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The Election of Nikki Haley: A Model of Historic Diversity

November 5, 2010

By Keith Seymour

Contributing Editor

On Tuesday, November 2, I had the privilege of witnessing what will inevitably go down in South Carolina History, as a “landmark moment.” I am of course referring to the election of Nikki Haley as the first Female and Minority governor of a state that has been governed by Caucasian males, since its creation as British Colony in 1729.

However, I believe that my more illustrious colleagues in the media have either not realized, or have overlooked the importance that the governor-elect’s “historic” accomplishment lies not so much in her gender and ethnicity, but more importantly, what appears to be the consistent diversity of her supporters, since she entered the race for governor. The socio-economic, ethnic, racial, and even political makeup of Haley’s supporters is an indication that as chief executive of South Carolina, she has the very real potential to unify what is often seen as one of the most ethnically and politically polarized states in the country, in a manner, that could be used as a positive model for the rest of this country.

As someone of a diverse racial background and upbringing, this is not a statement that I make lightly. During the evening, and throughout her campaigns, I have noticed individuals of every background imaginable, including people who have sworn they would never vote for a Republican candidate. This is not to state that Governor-Elect Haley will not have opposition from various political and ethnic groups, because she will. Such opposition is inevitability. It is the opinion of this writer, that more than any other governor of my recollection. Governor-Elect Haley has the greatest potential to appeal to a greater number and a more diverse group of current and future residents of South Carolina. I believe this not merely because of her gender and her ethnicity, but also because her demeanor.

When Haley gave her acceptance speech, she pledged that regardless of whether you voted for her or not, or whatever a person’s background, she would work for every South Carolinian.

It is my sincere hope that Haley will follow through on this pledge. At the same time, it is up to all South Carolinians to make sure that Governor-Elect Haley does follow through, by staying informed.

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