The daughter of two Indian immigrants, Nikki Haley has gained a reputation in the Republican Party as a solid conservative. She was also the first female governor of South Carolina and the state's first Asian-American governor and would go on to serve three terms in total.
Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley launched her US presidential campaign for the 2024 elections, against her one-time boss Donald Trump. "I’m Nikki Haley, and I’m running for President,” she announced in a video message.
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"It’s time for a new generation of leadership – to rediscover fiscal responsibility, secure our border, and strengthen our country, our pride and our purpose. Some people look at America and see vulnerability. The socialist left sees an opportunity to rewrite history,” she said while identifying herself as proud daughter of Indian immigrants.
Haley, 51, served as South Carolina's governor for six years prior to serving as former President Donald Trump's ambassador to the United Nations. She will be the first contender to join the contest against Trump, who is currently the sole Republican seeking his party's 2024 nomination.
Who is Niki Haley?
Born as Nimrata Nikki Randhawa in 1972 in Bamberg, South Carolina, Niki Haley is the daughter of two immigrants from Punjab.
Her father was a professor at Punjab Agricultural University, and her mother earned a law degree in India. They both moved to South Carolina in 1969, where they had extensive teaching and business careers.
Haley's mother started a gift and clothing boutique, Exotica International, in 1979, where Haley started helping with accounting at the age of 13, South Carolina daily The Times and Democrat reported.
She returned to the company as the chief financial officer after her graduation from Clemson University, as per the Seattle Times.
Haley was named as a board member of the chambers of commerce in Orangeburg County and Lexington and she was the president of the National Association of Women Business Owners from 1998 to 2004.
In 2004, Haley came in second in the primaries in the run for South Carolina's House of Representatives, but she won in a runoff after her incumbent opponent couldn't secure a majority. She then ran uncontested in the following general elections.
She was elected as the governor of South Carolina in 2010. She was the youngest governor in the country when she took office in January 2011 at the age of 32. She was also the first female governor of South Carolina and the state's first Asian-American governor and would go on to serve three terms in total.
Haley pledged to crack down on illegal immigration, signing a bill that required police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop and suspect.
She received national attention in 2015 when she signed a bill into law removing the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol, following the murder of nine black churchgoers by white supremacists.
She also signed a law in 2016 banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Haley's history with Trump has not been smooth as the two have exchanged harsh words.
Meanwhile, Trump has appeared less concerned with Haley's 2024 run and is rather focused on the looming threat of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' bid for the presidency, Business Insider reported. DeSantis has not declared his run yet, but he has expressed his interest.
Haley is married to Michael Haley, a National Guardsman who served as an officer in Afghanistan. The couple has a daughter, Rena, and a son, Nalin.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)
First Published: Feb 2, 2023 11:47 AM IST
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