State of State Address to Have 'Positive Tone'

Political Strategist says Haley's speech launches re-election bid

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By Monique Williams

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) -- Amid issues of creating jobs and improving public education, one political strategist says Gov. Nikki Haley's State of the State Address will also double for the unofficial launch of her re-election campaign.

University of South Carolina Political Science professor, Dr. Bob Oldendick, predicts Haley will cite several hot button issues, all with with a second term in mind.

"The tone she sets is really not just the State of the State, but we can almost look at this particular speech as kind of the initial speech for the re-election campaign," said Oldendick.

Haley will discuss agenda items of what she'll expect from the general assembly over the next six months. The trick, the professor and political strategist claims, is selling the legislature on what will emerge as the governor's focal point: education.

"The tough sell part comes in with how you're gonna pay for it," said Oldendick. "As important as public education is, there's a reluctance in the general assembly to allocate new money or find new sources of revenue to pay for things."

Haley's education initiative would spend an additional $177-million in the coming fiscal year on K-12 public schools, an issue she outlined earlier this month during her proposed budget announcement.

"[This is] so we can no longer educate children based on where they were born and raised but on the fact that they deserve a good education and that's our future workforce," said Haley.

Oldendick says she'll likely show appreciation for legislators passing this week a government restructuring bill she's been fighting for for years.

"[Her speech] is going to be one of 'a lot of work is left to do but look at what we've accomplished, the positive things we've done.'"
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