COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Governor Nikki Haley appointed her nominee for the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Thursday.
She picked Duane Parrish of Charleston to be the agency's next director.
Parrish is the SC Hospitality Association Chairman as well as the President of Premier Hospitality Group. Before that he was a high level management with Holiday Inn, Ramada Inn and the company that is now Hilton Hotels.
What we looked for in a PRT director is someone from the private sector who knows the tourism industry, its players, and, most importantly, that tourism is critical to economic development and job creation in our state, Haley said. That TMs why we TMre extremely excited to welcome Duane Parrish to our team. He will work around the clock, seven days a week, to ensure South Carolina is the premier destination for tourists from around the country and around the world.
Parrish has an early to do list. Haley says his first priority is to find a sponsor for the Heritage Golf Tournament so taxpayers do not foot the bill.
Parrish must be approved by the Senate before his duties begin. Haley only has a few more Cabinet directors to appoint.
Watch the entire video of the announcement below.YouTube Meanwhile, the Governor is facing criticism from black lawmakers in the state. The Legislative Black Caucus says Haley's Cabinet choices do not reflect South Carolina's roughly 30 percent black population. Haley's announcement of Parrish was delayed by about 20 minutes as she met with members of the caucus who want to see more diversity in Haley's choices. "I just thought that we would not have to bring it to her attention about diversity and have two meetings to discuss diversity, and still nothing happened," Rep. Leon Howard said. "She said something will happen that she will be more sensitive and we'll see going forward and we'll continue to challenge her. Governor Haley tells WVOC Radio's Keven Cohen that she is simply looking for the most qualified people of the job regardless of ethnicity, but says diversity is important to her. "She said that she was out to find the most qualified individuals, but that's offensive, I mean, there are qualified African Americans in this state," Howard disputes. Earlier this month, Haley made her first minority choice for her Cabinet. Back on January 6, Haley tapped Lynne Rogers to head up the state's Parole, Pardons and Probation Agency. What do you think about the Legislative Black Caucus' call for more minority leadership in state agencies? Vote in our poll below and leave a comment to weigh in.