Tag Archives: nikki haley

Scott Walker says Nikki Haley asked him to hold back opinion on Confederate flag removal

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said on June 24 that he didn’t initially offer his opinion on whether the Confederate flag should be taken down from the Capitol grounds in South Carolina because Gov. Nikki Haley asked him to hold off speaking about it.

Haley’s spokeswoman Chaney Adams confirmed the two Republicans spoke over the weekend, but he did not say that Haley asked Walker not to comment.

Walker called Haley on June 20 to check in and let her know he was getting questions about the flag, Adams said. Haley told Walker that she had a plan to handle it and that it was important that the movement come from inside the state and not outside, Adams said.

The flag’s placement on the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse became a topic of debate after Dylann Roof, 21, was accused of shooting nine parishioners during a Bible study meeting in a historic African-American church in Charleston.

The suspect held the Confederate flag in a photograph on a website and displayed the flags of defeated white-supremacist governments in Africa on his Facebook page.

Walker on June 20, after speaking to religious conservatives in Washington, told reporters that the debate over whether the flag ought to remain on public land in South Carolina should be at the state level.

“I just think before I or anyone else weighs in on anything to do with policy, whether it’s this or any other policy decisions, we should honor the dead and the families by allowing them to bury their loved ones,” Walker went on to say. “And then you could perfectly ask me that question at some point in the next week or two when that’s done.”

Walker was criticized for not taking a position on whether the flag should stay or go.

On June 22, after Haley called for removing the flag, Walker said on Twitter that he was glad Haley was taking that position and he supported her.

“She asked me to wait,” Walker claimed. “I was fully prepared to say that it’s a state issue, but if it were me I would take it down. But I waited until she had a chance to get out front.”

NAACP Legal Defense fund responds to Haley’s call to remove Confederate flag

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund issued the following statment after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the removal of the Confederate flag at the state Capitol:

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s call to remove the Confederate flag from the state Capitol is a welcomed and long overdue act of responsive leadership that is much needed in the Palmetto State.The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.  has long voiced its opposition to the flag’s use on state property as it represents a symbol of white supremacy, hate, and terror.

The confederate flag’s racist symbolism dates back to the Civil War and resurfaced in South Carolina in the early 1960’s in response to civil rights developments in the South. It has also been used by individuals and groups for intimidation and violence. 

Despite years of discord over whether the flag should be flown at the state Capitol, last week’s tragic massacre of nine African-American men and women at the historic Emanuel AME church in Charleston has brought renewed focus to the connections between the confederate flag and racial violence.

LDF is especially pleased that the decision by Governor Haley has cut across party lines. Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has also recently called for the removal of the flag as did Republican state Sen. Tim Scott. Gov. Haley stated that she would use her authority to call a special session of the legislature later this summer, if necessary to implement her decision.

Ultimately, Gov. Haley’s decision is a culmination of the steadfast work of civil rights groups and activists to remove the flag as a state symbol. Leaders like Rep. Jim Clyburn, the South Carolina NAACP and others have led decades-long efforts to remove the Confederate flag from public spaces, including sponsoring a boycott honored by tourists, private industry and sports teams.

Yesterday’s developments must include recognition of the State Branch’s tireless efforts and tremendous resolve. 

Republican presidential candidates wait for S.C. governor to lead on Confederate flag

Republicans with presidential aspirations rushed on June 22 to embrace South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s call to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state Capitol.

They were eager to move past an issue that challenges the GOP’s effort to win over the diverse coalition of voters it likely needs to win back the White House.

Haley gave her party’s presidential candidates political cover by calling for the flag’s removal, reversing her own position and conceding that to many the flag is a “deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past.”

Until then, the GOP candidates for president had dodged the issue or said it should be left to states to decide.

Minutes later, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tweeted out his agreement: “Kudos to (at)nikkihaley and all the SC leaders standing with her for doing the right thing.” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry did the same.

It was a sharp shift for the GOP’s presidential class, which avoided taking such a firm position about the flag for several days following the slaying last week of nine black church members in Charleston. Walker was among the many who said it was a decision best left to those in South Carolina.

