How exactly does a self-described “kid who was never into politics” become a state congresswoman, governor, and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.? CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle posed that and other questions to former Ambassador Nikki Haley Tuesday at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference.
Throughout her many jobs, Haley said she interacted with credit unions most during her time as governor of South Carolina, and she had lots of praise for those experiences.
“As governor, I will tell you that credit unions were some of my biggest partners. What I love about credit unions is they’re more about families and community and they truly get the customer service side of things,” she said. “But the time I appreciated them the most was when we would have a hurricane, or a thousand-year flood, or any of those types of things. Our credit union stepped up every single time, wanting to help, wanting to volunteer, wanting to be a part.
“That’s the fondness I have for credit unions. You have the big banks, and there’s a place for them, but credit unions remind me of home, of families and communities and service in the way that people still care about people and everyone still knows each other. It was a great experience dealing with credit unions,” she added.
During the “fireside chat” with Nussle, they discussed her growing up not really feeling like she belonged, which gave rise to an almost instinctual calling to rise up against bullies, wherever they may be.
They also covered:
Her proudest accomplishment as governor is inheriting a state with 12% unemployment and “by the time I left we were building planes with Boeing, building more BMW’s than anyplace in the world, we had recruited Mercedes Benz, Volvo, five international tire companies, the largest carbon fiber producers in the world. By the time I left, they were referring to South Carolina as the ‘beast in the Southeast;’”
What it’s like to be on the receiving end of a Trump tweet: "[In 2016] I endorsed a candidate that wasn’t the president, and he responded with a tweet that said ‘Nikki Haley is an embarrassment to South Carolina’ and I in turn responded with a tweet that said, 'Bless your heart.'"
Women running for office: “[Women] are really good at getting things done. What we’re not good at is pushing through the fear…what I have learned is when you push through the fear, you find out how strong you are on the other side…If I wouldn’t have pushed through my fear I wouldn’t have become a legislator, I wouldn’t have become a governor, I wouldn’t have taken the job as ambassador…when you push through fear, good things happen.”
The aftermath of the 2015 Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shooting: When she ordered the Confederate flag removed from the statehouse: “I didn’t want any child to drive by that statehouse and feel pain…in the end I’m so proud of South Carolinians because we didn’t have riots; we had vigils. We didn’t have protests; we had hugs. And after what was a long debate, the Confederate flag came down and went to a museum where it belonged.”
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