Dec. 10, 2010
Nikki Nimrata Kaur Randhawa-Haley was born on January 20, 1972 at Bamberg, South Carolina. She was elected governor on November 2nd, 2010 over the Democratic candidate, Vincent Sheheen 51% to 47%. She is first female governor of South Carolina and the second Indian American governor in the country, after Louisiana 's Bobby Jindal
- Father Dr. Ajit and mother Raj Randhawa, are Sikh immigrants from Amritsar, India.
Ajit Randhawa, an assistant professor at Punjab Agricultural University, set out for Canada to study at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He graduated in 1969 with a PhD degree. His wife Raj, who had studied law at Delhi University in India, joined him in Canada. Dr. Randhawa was offered associate professorship at Voorhees College in South Carolina. He got retirement as Chairman of Division of Natural Sciences, Math and Computer Science after 29 years teaching. He was recognized as Governor’s Distinguished Professor in 1989.
Raj had earned an M.Ed degree and taught social studies in the public school system for 7 years. Raj started her own business as Exotica International Gift Shop in 1976, which the family grew into a multimillion dollar business in Columbia, SC in 2000.
Dr. Randhawa, who is the author of ‘Evolution of Faith and Religion- An Exploration’, says: “The book emphasizes that spirituality is the common thread in religions, all anchored in faith. So long as children believe in God and have an abiding faith in God, the virtues become a part of your psyche.
Moreover, our children have grown watching their parents imbibe the positive values, work ethic, and the drive to do one’s best in doing the right thing. They grew up in a disciplined and driven atmosphere that paved the way for their successful careers and personal lives.”
One gets the sense that Ajit and Raj Randhawa believe strongly that all roads lead to the same truth, and are solidly behind Nikki Haley on her great American journey. “We allowed our children to follow their dreams in whatever profession they set their mind to,” he says. “We only encouraged them to do their very best and have faith in God, and they grew up watching us working hard in our chosen passions.”
- Two brothers, Mitti and Charan, and a sister, Simran. Mitti joined the US Army in Chemical Corps, and served as Company Commander on the frontline in the campaign “Desert Storm” during Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. He retired as major from the National Guard Reserve, and is now National Institutional Accounts Director, handling major contracts with University Hospitals nationwide.
Simi, a graduate of Fashion Institute of Technology, is a life coach who has established the Believe Center, publishes the journal ‘Believe’ and also hosts a radio talk show; Gogi graduated with degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering and has a thriving web design company. He is also part of a band ‘Dear Enemy’ which tours the U.S., and has released a CD recently.
- She attended Clemson University and majored in accounting and then joined the FCR Corporation
- She joined her mother's clothing business, Exotica International in 1994 and the family business grew to a multi-million dollar company
- As Republican South Carolina House of Representatives, she was endorsed by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford, and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in the South Carolina gubernatorial election, 2010.
- On June 08, 2010, she finished first in the four-person GOP primary election with more than 49% of the vote
- On June 22, she won with 65% vote and proceeded to win the general election by a 51-47 margin.
- In 2003, she became treasurer of the National Association of Women Business and president in 2004. She was also named to the Board of Directors of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce
- In 1998, she was named to the Board of Directors of the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce
- She served on the Lexington Medical Foundation, Lexington County Sheriff’s Foundation, West Metro Republican Women, President of the South Carolina Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Chairman for 2006 Friends of Scouting Leadership Division campaign. She is a member of the Rotary Club in Lexington
On September 6, 1996, she married Michael Haley who is a federal employee with the United States Department of the Army and an officer in the South Carolina Army National Guard. Marriage ceremony was performed in Methodist church and also in Sikh gurdwara. She attends both Sikh and Methodist services.
They have two children, Rena and Nalin
"Bobby Jindal really inspired me to run. He has
shown so much courage and put a face on the Indian community. Because
it is scary, because people don't know the culture, the religion.
I've already faced these things - 'What religion is she? Is she Muslim?
Is she part of that group with Osama bin Laden?'"
"Morally, spiritually, and financially, we will
help her all the way," said her husband Michael who runs his own
company, the National Barter Company.