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Gov. Haley to visit Myrtle Beach area, speak on S.C. issues

Gov. Nikki Haley will take questions in Socastee on Thursday as part of a series of town hall meetings around the state, Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said in an e-mail Tuesday.

Haley will discuss issues facing the state and those issues' status in the legislature, Godfrey said.

Haley will address her new proposal to grade lawmakers using legislative report cards based on whether they agree with her, according to her website, NikkiHaley.com.

"She is following through on her promise to keep people involved in their government, to make sure they continue to know the power of theirvoice,"Godfrey said.

Sen. Larry Grooms of Berkeley County, a conservative Republican, said Monday that the governor was cheapening her office by staying in "campaign mode" when she "needs to lead," according to The Greenville News.

The event will be at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Socastee High School Auditorium, 4900 Socastee Boulevard, and seats are available on a first-come,first-serve basis, Godfrey said. Roughly 45 minutes will be reserved for questions, he said.

The town hall is expected to attract 300 to 350 people and the auditorium holds 720, said spokeswoman Teal Britton of Horry County Schools.

Haley's visit to the Grand Strand follows on town halls in Lexington last week and Greenville on Monday.

Haley will have similar events next week in Rock Hill, Aiken and Charleston, according to NikkiHaley.com.

In Greenville, Haley described in detail a plan she announced last week to issue public report cards grading each of the 168 senators and House members.

The grades will indicate whether legislators agreed with Haley in 13 categories including on-the-record voting, restructuring of state agencies and sustaining her budget vetoes.

The Greenville News reported that Haley used a placard on a stand to review the points of her legislative agenda and praised some legislators in the audience for voting with her on certain matters, during the town hall there.

Also Haley discussed her views on a range of issues with residents who packed the seats of an auditorium and filled the aisles at the Greenville Technical College's Barton Campus.

Several speakers urged the governor to take another look at the unemployment insurance reform, which they said would cost jobs just when the economy is poised to recover, according to the newspaper's report.

One speaker said he didn't know how his business would be able to pay a $1.5 million tax bill.

Haley defended the reform as a tough decision that was fair because employers who laid off the most pay the most.

"It was not the money people who elected me," she said then.

"It was not the establishment people who elected me. I think all of you know that.

"It was the girls in the kitchen, it was the parking meter attendant, it was the small business owner who elected me. That is who I listen to," Haley said.

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