Lalit K Jha
Washington, Jan 12 (PTI) Daughter of Sikh immigrantparents from Punjab, Indian-American Namrata "Nikki" RandhawaHaley created history today when she was sworn-in as the firstwomen and non-white Governor of South Carolina, where anemergency has been declared due to heavy snowfall.
After Bobby Jindal from Louisiana, 38-year-old Haleyis only the second Indian-American Governor and the first everIndian-American women governor in the United States.
This reflects the quite but strong emergence of thissmall Indian-American community as a political force in thiscountry.
Analysts now say that Indian-Americans are now thesecond most influential community in the US after Jews.
Haley was sworn in as the 86th Governor of SouthCarolina.
She took the oath of office on a chilly morning on theState House''s south steps.
"Thank you for allowing our family to serve the greatfamilies of SC," Haley said in her tweet this morning.
Haley succeeds Mark Stanford, who has been SouthCarolina''s Governor for the last eight years.
She now also becomes the youngest governor in the US,replacing her fellow Republican and Indian-American Jindal.
The day started for Haley, who was born in a Sikhfamily but later converted to Christianity, with a prayerservice, during which she was asked to "be real and true" whenshe takes office to help restore trust in government.
"We''ve grown cynical," said Pastor Pamela Pond ofGreenville''s First Presbyterian Church.
"We''ve grown lethargic in fear. We''ve come to believewe can''t trust our government officials."
The Rev. Jeff Kersey pastor of Mt. Horeb UnitedMethodist Church in Lexington urged Haley to return to thefaith of the ancestors.
With conviction, creativity and courage, he one cansolve the state''s problems.
The recent murders at an Arizona Congresswoman''spublic event, Kersey said, was evidence of the "greaterspiritual and moral depression" facing the country and itsleaders.