GOP primary candidates Rep. Nikki Haley, Major Gen. Robert Livingston and Dr. Brent Nelsen addressed the Greenville County Republican Women, Mar. 26.

Nikki Haley

Rep. Haley of Lexington County is a candidate for governor. She began her political career in 2004 by defeating the longest-serving state legislator in the Republican primary.

When Rep. Haley took office, she saw that legislators were passing bills on voice votes that grew government without putting their names with their votes, and citizens had no way of knowing the spending habits of their legislators.

Rep. Haley filed a bill in 2007 requiring votes to be recorded. A report that year showed that of all the bills passed by the South Carolina House, only 8 percent were on the record, and in the Senate, only one percent were on the record.

Rep. Haley told the House Republican leadership that passage of her bill would make legislators accountable and “the people will start to trust us again.” The leadership replied: “Put the bill away. We don’t need to have it. We will decide what the public needs to see and what they don’t.”

The leadership then “stripped me” of committee assignments. In Rep. Haley’s first year in the state legislature she was chairman of the freshman class, and the second year she was majority whip. The third year she was put on a powerful business committee, and in her fourth year she was chairman.

Rep. Nathan Ballentine of Lexington and Richland counties was the only legislator who stood with Haley, and they stripped him of everything as well, Rep. Haley said.

Rep. Haley announced that the House passed her bill that morning that would make permanent that every House vote be on the record, and she called on the Senate to do the same.

For more information visit the Haley for Governor web site at

Major Gen.Robert Livingston

Major Gen. Robert Livingston is a candidate for Adjutant General.

Gen. Livingston said the Adjutant General is the head of the National Guard, which is the operational reserve for the U.S. Armed Forces, rotating into harm’s way.

The South Carolina National Guard will continue to deploy 1,000 to 3,500 personnel every year for the foreseeable future, he said, and will respond to Homeland Security incidents – natural and man-made disasters. The National Guard is the fifth largest employer in the state; and will be challenged in the future with budget cuts.

Gen. Livingston led a division of 9,000 people from 18 nations in Afghanistan. He commanded a task force of 8,000 soldiers who were responsible for military installations east of the Mississippi. He has served as a two star general at the National Guard Bureau, and on the staff of Gen. David Petraus at Central Command in Tampa, Florida.

Gen. Livingston has served in the National Guard for 31 years starting as a private. Gen. Livingston has been endorsed by the current Adjutant General, Stan Spears.

Gen. Livingston’s campaign web site is

Dr. Brent Nelsen

Dr. Brent Nelsen, a professor at Furman University, is a candidate for superintendent of education. He called for the development of a world class educational system in South Carolina.

Dr. Nelsen gave three numbers denoting where South Carolina is now and where it needs to go: 61 – 48 – 12.4.

61 is the percentage of South Carolina students who graduate on time from high school, which ranks the state 50th out of 51 (including the District of Columbia) in the country, and 15th out of 16 in the Southeast. 48 is the ranking of South Carolina students on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and 12.4 is the unemployment rate.

Dr. Nelsen said if we can increase educational attainment we can bring the unemployment figure down and per capita income will rise.

Dr. Nelsen promotes three ways we can improve education in South Carolina: 1) offering more choices, customized and individualized education in the public school system: charter schools, magnet schools, virtual schools, schools within schools, and inter- and intra-district choices; 2) freeing teachers from excessive regulation in the classroom and appropriately evaluating their performance, paying the best ones more and finding new jobs for those who do not measure up; and 3) encouraging families and communities to get involved in our schools.

For more information visit the campaign web site at


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