Republican leaders had hoped to avoid such a divisive issue this early in the campaign and the GOP debate has to this point centered on foreign policy and the economy.

But eight months before the first presidential votes are cast, several events have forced the party to confront issues where the opinions of those conservatives who hold an outsized influence in the party’s nomination process can be at odds with the young and minority voters it seeks to bring into the fold. The church shooting in South Carolina, a papal proclamation and a looming Supreme Court decision have put race, climate change and gay marriage onto the agenda.

Before last week’s shooting at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, allegedly by a young white man who embraced the flag as a symbol of white supremacy, there was little suggestion it would again become an issue in presidential politics.

Polls taken as recently as last fall have found widespread support in the state for keeping the flag on the statehouse grounds, where it has flown since its removal from atop the capitol dome in 2000, and its most passionate backers have hounded from office those who sought to remove it.

“It’s pretty obvious that the Republican candidates are, right now, trying to make sure they can connect with Republican primary voters,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, before Haley’s Monday announcement.

That such a response is expected is part of the issue the GOP must face, said former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, who is African-American. He said most black voters have such low expectations of the GOP that they weren’t surprised by the initially tentative responses of the party’s most ambitious.

“People say, `Yeah, figures.’ They expect that to be the response,” Steele said. “We’re just gonna continue with crazy in the political spectrum? That to me is not leadership.”

Steele and other party leaders say avoiding such issues poses a long-term problem for the party, which must find a way to expand its level of support among minority voters in a country that is growing increasingly diverse. The GOP draws the vast majority of its support from white voters, who by 2050 are expected to become a minority of the nation’s population.

President Barack Obama captured 80 percent of the minority vote in 2012, boosting him to victory in crucial swing states such as Florida, Colorado, Virginia and Nevada.

In the wake of the shooting, there was no such hesitation to talk about race by Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has already made it a major part of her campaign, taking strong stances on criminal justice reform and voting restrictions that disproportionally affect minorities and decrying the pervasiveness of “institutional racism.”

Clinton spoke about race and the Charleston shooting over the weekend, and she plans to address a community meeting Tuesday at a church just miles from Ferguson, Missouri, the site of racially charged riots earlier this year. She called for the flag’s removal in 2007.

The debate is the latest issue to test the willingness of the GOP’s presidential candidates to break with their party’s right wing.

Pope Francis last week issued a dire warning about the consequences of climate change, especially for poor and underdeveloped nations. Many conservatives dismiss the theory of manmade climate change and see efforts to combat it as an assault on the nation’s economic self-interest. None of the Republican presidential contenders, a field that includes several Catholics, agreed with the Pope’s assessment.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is expected to rule in the next week or so on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. While many conservative Republicans, especially among its base of evangelical voters, aggressively oppose same-sex marriage, a growing number of younger voters in both parties, as well as independents, supports it. None of the party’s 2016 candidates has expressed support of same-sex marriage.

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus was among those standing in the pack of supporters with Haley as she called for the flag to come down. But J.C. Watts, a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma, said despite the recent efforts by the RNC to focus on outreach to minority voters, his party has a lot of work left to do.

“I don’t think you lay a couple of bricks and say the house has been built,” said Watts, who is black. “That flag not being in a museum, it teaches a sermon before they ever say a word.”

Dems seek to elect more women governors in 2014

The Democratic Party claims to be the natural home for women. The numbers tell another story when it comes to the nation’s governors.

Republicans, four women: Jan Brewer in Arizona, Susana Martinez in New Mexico, Mary Fallin in Oklahoma and Nikki Haley in South Carolina. Democrats: Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire.

For the GOP, often accused of waging a “war on women,” this advantage offers a powerful tool in the competition for female voters.

“We have to show the fact there is no war on women,” said Haley, who is in her first term. “The more Republican women out there, the better our case is.”

Democratic leaders, backed by national women’s groups, are trying to turn it around in gubernatorial elections next fall that feature no less than six high-profile female candidates. Their goal is to give Hassan, who faces re-election in 2014, some company.

