Nikki Haley’s transition team

Here’s Nikki Haley’s transition team, as she announced it today:

Ambassador David Wilkins, Chairman. Ambassador David H. Wilkins is a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP and chairs the Public Policy and International Law practice group. Wilkins was nominated by President George W. Bush to become the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, serving from June 2005 to January 2009. A former speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives for 11 years and 25 years total as an elected representative, Wilkins now serves as Chairman of the Clemson University Board of Trustees.

Chad Walldorf, Vice-Chairman Chad Walldorf is the co-founder of Sticky Fingers and was named a 2004 Ernst and Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” for the Carolinas.  He and his partners sold the company in 2006 after growing it to include restaurants in five states and a national line of barbecue sauces. Walldorf served in the Reagan White House’s Office of Political Affairs and for two years as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Mark Sanford.  He chaired the 2007 Government Efficiency and Accountability Review (GEAR) Commission which resulted in detailed recommendations for the Budget and Control Board with half a billion dollars in estimated savings.

Derick Close. Derick Close is CEO of Springs Creative Products Group in Rock Hill.  A member of Clover-based Huffman Machine Tool’s Board of Directors, Close is past president of the South Carolina Manufacturing Alliance and serves on its executive committee.

Dave Ellison. Dave Ellison joined Northwestern Mutual in 1981 after a five year banking career. He has served or is currently serving on several community boards including the Furman University Board of Trustees, the United Way of Greenville County Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. Ellison’s leadership positions include serving as past chair of the Furman Board of Trustees, past president of the Furman Alumni Association and past chair of the United Way’s Palmetto Society.

Michael Haley. Michael Haley currently works in the human resource office as the State Equal Employment Manager for the South Carolina National Guard.  He is also an officer with the Medical Command in the Army National Guard.

Jermaine Husser. Jermaine Husser is currently the Executive Director (CEO) of the Lowcountry Food Bank. Husser oversees the operations, program and services at the Lowcountry Food Bank’s main distribution center in Charleston and Regional Food Centers in Myrtle Beach and Beaufort.

Jennie M. Johnson. Jennie Johnson is the Executive Director of Liberty Fellowship. She was previously president of Liberty Insurance Services and executive vice president of RBC Liberty Insurance. Her prior experience includes serving as president of Pierce National Life and strategic planning for Ashland Oil. Johnson is Vice-Chair of the Area Commission for Greenville Technical College, and she formerly chaired the South Carolina Research Authority.

Pamela P. Lackey. As President of AT&T South Carolina, Pamela Lackey is responsible for the company’s public policy, economic development and community affairs activities in the state. She works closely with state and community leaders to help bring new technology and jobs to the state and improve the quality of life for all South Carolinians. Prior to joining AT&T in 1997, she was a professional educator, most recently serving on the staff of the State Superintendent of Education. She is the Chair of the S.C. Research Centers of Economic Excellence Review Board and serves on numerous other boards, including the Central S.C. Alliance, the South Carolina State Chamber of Commerce, Governor’s School for the Arts, Palmetto Business Forum and the University of South Carolina Business Partnership Foundation.

Don Leonard. President of Leonard, Call & Associates, Inc., Don Leonard is Chairman of the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank and serves on the Wake Forest University Board of Trustees, the Board of Directors of the National Bank of South Carolina, the Board of Trustees of the Grand Strand Regional Medical Center and the Board of Trustees of Brookgreen Gardens.

Leighton Lord. Leighton Lord is former chairman of Nexsen Pruet, LLC.  He focuses his law practice on economic development and was Boeing’s legal team leader in the deal that brought the company to South Carolina. Lord serves on several boards, including Santee Cooper.

Pat McKinney. A long-time Charleston resident, Pat McKinney has spent his entire business career involved in the development of upscale communities along coastal South Carolina. Since 1988, he has been a partner in Kiawah Development Partners, the master developer of Kiawah Island. A past appointee to the State Board of Education (1987-1990), he is currently serving on the Board of Trustees of Furman University where he is chair of the Financial Management Committee.

Henry McMaster. President Ronald Reagan chose Henry McMaster to be his first U.S. Attorney. Then, when the people of South Carolina needed a strong Attorney General, they twice elected Henry McMaster. As chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, McMaster’s leadership was instrumental in electing Republican majorities to the state House and state Senate for the first time since Reconstruction. McMaster has served as chairman and a member of the board of directors of the South Carolina Policy Council and was appointed by Governor Carroll Campbell to serve on the state Commission on Higher Education.

Dr. Henry N. Tisdale. A native of Kingstree and magna cum laude graduate of Claflin University, Dr. Henry Tisdale returned to his alma mater as its eighth president in 1994. Dr. Tisdale has presided over a period of unprecedented growth and development at Claflin. During his tenure, Claflin has achieved national recognition for academic excellence, increased enrollment, and enhancement of both its physical infrastructure and research capacity. Dr. Tisdale earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Claflin in 1965 and became the first African-American to receive a doctorate in mathematics from Dartmouth.

