Nikki Haley, born on January 20, 1972, is an American politician and diplomat. She served as the 116th governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017 and as the 29th United States ambassador to the United Nations from January 2017 to December 2018.
A member of the Republican Party, Haley made history as the first Indian American to serve in a presidential cabinet. Currently, she is a candidate in the 2024 Republican Party presidential primaries.
Before her political career, Haley worked in her family’s clothing business and held leadership positions in the National Association of Women Business Owners. She entered politics by being elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2004, serving three terms. In 2010, she became South Carolina’s first female governor and the second U.S. governor of Indian descent.
In January 2017, Haley resigned as governor to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in Donald Trump’s administration. She announced her candidacy for President in February 2023 and is a major contender alongside Trump in the Republican primaries.
Notably, Haley received an endorsement from Americans for Prosperity Action, connected to the Koch network, in November 2023. Recent polls in New Hampshire showed her within single digits of Trump. However, in the Iowa caucuses on January 15, 2024, Haley finished third with 19% of the vote, trailing Trump who received 51%, and DeSantis with 21%. Despite being appointed by Haley, U.S. Senator Tim Scott endorsed Trump for president on January 19, attracting media attention and speculation.
Who Is Nikki Haley’s Father Ajit Singh Randhawa?
Nikki Haley’s father, Ajit S. Randhawa, completed his Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia and served as a biology professor at Voorhees College for 29 years. He retired in 1998 from his roles as a teacher and Chairman of the Division of Natural Sciences, Math, and Computer Sciences.
Her mother, Raj K. Randhawa, obtained a law degree from Delhi University and later earned her Master’s of Education in the United States. She dedicated several years to teaching in public schools.
The Randhawas immigrated to Canada in 1964 and later moved to the United States in 1969. They established the apparel store Exotica International, which closed in 2008 upon their retirement. Nikki Haley herself worked there as the comptroller at one point.
In a recent interview with Fox News on “The Faulkner Focus,” Haley shared that although her children were raised in the Christian faith, her parents would take them to Sikh services. Despite being brought up in the Christian tradition, Haley believes her kids have experienced both faiths, as her parents introduced them to the Indian church during visits.
Haley has three siblings: two brothers, Mitti and Charan, and a sister, Simran.