STAMFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Former South Carolina governor and GOP presidential hopeful Nikki Haley was in Connecticut Wednesday, speaking to fellow Republicans at the Stamford Hilton Hotel.  

Haley was the keynote speaker at the 44th annual Prescott Bush Awards Dinner, which is the Connecticut Republican Party’s biggest fundraising event of the year. While on stage, Haley spoke about her accomplishments as governor. 

“When I became governor of South Carolina, South Carolina was hurting. We had a lot of families in need. We had a double-digit unemployment rate, and we got to work. By the time I was done, South Carolina was an economic powerhouse,” Haley said during her speech. 

In terms of issues facing the nation, she spoke about crime, illegal immigration, and education. 

“Pre-Covid, 70 percent of our eighth graders were not proficient in reading. Think about that. Then, you go and add two years of lockdowns, and our kids are in a world of hurt,” she said. 

She also spoke about the hot-button issue of transgender students competing in high school sports. 

“How do we go tell our girls that there’s a biological boy in their locker room? You can’t,” Haley said. 

Haley is one of several candidates in an already crowded race for the GOP presidential nomination. Former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are both expected to enter the race next week. Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have already kicked off their white house bids. 

The chair of the Connecticut Democratic Party released a statement on Haley’s visit, with chair Nancy DiNardo writing in part, “Nikki Haley is the perfect pick to headline a fundraiser for the Connecticut Republicans – she’s got a long history of criticizing her own party, even admiring Democrats, and selling it all out for political expediency.”