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Crowd buys what Haley was selling.

October 01, 2011
| The Post and Courier by Brendan Kearney

It would be an understatement to say Gov. Nikki Haley’s pro-business message found a friendly audience at the Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce Industry Appreciation luncheon Friday.

The packed fellowship hall at Bethany United Methodist Church gave Haley a standing ovation when she took the stage, and applauded again when she called the National Labor Relations Board complaint against Boeing Co. “un-American” and vowed to “fight it every step of the way.”

When she invited questions at the end of her 10-minute speech, which ranged from recent job-creation announcements to the new way state employees are to answer the phone, there was silence.

“Was I that good?” she asked, prompting laughter, and after several more seconds of silence, another standing ovation from the business group.

As the economy continues to wallow and state unemployment around 11 percent, the governor’s words must have been music to their ears.

She spoke hopefully about the campaign to dredge Charleston Harbor and about state-sponsored workforce training. And she talked about attracting jobs while also promising to “take care of the businesses we already have.”

“We have to make sure the cost of doing business continues to be low,” she said, noting that her appointed chairman of the state Department of Health and Environmental Control board runs a construction company.

Haley was characteristically full-throated in her support of Boeing and in her denouncement of the NLRB and unions.

“What makes me incredibly proud and what should make you proud is we have Michelin, we have Boeing, we have BMW, we have Bridgestone, and we have no unions in those plants,” she said.

Haley said she has preached that message on national television programs so frequently to draw more businesses to her state.

“There is a method to the madness,” she said.

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