George Wolfe. A partner in the Columbia office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, George Wolfe serves as Chair of the firm’s Economic Development Practice Group. He has worked over the last 20 years to develop policies and laws in support of economic development in South Carolina. Mr. Wolfe has worked closely with companies establishing and expanding new operations in South Carolina, including some of the largest investments in the history of the state.

At this point on a Friday afternoon I don’t have much to say about the list, beyond:

  • David Wilkins is there to reassure us more mainstream folk that Nikki really DOES want to play well with others. And so far, it’s working.
  • Sanford Überpal Chad Walldorf is there to tell the Tea Party faithful to ignore that David Wilkins appointment, she’s not going Establishment.
  • Henry McMaster is there because, well, who else among party leaders actually actively supported her campaign after he and other mainstream Republicans were pushed aside in the primary.
  • Husband Michael Haley is there because… well, I’m having trouble coming up with a justification for that one. I mean, Jenny Sanford was always involved in her ex-husband’s administration because she was the brains behind the Sanford mob. But Michael Haley, from what I’ve seen, has been in the background. Of course, he and Henry were the only adults who stood up on the stage with her when she gave her victory address, so that’s something…
  • George Wolfe and Leighton Lord are also, like David Wilkins, sort of reassuring ties to the actual conservative part of the Republican Party, rather than the newfangled neo-revolutionary wing. They’re both smart guys who I hope will have an impact.

Additional thoughts, anyone?

19 thoughts on “Nikki Haley’s transition team

  1. RDF

    I think Haley’s husband wants to be on the transition team. He’s in a position to get what he wants for the next four years. He’s certainly not qualified.

  2. soren

    I only care about Michael being on her transition team to the point it makes her look completely tone deaf…

    I just really dislike political spouses who get overly involved… both male and female… whether it’s (was) Hillary Clinton (HillaryCare) or Todd Palin (TrooperGate)… I really hope Nikki’s husband disengages after this transition period…

  3. joanne

    What could we possibly say? That we aren’t surprised?

    Brad, are these paid positions? If so, I do have a problem with First Hub being in this team. What’s his responsibility to be? Chastity?

  4. Patrick

    Maybe he’s there to keep an eye on the Governor-elect. Does the new Adjutant General approve of Lt. Haley spending time away from protecting Red Bank from invasion?

  5. martin

    Why isn’t Lt. Gov. elect Ard included? I know they don’t run together, but it seems a prudent thing to do.

    RE: Michael Haley. He may be the Todd Palin type…we won’t hear about him until he starts settling scores out of the state house? Is he that type of guy? Does anyone know?

    It strikes me that, despite all the media around these days, there doesn’t seem to be much investigation into candidates’ lives for any signs of weird until really late in the game. Look at what’s been trickling out about Joe Miller since the primary. O’Donnell was cute-crazy; Angle, stupid-crazy; but Miller seems dangerous-crazy. For someone who went to West Point and Yale, did no one ever get any idea of the character issues that are only now popping up about this guy? It looks like various Alaska employers have seen the truth about him for a while, but no one else?

  6. Ralph Hightower

    I saw where Nikki Haley is requiring everybody that works on her transition team to sign a Code of Ethics.

    Hmm, I wonder if she required herself to sign the pledge.

  7. Joanne

    The Sticky Fingers guy is a big proponent of vouchers (if I am remembering correctly). That’s why I won’t eat at those restaurants.

    And the addition of the husband is disgusting. I asked either on this part of the blog or another, Brad, (sorry if this is repetitive), are these paid positions? If they are, this is particularly disheartening….not that I expected any more.

  8. Lynn

    Michael Haley is of course representing the family values wing of the GOP.
    David Wilkins, when he was Mr. Speaker was the go to divorce lawyer in Greenville.
    Where are those “members of the faith community” Nikki assured us were just itching to step up and take care of the disabled, the sick, the poor, the needy, the hungry and ill-educated?
    What do all the appointments have in common: They gave Nikki $$$$. Pay and play.
    The more things change the more they remain the same.

  9. Kathryn "Blue" Fenner

    Burnie Maybank wasn’t paid when he did “transitioning.” Wonder why she didn’t tap him?

    Leighton and Geo Wolfe were chosen b/c they can actually get something done….

  10. Johnnie Walters

    Mr. Warthen, Give your diatribe a rest.Your whining is already old. Let’s give Gov. Haley a chance. If she’s a flop,you can get the crusade going again. THX

  11. SusanG

    Is it common for folks to put their spouses (or other family members) on their transition teams? It seems like an odd thing to do to me, but maybe I don’t really know what all a transition team does.

  12. Joanne

    Okay, that answers that question…thank you.

    Now, what part of this team is bi-partisan?

    I’m sure it’s there. Because Nikki herself said it was “bipartisan.”


  13. Barry

    I have no real problem with Mr. Haley on the team.

    I can imagine there has been some pretty heated arguments between Mr. Haley and Mrs. Haley over the past 3-4 months.

    I think he sees the clear need to keep an eye on his wife a little better than in the past.

  14. Clara Land

    Any chance she will replace Sanford’s appointees and give herself a fresh start or will it be more of the same?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *