Haley gives lawmakers pat on the back for advancing agenda items

Thursday Gov. Haley held the first town hall meeting in Lexington to discuss some of her legislative priorities.

LEXINGTON (WACH, AP) -- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is praising legislators for moving elements of her agenda forward at her first town hall meeting since taking office.

Haley had a standing-room crowd of more than 250 at the Lexington meeting.

She called House members rock stars for passing legislation that would elect governors and lieutenant governors on a joint ticket, have education superintendents appointed by the governor and move much of the state bureaucracy under the governor's control.

Haley said legislators should do more. She plans to grade their work at the end of the year on a new report card.

"We are long past the days of electing people because they look good in a picture and they hold a baby well," says Haley. "If they are not going to fight for you then we can't afford to have them."

Some legislators were irked when she gave them a draft of the report card earlier in the day.

Democratic state Sen. Phil Levenits of Sumter said it was political.

Haley also took questions from the audience on issues including jobs, education and health care.

"She has got her hands full and what she is doing now is trying to give the government back to the people," says Lexington resident Russell Landers. "She is really concerned about us."

The governor will also hold town hall meetings Monday in Greenville, Thursday in Myrtle Beach, March 14 in Rock Hill and March 15 in Aiken.

Do you think it's a good idea for Haley to give grades to lawmakers? Leave a comment and let us know.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)