“My mother always used to say if you want something done, ask a busy woman,” says Rhode Island’s treasurer, Gina Raimondo, a 42-year-old mother of two young children who began her campaign last week. “People in Rhode Island want someone who’s going to do something.”

Raimondo is a leading contender in a crowded Democratic primary to succeed Lincoln Chafee, the Democratic incumbent who’s not running for a second term.

In Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Texas, there also are strong female candidates.

Gender is not a central issue in theses contests, but the Democratic women are using their backgrounds to help distinguish themselves.

Several candidates interviewed by The Associated Press said that the real-world stresses of raising families help them connect with voters while shaping priorities on issues such as health care, education and jobs.

In some cases, they’re up against male incumbents who elevated women’s issues by backing conservative social priorities on abortion, contraception and “equal pay” legislation.

In Pennsylvania, Democratic U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz charges that Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has “almost been dismissive of women,” particularly on issues such as “access to family planning and reproductive rights.”

Corbett has drawn criticism for cutting education, and like other Republican governors, he has supported legislation requiring women to get ultrasounds before having abortions. That idea never became law, but Corbett did say that women should close their eyes if they felt the procedure was too obtrusive.

“It is important for us in Pennsylvania to see a new and different kind of leadership that will move the state forward. It may well take a woman to do that,” Schwartz told a recent gathering of Pennsylvania politicians in New York City. She’s considered the early front-runner in the primary.

In state and national elections, women are a powerful voting bloc.

In presidential races, a Republican candidate has not won a majority of women since 1984. In the 2010 congressional elections, however, exit polls found that women voted for Republicans and Democrats almost evenly, helping to propel the GOP to the U.S. House majority.

Since then, Republicans have suffered from several self-inflicted wounds. For example, in 2012, Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri suggested that women’s bodies could prevent impregnation in cases of “legitimate rape.”

A report from the Republican National Committee this year detailed the scope of the problem. “Women are not a ‘coalition.’ They represent more than half the voting population in the country, and our inability to win their votes is losing us elections,” it said.

Republicans such as South Carolina’s Haley are in a unique position to balance damage done by party leaders elsewhere.

“Women can’t help it when men say ignorant things,” she said. “What we can do is try to make sure we continue to refocus people on what’s important and back on the issues.”

Haley, Martinez and Fallin are running for re-election in 2014. Brewer hasn’t decided whether she will challenge term limits set in the Arizona Constitution.

Democrats lost two female governors in recent years, when President Barack Obama appointed Arizona’s Janet Napolitano and Kansas’ Kathleen Sebelius to his Cabinet.

None of the Democrats’ 2014 female candidates are considered sure bets.

In Republican-friendly Texas, Democratic strategists are skeptical about the chances of state Sen. Wendy Davis, who developed a national following after her filibuster of a Republican-backed abortion bill.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is trying to become the state’s first female governor elected in a general election. Raimondo and Schwartz are trying to become their states’ first female chief executive, as is Wisconsin businesswoman Mary Burke.

Burke is the likely challenger for Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has pursued social conservative priorities on women’s issues as he weighs a 2016 presidential bid.

“There are a lot of areas where women in the state aren’t getting a fair shake,” Burke said.

Burke cited Walker’s repeal of legislation designed to deter employers from wage discrimination based on age and gender. Walker also signed into law legislation that singled out abortion clinics in requiring their doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, which would reduce the number of abortion providers.

S.C. Dems to Nikki Haley: No junk food for governor’s mansion

Lawmakers in South Carolina are trying to keep junk food out of the governor’s mansion.

The move was a response to the governor’s efforts to fight obesity by limiting what people can buy with money from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, known more commonly as food stamps.

State senators inserted a clause in the 2013-14 budget plan that would bar Gov. Nikki Haley’s office and the Governor’s Mansion from buying junk food with public money, whether for employee treats or entertaining.

Those efforts need federal approval before being implemented.

Democratic Sen. Darrell Jackson of Columbia pushed for the provision. He says it’s only fair for Haley to implement with her staff the healthy purchasing she’s promoting for poor people.

Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey says Jackson is playing political games with a serious health epidemic.