Palmetto Sunrise: Columbia braces for political flurry

The South Carolina Statehouse. Grace Beahm/Staff

While the heart of the political scene in South Carolina always beats in the state capital, the spotlight especially swings toward the heart of the state this week. In other words, the circus comes back to town.

Gov. Nikki Haley will stand at the Statehouse on Wednesday to take the oath of office as part of her second inaugural ceremony. In an interview with the AP, Haley said ethics was her top priority. She also continued to say that talk of national aspirations was just that.

"I'm committed to finishing what I start, and I'm committed to finishing this term - not only do I have reforms that I desperately want to see happen and work I want to do, but we've got kids," Haley said. "We've got a life. So, no, what I will do is welcome all the presidential candidates to South Carolina, tell them they've got to shake every hand, go to every region, spend whatever money they want to spend and also advertise us as the place to do business and the place to live and continue to increase our profile."

Haley's inaugural ceremony will be different in at least one way: the state's poet laureate won't be reciting a poem, a tradition at the event.

Had she had the chance, poet laureate Marjory Wentworth might have stirred the pot with "One River, One Boat," a poem that asks South Carolinians to confront its history with race and racism.

But Wentworth said Haley organizers hadn't seen her poem before telling her there wouldn't be enough time for her to recite it.

"I don't make a judgment," Wentworth said. "I just wasn't going to be included."

The Legislature begins its session Tuesday. Expect a lot of pomp and circumstance the first few days with few bills on the floor. Then the nitty gritty of contentious debates over education, roads and ethics will begin in earnest.

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