Haley makes first of 15 Cabinet picks Monday

COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) -- South Carolina Gov.-elect Nikki Haley has picked BMW executive and former newspaper editor Bobby Hitt to lead the state Commerce Department.

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The announcement Monday represents Haley's first Cabinet choice. It comes four weeks after she won the election to become the state's first female and first minority governor.

Haley explains that her decision to pick the leader for that agency first shows her focus to improve the state's economy.

"During the course of the campaign, we said that jobs and the economy are top priorities and that we need a Commerce Secretary who knows that ~can TMt TM is not an option, Haley said.. No one has more economic development experience over the last two decades than Bobby Hitt. A businessman who has been at the negotiating table with commerce officials and business leaders many times, Bobby Hitt TMs involvement in every aspect of economic development in our state means he TMll have no learning curve. He TMll hit the ground running in January.

Hitt, a Charleston native, has served as BMW's Corporate Affairs Manager at the upstate plant since 1993. Before that he worked as a Director of Planning and Development and a Managing Editor for The State Newspaper.

I can TMt imagine a greater opportunity than to represent Gov.-elect Haley and the state of South Carolina in bringing more jobs and businesses to our state, Hitt says.

The state Senate must confirm Haley's choice to lead one of 15 Cabinet agencies overseen by the governor.

Haley will be sworn into office in January

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)