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The Haley team

Posted: November 9, 2010 4:57 p.m.
Updated: November 10, 2010 5:00 a.m.

Voters here in South Carolina have had to put up with a contentious relationship between the General Assembly and the executive branch for the last eight years, an oddity considering that both are controlled by the Republican Party. But Gov. Mark Sanford and legislators have often crossed swords, with legislators blaming the governor for showboating (remember the pigs he brought to the state house to symbolize pork spending?) and the governor decrying “business as usual” by legislators.

Because Nikki Haley was a compatriot of Sanford’s, some Republicans in the state -- including many in the General Assembly, no doubt -- were suspicious of her gubernatorial bid. So following her recent gubernatorial victory, it was wise for Haley to name David Wilkins, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, to head her transition team. Critics will say she’s already abandoning her reform agenda by naming someone who could be considered the ultimate insider at the State House, but Haley is offering an olive branch to legislators by naming Wilkins, in effect telling them she’s willing to work with them.

Of course, nobody other than Haley really knows how she plans to govern. The chief executive of South Carolina has limited power in a state that relies on its legislators, but one thing’s for sure: if members of the General Assembly decide to thwart her efforts, it will make for a tough term -- for her and for all the South Carolinians who voted for her. She’s made a good move in putting Wilkins in a visible position, and members of the General Assembly should take note of that.

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