Haley names Wilkins chair of transition team

David Wilkins, Tim Pearson, Rob Godfrey, Swati Patel (from left).

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- Gov.-elect Nikki Haley has named former state House Speaker and former U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins as chair of her transition team as she prepares to take over from Gov. Mark Sanford in January.

Haley made the announcements in Columbia on Monday.

Wilkins Republican establishment roles are in marked contrast to Haley, who portrayed herself as an outsider during the election campaign.

Haley says Wilkins, "knows what went right and what went wrong."

Seventeen of the top jobs in state government are up to Haley to fill.

The transition team will recommend leaders for the Commerce Department, the Transportation Department, the state prison system and the Health and Human Services Department, among others.

Haley says she's received hundreds of resumes for positions in state government.

Haley also named campaign manager Tim Pearson as the transition's executive director, campaign spokesman Rob Godfrey as her spokesman for the transition, and Gov. Sanford chief legal counsel Swati Patel as transition council.

Visit our Politics Page for the latest on the transition.

And with unemployment in the double-digits, Governor-Elect Haley has pledged to focus on economic development and job creation.

On Haley's website, she says she'll make the state a good place to own a business while taking care of the businesses already here.

The state's jobless rate has been hovering around 11 percent since April, which some say is a sign of an economy on the mend.

But some economists say a stable rate this high could easily turn into another recession.

Nationally, South Carolina has the fifth highest unemployment rate as all eyes are on the horizon.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)