Monday, November 22, 2010

Do Other Former Governors Do This?

Recently my local paper, the Post and Courier, had an article by Yvonne Wenger about incoming SC governor, Nikki Haley. The title pretty much sums it up, Former S.C. Governors Offer Haley A Few Tips On What's Important.

I was really struck by this. The former governors, both Republican and Democrat, chimed in to tell her what she should expect as governor, but also gave her some suggestions for what she should do while serving the state:
[snip] Members of South Carolina's exclusive governors club -- an unlikely fellowship united by their shared past -- tell Haley she should remember who her friends were in the beginning, they will be the ones there in the end; invite the security detail to Christmas dinner; pray every day for wisdom and courage; and get ready to be the best salesperson this state has ever seen. {snip}

Outgoing Gov. Mark Sanford, a Republican who was an early mentor for Haley, advised her to stay loyal to the ideas that propelled her to run in the first place. He urged her to never forget the promises she made to the voters along the campaign trail. And, he said, she should find time to nurture her friendships and her soul.

"Don't lose touch with those who were your friends before this newest chapter of life, because they will be the ones who are there after," Sanford said. [snip]

Given what happened with Governor Sanford, he ought to know about the friends issue (you may recall he had/has an affair with an Argentine woman, though he also brought Boeing to the state, no small feat.). Sounds like good advice.

But he wasn't the only one:
[snip] Former Gov. Jim Hodges, the last Democrat to serve as governor, said on a personal front, Haley should make sure her staff schedules enough time for her to be a mother and a wife. A governor's job is all-consuming and she needs to carve out the time for family, Hodges said.

Professionally, Hodges said Haley can never take her eyes off job creation.

"First, she needs to focus on picking a strong commerce secretary, because having a single-minded focus on job creation is critically important for her to be successful," Hodges said.

Hodges said Haley's first year in office will set the trajectory for the other three in her term. Legislators will be most willing to work with her that first year, and she should take advantage of the fresh relationship to accomplish her agenda, he said. "It becomes harder after that."


Former Republican Gov. David Beasley, 53, had the same personal advice for Haley as Hodges: family time is critical.

"She has got to lay down the law with her staff," Beasley said. "Even though she is governor, she is still a mother and a wife. Those are God-given responsibilities."

The better mother and wife she is, the better governor she will be, Beasley said.

In terms of governing, Beasley said, Haley's responsibilities start with asking God for guidance. A public servant should be humble, he said.

It is interesting to see how much focus these former governors put on family first, and the importance of humility. Beasley continued:
First, she needs to, on a daily basis, get down on her knees and pray that God will give her wisdom and courage every singe day," he said.

As for working with lawmakers, Beasley said Haley should, "Treat them as friends who have the same love for South Carolina" as she does. [snip]

Also sound advice - if one starts from that assumption, that fellow lawmakers are in to serve the state, and to make it better, it sets the tone of bipartisanship and cooperation, something sorely lacking on the national scale of late.

Speaking for his father, Governor Campbell, was his son:
[snip] Mike Campbell and his mother, Iris, endorsed Haley's gubernatorial bid last month. Gov. Campbell, a Republican who was chief executive from 1987 to 1995, died in 2005 at age 65 after suffering a heart attack.

Governors since Campbell have been judged against his accomplishments, including government restructuring and economic development.

"One of the primary reasons that dad was as effective as he was, was he was willing to listen to people and find common ground," Mike Campbell said. "That doesn't mean you abandon your principles and core beliefs, but you find common ground."

Mike Campbell also said the Haley family will have to keep in direct communication with constituents and avoid being isolated, but also maintain privacy. The family will be surrounded by security at all times, and the Campbells embraced the security detail to the point that they too felt like family, Mike Campbell said.

The Campbells invited members of the security detail who had to work on the holidays to join the family for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, Mike Campbell said.

As for the Haleys' two young children, Mike Campbell said, they need to bring their friends over to the mansion as often as possible so they can live like normal kids.

Former Gov. Jim Edwards, 83, also had some advice for the family when it comes life in the mansion. The mansion is a lot of things, he said -- a museum and a place to dine and entertain important business leaders, but it's also a home. And the children should have friends over to play, he said.

"My children had a really good time and I think the new governor's family will enjoy living in the mansion," Edwards, a Republican, said. "If anything, it strengthened my family." [snip]

"I wouldn't dare try to give the new governor advice," he said. "She is a capable young lady. I think she'll do well."(Click HERE to read the rest.)

Well, I cannot disagree with him there - Haley does seem capable of the task ahead of her, having already made appointments that were well received, and indicative of her managerial skills.

I don't know if this happens in other states or not, but it certainly seems like it would be a good thing to do, as the torch is passed. Share the experience, remind the incoming governor of what is important (family, faith, service, and humility), and expect the new governor to do everything in her/his power to make the state a better place.

This article highlights that we are all in this together, despite our political affiliations. If we move from the place of wanting what is best, truly best, for our city, state, and country, that has to be a good step, right? Of course, that means electing people who move from that place, not one of self-aggrandizement, or desire for power. If we continue to do that, it can only be to the good of our country.

How about the state in which you live? Are the former governors passing along the torch?

No comments: