The underrepresentation of women in government has been an issue of public discourse across the world. While a whole lot of women are still struggling to establish themselves in the male-dominated political circle, a handful of them has broken through and this includes Nikki Haley.
Haley, a brilliant Indian-American woman with an outstanding work ethics and unparallel track record, became a prominent figure in the major political sphere of the United States after proving her capability in many leadership positions. She is most prominent for being the first woman governor of South Carolina and the US Ambassador to the United Nations. Find out more about the super lady below.
Nikki Haley Bio
Check the records, you will find that Nikki was born on the 20th of January 1972 as Nimrata Randhawa and, that her place of birth was in Bamberg, South Carolina. She was raised by her parents who immigrated from Punjab, India. Nikki started working as a bookkeeper in her mother’s women’s clothing company, Exotica International when she was just 12.
Nikki, as she has always been called by her family, attended Orangeburg Preparatory Schools in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and graduated in 1989 before moving on to Clemson University from where she bagged a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
After graduating from college, Nikki Haley got a job with a waste management and recycling company named FCR Corporation. She worked for a while with the company before joining her mother’s clothing business and later became its controller and chief financial officer. As a result of her obvious success in the family business, Haley was in 1998, named to the board of directors of the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce.
In 2003, she was named to the board of directors of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce and was also made the treasurer of the National Association of Women Business Owners. The following year, Haley became the association’s president, serving in different capacities on the Lexington Medical Foundation, Lexington County Sheriff’s Foundation, and West Metro Republican Women. Haley also served as the president of the National Association of Women Business Owners (South Carolina Chapter) and chaired the 2006 Fiends of Scouting Leadership Division campaign.
Her Political Career
As a Republican, Nikki Haley contested for the South Carolina House of Representatives to represent District 87 of the Lexington County in 2004 and won, becoming the first Indian-American to occupy the office in South Carolina. She was re-elected to a second term in 2006 and to a third term in 2008.
On May 14, 2009, Haley announced that she would contest for the seat of South Carolina’s Governor in the 2010 elections under the Republican party. She captured 49% of the votes during the party’s gubernatorial primary election which took place on June 8, 2010, and as a result, a runoff election was held on June 22, which Nikki Haley won.
On November 2, 2010, she defeated Vincent Sheheen of the Democratic party 51% to 47%, becoming the first female governor of South Carolina, the third non-white person to serve as the state’s governor, and the second Indian-American governor in the United States. After her first tenure, Nikki Haley was re-elected on November 4, 2014.
While serving her second term as governor, President-elect Donald Trump, on November 23, 2016, declared his intention to nominate Haley for Ambassador to the United Nations. He sent her nomination to the Senate and on January 24, 2017, she was confirmed by the upper chamber of the United States Congress. This made her the first Indian-American to hold a cabinet-level position. Not long after, Haley resigned her position as South Carolina’s governor, giving room for Lt. Governor Henry McMaster to take over. She was eventually sworn in on January 25, 2017.
Why Did She Resign?
After about one year and nine months of serving as an Ambassador, Haley caught staff and lawmakers by surprise as she announced her resignation on Tuesday, October 9, 2018. Speaking in the Oval Office with President Trump who accepted the resignation, the former governor said she would serve through the end of 2018. Although she described her time in the UN as a blessing, Nikki Haley did not give any reason for resigning apart from her belief that government officials must know “when it’s time to step aside.”
The resignation came just one day after a corruption allegation was leveled against her by an anti-corruption watchdog. According to the watchdog, Haley accepted seven luxury private plane trips as gifts from South Carolina business leaders. However, this may not be part of the reason for her resignation.
Nikki Haley Parents, Husband, Children, and Family
Nikki’s parents, Ajit Singh Randhawa (father) and Raj Kaur Randhawa (mother) are Indian-Americans who practice the Sikh religion. Her father, a former professor at Punjab Agricultural University, was offered a scholarship by the University of British Columbia and as a result, he and his wife moved to Canada.
Upon completion of his Ph.D. programme in 1969, he accepted a position as a professor at the Voorhees College, a private, historically black college (HBCU) located in Denmark, South Carolina, US. He then relocated his family from Amritsar District, Punjab, India, to South Carolina.
Nikki’s mother attended the University of Delhi from where she graduated with a law degree. After their relocation to the US, she bagged a master’s degree in education and worked as a teacher at Bamberg public schools for seven years. She later left teaching to start a clothing company named Exotica International in 1976.
Nikki Haley is one of her parent’s four children. She has one sister named Simran and two brothers – Mitti and Charan. Her sister who was born in Canada attended Fashion Institute of Technology and now works as a radio host while her brother Mitti, is a retired US Army Chemical Corps and Charan, a web designer.
The politician is married to Michael Haley, a US Army Officer in the South Carolina National Guard, employed as a federal military technician. Michael was born and raised in the United States and he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a degree in business administration.
The couple met at Clemson University in 1989 and started dating during governor’s weekend at the college. Despite being in different universities, they still managed to stay together and eventually got married in 1996, in both Sikh and Christian wedding ceremonies, though Nikki now identifies as a Christian.
Michael Haley became the First Gentleman of South Carolina when his wife served as governor of the state. He held the position from 2011 to 2017 and was the first man ever to be in the position in the state. As South Carolina’s First Gentleman, he was the chairman of a foundation that oversaw the preservation and management of the Governor’s Mansion.
Nikki and Michael Haley are proud parents of two children, a daughter named Rena and a son named Nalin.