Haley discusses economy, education reform in Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Gov. Nikki Haley came toCharleston Tuesday to talk about policies and issues as she gears up foranother run for office. She spent the day talking to a group of businessofficials about the past, present, and future of South Carolina.

It wasn't an official campaign stop, but Haley spent timewith the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. As her race for re-electioncontinues, she was invited to talk with local business leaders about the stateof the state.

"We have a five year unemployment low, seeing that wehave the fastest growing economy in the East Coast, the fact that we have a neweducation reform plan. We've passed tort reform, pension reform.{} I mean, life is good in South Carolina. Butit's only getting better," she said.

Haley will face Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen inthis year's campaign for governor.

While the gloves haven't come off yet in their fight, Haleyexplained to Chamber members her three key issues: education, ethics reform,and funding road repairs.

"Infrastructure will continue to be a priority. Whetherit's roads, bridges, port air, we are going to keep infrastructure goingforward.{} But we don't need to be soquick to raise taxes. The money is there," Haley said.

She referenced the plan to raise South Carolina's gas tax,currently the lowest in the Southeast. She's against the idea.

"There's always going to be people who want to raise atax for the sake of raising a tax. What I will tell you is we've put $300million into ports and we've did it without raising taxes," she said.

At this point, Chamber members haven't endorsed eithercandidate for governor, but their interest is piqued because of what they sayare successes during Haley's tenure.

"One of the reasons we were excited to have thegovernor is South Carolina is number one in the country with foreign directinvestment. And a lot of that direct investment is occurring in our region,"said Bryan Derreberry, the president and CEO of the Charleston Metro Chamber.

That means the region will soon be a battleground for votesby both candidates.

Haley said she will spend Friday talking with state leaderson how last week's winter storm was handled. The opening and closing of theRavenel Bridge will be part of that discussion. The governor also addressed thenew restaurant carry bill, saying it will be signed as soon as it is ratifiedby the Legislature.{}

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