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Gov. Nikki Haley

Posted: January 13, 2011 1:14 p.m.
Updated: January 14, 2011 5:00 a.m.

While not surprising anyone with stupendous announcements or shocking proposals, Gov. Nikki Haley was solid in Wednesday’s inaugural address, and she appears determined to avoid the contentious relationship that existed between the General Assembly and the governor’s office for the last eight years. Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so that remains to be determined, but the governor has certainly laid down a carpet of cooperation that could lead to smoother relations in the future. She has gone out of her way to signal to legislators that she won’t be following the same battering-ram strategy that Mark Sanford sometimes did.

It also should be a source of pride -- and a measure of irony -- that the Palmetto State, long chastised by much of the rest of the nation for a supposedly intolerant racial climate, now has a governor who joins Bobby Jindal of Louisiana as the nation’s first two governors of Indian ancestry. And, of course, Haley sets another landmark as well, being the first female governor of South Carolina and one of six women serving as chief executives of states.

Of course, in a state in which a predominant amount of power is given to the General Assembly, cooperation has to be a two-way street. If the state is to dig itself out of the present economic mess, legislators must also belly up to the bar and work with Haley to solve the state’s problems. There are some firmly entrenched, used-to-doing-it-my-way people in the State House, and they will also have to be malleable in formulating policies.

But yesterday certainly was a day of change in South Carolina, and there is great promise ahead. We hope that four years from now, we can look back and remark about the renewed cooperation that existed between the legislative and executive branches of government.

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