Governor Haley sworn into office

COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) -- Nikki Haley is the Palmetto State's 90th governor, making her the first female and minority leader of the state.

South Carolina Chief Justice Jean Toal administered the oath under sunny skies but in near-freezing temperatures on the Statehouse steps.

South Carolina's new governor says the state must cut taxes and trim the size of government to turn around its lagging economy.

In remarks prepared for her inaugural address Wednesday, Nikki Haley invoked the state's fierce spirit of independence during the Revolutionary War and blamed misguided federal aid for helping to ruin the state budget.

She also says state spending must become more efficient and called for improvements to education. While vague on details, her speech hints at allowing children to attend school outside their home districts. She also renewed her call for lawmakers to record all of their votes on legislation.

Dressed in a bright, white overcoat and with husband Michael and their two children by her side, the 38-year-old Republican became the nation's second Indian-American governor. Other constitutional officers also took their oaths of office.

The festivities began earlier in the day with a bagpipe procession and prayer service at Trinity Cathedral across the street from the Statehouse.

The procession before the swearing-in was slightly delayed when a law officer collapsed, but officials later said the officer would be OK.

First gentleman Michael Haley was in his Army dress uniform, he's a member of the South Carolina National Guard.

Outgoing Gov. Mark Sanford is at the ceremony, as is former first lady Jenny Sanford. They were not seated together. They divorced last year after the governor admitted an affair with an Argentine woman.

Pastors called on South Carolina Gov.-elect Nikki Haley to help restore trust in government as Haley's own pastor called on churches to work with the state to deliver services.

First Presbyterian Church of Greenville Pastor Pamela Cole said Haley could become known as the governor who did the right thing regardless of the cost.

Mt. Horeb Methodist Church Pastor Jeff Kersey said churches around the state should support Haley's plans to have the faith community work more closely with government as services are cut by the budget crunch.

Nikki Haley will become the Palmetto State's 116th governor when she is sworn in at 11 a.m.

Haley has downplayed the historic nature of this event.

An open house at the governor's mansion and a gala Wednesday evening round out the activities.

WACH Fox will be following the swearing-in ceremony and you can watch the entire event as it happens by clicking here.

As newly elected officials take office, will you see a change in South Carolina government? Tell us what you think about the future of the state's political system. Vote in our poll below and leave a comment.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report).