Haley talks of jobs, ethics, education in speech

By SEANNA ADCOXAssociated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is celebrating passage of a government restructuring bill and requesting more money for public schools in her fourth annual State of the State address.

The Republican governor's speech laid out what people are likely to hear on the campaign trail in her re-election campaign.

Haley touted the state's lowest unemployment rate in five years and the jobs her agency has announced. She again called for a cut on personal income taxes and reiterated her promise to veto any proposal that increases the gas tax.

The governor advocated for her education initiative that focuses on spending more on poor, rural students.

Perhaps most surprising is she thanked her Democratic opponent, Sen. Vincent Sheheen, among others for passage of the restructuring bill they've both pushed for years.

Haley used the speech to ask legislators {}again to send her an ethics reform bill this year.

Haley repeated her request Wednesday in her State of the State speech, saying legislators know stronger and clearer ethics laws are needed. She reminded them South Carolina is among just four states that don't require lawmakers to disclose their income.

Legislators have called ethics reform a priority since the House Ethics Committee twice cleared Haley in 2012 of lobbying for former employers while in the House, citing weak and vague laws. Since then, a string of legislators of both parties have faced ethics accusations.

But a bill meant to strengthen the laws is hung up on who should oversee legislators' filings.

Haley said the system of legislators investigating their colleagues must end.

Haley also publicly congratulated "American Idol" winner Candice Glover.

Glover and her parents were special guests Wednesday for Haley's fourth annual State of the State address. Glover is from St. Helena Island and a graduate of Beaufort High School.

Haley says Glover wowed the nation when she won last year, and she wowed Haley when she met her.

She called Glover a shining example of what it means to never give up, noting she auditioned three times before making the show. Haley thanked Glover for making her home state proud.

Also in her speech, Haley recognized nine people representing businesses that have announced jobs across the state.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.