pass voter ID, he stops it. We get Boeing, he stops it. I mean, I'd just like to be a Governor and be able to take care of my state. The president's trying to handle the entire country, and he's failing,” Haley said.

The South Carolina Governor skipped a White House dinner hosted by the Obamas, citing personal meeting with friends. Though she skipped the dinner Haley, sought more funds from US President to deepen the two ports in her State and talked to him a day later.

“I personally talked to him about the ports that we're all facing and the fact that why does it take the Corps of Engineers 10 years to do a deepening project,” Haley, 40, told reporters after the meeting of Obama with national Governors.

The Indian-American Governor, Haley told White House reporters that she didn't thank Obama for having included USD 3.5 million to expand the Corps of Engineers study on deepening the Charleston port.

In place, Haley said she asked Obama to stop his administration, like previous ones, from diverting tens of millions of dollars in collected cargo duties from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and using the money for other needs instead of the intended purpose of dredging ports. “We've got a lot of areas that if we don't get our ports actually deep enough to be able to accept those big cargo ships, we're going to have a wasted opportunity and watch the Caribbean [ports] be the ones that benefit,” Haley said. “His answer was, 'OK, we'll create a committee,” she said. “Well, I've been in government long enough to know when you create a committee, that's one way of passing the buck. We've got less than three years, and we need to make sure that we do this quickly,” said the Indian-American Governor.

“we want to partner with India in a strong way”

Proud of her Indian heritage, Haley says she wanted an opportunity to partner with India, since becoming chief executive, and now those talks are underway.

“As I became Governor, what I saw was an opportunity - it's an opportunity to partner with a country that continues to be strong when it comes to jobs and...in innovation,” Haley told reporters in the state capital Columbia Wednesday after a meeting with visiting Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao. “And so what I've asked is, 'how do we get Indian companies to come and do business in South Carolina?' I talked to the ambassador, and we are going to continue to talk.”

Rao, who has been visiting South Carolina, said “I am exceptionally happy to be here.” “In the last two days, I've been to Charleston, and I've been here in Columbia, and I've had discussions with Governor Haley and her team. We've looked at the ways to cement better relations between India and South Carolina.

“There are immense possibilities because this is really in many senses a time of awakening when it comes to India-US relations. “We have a number of Indian companies that do business in the United States, that have invested here, and what I'm going to try to do is to see that we have Indian companies come to South Carolina.”

“South Carolina provides a very conducive environment for foreign investment and which is what Indian companies would look to,” Rao said.

Praising Haley as epitomizing the achievements of Indian Americans in the US, she said: “She is a star back home. We love her for achievements. In many ways, she epitomizes the achievements of the Indian American community in this country; all that they have done to make America proud and to make India proud.” Born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa to Sikh immigrant parents, Haley is the first Indian American woman and the second Indian American Governor of a US State after Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. Both are from the Republican Party.

March 2012

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