• Who is Nikki Haley, former UN Ambassador for the US?

    By: Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    Nikki Haley gained national attention as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the Donald Trump administration, but before that, the Republican politician made history as the governor of South Carolina.

    Here are some things to know about Haley.

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    First Indian American governor of South Carolina 

    Born on Jan. 20, 1972 in Bamberg, South Carolina, as Nimrata Nikki Randhawa, Haley is the daughter of Indian immigrants who owned Exotica International Inc., a women's clothing store that became a multimillion-dollar entity.

    In addition, her father, Ajit S. Randhawa, was a professor. Her mother, Raj Kaur Randhawa, was a teacher. They have since retired, but Haley worked as a bookkeeper at the business as a teen. 

    Her heritage made her the first Indian American governor of South Carolina in 2011. She was also the first woman in the role.

    Married to an Army National Guard officer

    In 1996, Haley married her college sweetheart Michael Haley, who served in the National Guard. They have two children, a daughter named Rena and a son named Nalin. In 2013, he was deployed to Afghanistan.

    Raised in the Sikh faith, Haley converted to Christianity, and she and her family attend a Methodist church. 

    Removed the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse

    During Haley's time as South Carolina governor, she led the state through the 2015 Charleston church shooting, in which nine African Americans were killed by white supremacist, Dylann Roof. It was that massacre that led Haley to change her stance on the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern heritage. She signed a bill into law that removed the flag from the state Capitol grounds. The flag is now in a museum.

    "I think the more important part is it should have never been there," she told CNN at the time. "These grounds are a place that everybody should feel a part of. What I realized now more than ever is people were driving by and felt hurt and pain. No one should feel pain."

    Moving from UN ambassador to Boeing

    Haley resigned as governor of South Carolina after then-President-elect Trump selected her as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. She was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 96-4 in January 2017.

    By October 2018, amid speculation that she may run for president, she resigned as UN ambassador. She denied she was running for office and is currently a member of the Boeing board of directors.

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