Nikki Haley Takes Governor’s Office in South Carolina

January 12, 2011 Updated: January 13, 2011

Nikki Haley was sworn in as South Carolina’s governor on Monday, becoming the first minority and first female to head the Palmetto State, according to The Associated Press.

In her first speech on the steps of the Capitol Building, she addressed the economy and said that South Carolina needs to first cut taxes and make government smaller.

Haley, 38, is the second Indian-American to be elected to a governorship behind Louisiana's Bobby Jindal.

"Today is a great day in South Carolina," Haley said; according to television station WLTX in Columbia, S.C. "It's a day for new beginnings. It's a day to turn the page from the past. And it's a day filled with anticipation of the next chapter of our state's future."

Haley grew up in a rural town in South Carolina and is a “proud daughter of Indian immigrants.”

State spending must be curbed and education has to be improved upon, she said.

"Nearly two years ago, the federal government in Washington decided to transfer its irresponsible fiscal practices to the states. And our state, just like every other, accepted it," Haley said, according to AP. "When we produce this year's budget, we will see the heavy price for having done so."