Can't Is Not an Option: A Discussion with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

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Event Summary
On Thursday, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley participated in a discussion at AEI in the wake of the release of her memoir, "Can’t Is Not an Option: My American Story." The conversation between Governor Haley and Liz Cheney, chairman of KeepAmericaSafe.com, focused on the governor's experience growing up in an immigrant family, her first forays into state politics before her current stint in the governor's mansion and the policy choices and challenges she has faced for the last two years in South Carolina.

Building on many of the personal stories and anecdotes offered in the memoir, Cheney asked Gov. Haley about her experiences growing up as an Indian American in a small South Carolina community. Gov. Haley elaborated on how her parents urged her to take pride in her differences. She further highlighted her uniquely American story, saying that her life has been "a story of challenges," from bookkeeping for her family business when she was 13 to defeating a 30-year incumbent for state representative, demonstrating a willingness to face difficult choices and persevere in the face of adversity.

Gov. Haley also discussed the challenges she's faced in making choices consistent with her principles, especially in the area of increasing accountability among those in public office. She criticized lawmakers who have grown complacent with the status quo and said she quickly learned at the state level that "the hardest part of governing is the federal government." In this  vein, she and Cheney discussed the governor's experience with the National Labor Relations Board-Boeing dispute, the dangers the Affordable Care Act poses to the South Carolina budget, and the role of women in politics, among other policy topics. Gov. Haley concluded by alleging that only through policy choices that focus on maximizing individual opportunity and increasing government efficiency can American greatness be perpetuated.
-- John VerWey

Event Description
In “Can’t Is Not an Option: A Memoir,” Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina tells the story of the struggles her family faced as immigrants from India and how the lessons learned from that experience shaped her political views and continue to influence her actions as she works to create jobs and improve the lives of South Carolinians. In addition to telling her story, Governor Haley’s book chronicles how the federal government has impeded reforms in her state on issues ranging from health care to illegal immigration and regulation. At this event, she will discuss the complicated relationship between the federal government and the states and her own experiences fighting government regulation. Liz Cheney, former deputy assistant secretary of state and chairman of KeepAmericaSafe.com, will join Governor Haley for this discussion.

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