Nikki Haley was born as Nimrata Randhawa on January 20, 1972 in Bamberg, South Carolina, United States of America. She is an American politician and the current United States Ambassador to the United Nations. She served as the 116th Governor of South Carolina from January 2011 to January 2017. Prior to her tenure as governor, Haley was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, serving from 2005 until her win as the Governor.
Haley grew up as Nimrata Randhawa in South Carolina to an Indian Sikh family. True to their roots they tried to imbibe daily Indian culture into their lives and give little Nimrata a wholesome education and a way of life. She was always called “Nikki” by her family which loosely translates to “little one”. Her parents were immigrants from Amritsar in Punjab, India. Her father Ajit Singh Randhawa was a Professor at Punjab Agricultural University and her mother Raj Kaur Randhawa had received her law degree from the University of Delhi. Haley’s parents immigrated to Canada after her father received a scholarship offer from the University of British Columbia. She also has two brothers, Mitti and Charan and a younger sister called Simran who was born in Singapore.
Starting from an incredibly young age of 12, Haley began helping with the bookkeeping in her mother’s ladies clothing store. The Economist compares her to another shopkeeper’s daughter, Margaret Thatcher, saying that the fact that she was responsible from such a young age. It gave her an evidently extreme watchfulness about overheads and a sharp aversion to government intrusion.
Before joining her mother’s business called Exotica International, an upscale clothing firm, as chief financial officer in 1994 she was working for FCR Corporation. The family business boomed and grew to be a multimillion-dollar company. She was further named to the board of directors of the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce in 1998. She was also named to the board of directors of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce in 2003. In the same year, Haley became the treasurer of the National Association of Women Business Owners and ultimately President in the following year.
She serves on a host of panels including the Lexington Medical Foundation, Lexington County Sheriff’s Foundation and West Metro Republican Women. 2004 was a year of success for Haley because she ran for the South Carolina House of Representatives for a district in Lexington County. She won with humongous amounts of votes and ran unopposed for re-election to a second term in 2006.
In 2008, she won re-election to a third term defeating a Democrat candidate. With her positions she became the first Indian-American to hold office in South Carolina. She was also elected chair of the freshman caucus in 2005 and the majority whip in the South Carolina General Assembly. She was the only freshman legislator named to a whip spot at the time. Haley has a number of stated goals including the resolve to lower taxes, she also made major changes in the education sector. She also supports barring legislators from collecting legislative pensions while they are in office. Her immigration policies also speak for themselves, she has gone on record and said that as the daughter of immigrant parents she believes that immigration laws should be enforced.
Haley has had remarkable achievements throughout her life including holding the distinction of being the first Indian-American to hold office in South Carolina. She has won numerous awards including Legislator of the Year Award by the Centennial Foundation in 2005, the Indian American Pride Award by the Indian American Friendship Council in the same year, the First Lady’s Visionary Award in 2016 to a host of others.
Nikki Haley’s husband Michael Haley was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 as a member of the Army National Guard. The couple have two children Rena, 18 and Nalin, 15. Haley is a vehement supporter of pro-life and has worked for it. They currently reside in Washington DC.