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Is it possible that the next governor of South Carolina will be from Bamberg?

Bamberg native, Nikki Haley, elected to represent District 87 in the S.C. House in 2004, is a candidate in the June 8, 2010 Republican primary for governor.

Republican gubernatorial candidate, Nikki Haley, visited Bamberg Saturday to attend a reception at the home of Spann and Jamie Brabham.

Haley, now 38, was born and reared in Bamberg and has not forgotten her roots nor the values she learned from living in a small town.

“I love coming home. It redefines and rejuvenates me and reminds me of one of the reasons why I am doing this. Small communities are suffering in education. We need good quality education for all areas, no matter how small. Our children are our future,” said Haley.

Although Haley did not graduate from Bamberg, she attended Bamberg schools through the ninth grade. She graduated from Orangeburg Preparatory School in 1989 and from Clemson with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. Haley, who just recently resigned her position as assistant director of the Lexington Medical Center Foundation to run for governor, now lives in Lexington with her husband, Michael, and their two children, Rena, 11, and Nalin, 8.

At the early age of just 13, she began keeping the books for her parents, Dr. Ajit Randhawa and Raj Randhawa, owners of Exotica – a Bamberg clothing store.

“My parents didn’t want me to know limitation of age, they didn’t want me to know limitation of gender, and they didn’t want me to know limitation of being Indian,” said Haley. “Whatever you do, be great at it and you will be remembered for it.”

She says she believes in governmental transparency and leads the fight in accountability in the Legislature. She has made her mark in Columbia with her conservative leadership and firm commitment to the taxpayers’ bottom line.

“I want everyone to see how every single dollar is spent. As a business person, I know the value of a dollar and I know how hard it is to earn a dollar and how easy it is for the government to take it. I want to stop passing government friendly bills and start passing people friendly bills.”

On hand Saturday were some of Haley’s teachers to welcome her and encourage her in her bid for governor.

Mary Copeland, a teacher, says she remembers how smart she was in school. “She was an excellent student.”

Patsy Whitaker, another one of her teachers, “She was a good student. I wish her well. I want the best person to win…Gender does not matter.”

Jamie Brabham, a strong supporter, “I have known her all of my life. She is like one of the family… She grew up and played with my children. I am so excited that she has chosen to do this.”

Haley has already made history as the first Indian American Republican legislator in the U.S. and if she wins the gubernatorial election, she will be the first female governor for the state of South Carolina.

“I will be back after I win. Bamberg raised me well. I am very proud of Bamberg.”

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