Experts say Gov. Haley's State of the Union response will heighten her national profile

Experts say Gov. Haley's State of the Union response will heighten her national profile

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Governor Haley is set to deliver the Republican address to the nation following the President's State of the Union.

Two professors at Francis Marion University say they aren't surprised Haley was chosen to give the response.

Neal Thigpen, former Political Science Department Chair at Francis Marion University for 35 years says, "It heightens her visibility both here in the state and certainly nationally, and you know we as South Carolinians should be proud of that."

What came to mind first for Thigpen when he found out Haley was chosen was her role in removing the Confederate flag. He says, "If she hadn't taken the bull by the horns, you know that flag may still be there."

Not only that, but Thigpen mentioned Haley's part in dealing with the historical flooding in October, and the racially-motivated shooting that killed nine people inside a Charleston church. Alissa Warter, Associate Provost & Political Science Professor at FMU, agrees. She says as governor, you have to be the head of the government, but also the head of the state, and believes Haley has shown leadership in both this past year.

"You have to turn from day-to-day governing, to taking care of the citizens of your state in a different way. So she really has exemplified that and had to step up, and that was a sign of her we had not seen before," said Warters.

Warters always encourages her students to watch the State of the Union address and says they will have even more to talk about now that it's their very own governor taking the stage. "We'll talk about the implications for the state. So lets say a Republican wins in 2016, what if she is chosen to be in the cabinet or some other role in the federal government. That means she has to leave her post as governor of South Carolina, and what does that mean for us? So certainly we'll want to discuss that with the students."

Thigpen says, "You know she's a woman, Republican governor from the deep South. Another thing she just came off a handsome re-election for office here, what, eighteen months ago, so all those things roll together."

Both believe because Haley is the first female and first minority governor in South Carolina, and the youngest governor in the country, this is her chance to showcase that. "Everyone in the United States will be able to see her, understand who she is, where she is coming from, her political philosophy and this is her opportunity to really showcase that. If she does, well then maybe her future will be settled for her and where she may go next," said Warters.

Haley will give the Republican address this Tuesday, January 12th right after President Obama gives his final State of the Union address.

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