MARCH 16, 2011 1:06 p.m. (0)
Writing a memoir is almost a rite of passage for presidential hopefuls and Gov. Nikki Haley is busy pecking away at hers in spare moments at the governor’s mansion in Columbia.
But she says it isn’t because she is planning to run for higher office.
"Whenever somebody wants to tell their story, it's not always because they're seeking to move up to a further position," she told the Associated Press last week. "It's because they truly have a story to tell."
Her story, rising to the top executive position in state government from immigrant roots in Bamberg has propelled the former state representative to national prominence.
Haley rode the tails of an endorsement by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and last year’s tea party fervor into the governor’s mansion.
She is the first woman chief executive in South Carolina history and the first popularly elected member of a minority to occupy the top job in South Carolina.
She is also the nation’s youngest governor at age 39.
Haley promises to be forthcoming in her book and talk about what it was like to grow up in Bamberg with Sikh parents during the height of the civil rights era. She also promised to take on allegations of infidelity that dogged her during the Republican primary fight and explain why she filed her taxes late.
The governor has retained Robert Barnett, a Washington attorney, to handle negotiations for her book. Barnett has handled book deals for George W. Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and Karl Rove.
Work on the book started shortly after Haley’s inauguration. She has called the process therapeutic and said she hopes the book will inspire everyday people to run for higher office.
Her rise to power has been anything but everyday, however.
Haley was born as Nimrata Nikki Randhawa to Ajit and Raj Randhawa on Jan. 20, 1972, in Bamberg and was delivered by local doctor Michael Watson. She took the oath of office just days before her 39th birthday.
Finding time to work on the memoir has been tough, Haley said.
She spends time early and late in the day jotting down memories and impressions.
The rest of the time she’s engaged in battles to close a huge shortfall in the state’s budget and pushing state lawmakers to pass her reform package which she says will enable the government to live within its means and ensure the public good.
Overall, the focus of the book will be on her 18-month race for governor, Haley said last week.
She was a little-known three-term representative from Lexington County when she launched her campaign.
Haley survived a bruising primary fight with mainstream Republican candidates, including the son of the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond before going on to defeat Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen with 51.8 percent of the vote in the November general election.
Sheheen won the endorsement of the state Chamber of Commerce who saw Haley’s tea party connections as inherently anti-business.
She has since worked hard to prove herself a friend toward business but has held firm in her commitment to a revised unemployment tax rate that would see a $900 million federal loan back in record time.
Her margin of victory was the smallest by any Republican candidate for statewide office last year.
No word on if the governor will write the book herself or use a ghostwriter.
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