Governor Nikki Haley’s top legislative liaison will leave her administration for a lobbying job at the University of South Carolina, the school announced Thursday.
USC said Trey Walker — a USC alumnus– will lead its Statehouse efforts as the new director of state relations.
Prior to joining Haley’s administration earlier this year, Walker directed legislative affairs and communications for former attorney general Henry McMaster. The former state GOP executive director also ran Sen. John McCain’s successful state primary campaign in 2008 and served on the national campaign’s senior staff.
“Trey was a huge part of the successes we shared this first year,” Governor Haley said in a statement, “He’s a talented, loyal and committed guy, and the University of South Carolina is lucky to have him.”
USC officials said they hired Walker because of his connections with legislators and other state officials. The school has seen its direct line-item funding decline by 22 percent since 2006.
“During the interview process, it was clear that he had the established contacts in the General Assembly, the governor’s office and throughout the state of South Carolina that USC needs in growing its presence,” USC Vice President for Communications Luanne Lawrence said, “He is truly a proud alumnus.”
While Walker has a good reputation among legislators, he was also the unnamed target of a high-profile dispute between legislators and the Governor’s Office over funding for ETV. Legislators accused the governor’s staff of misleading them about her intent to veto ETV’s funding.