*The man who literally came out of nowhere to win the Democratic ticket in South Carolina’s U.S. senate race made his first campaign appearance Sunday during a local NAACP meeting in Manning.
Alvin Greene, whose shocking June 8 primary win over a former judge and state lawmaker – with the full backing of the Democratic party – spoke for 6 ½ minutes about his platform stressing jobs, education and justice, reports the AP.
“Let’s get South Carolina and America back to work and let’s move South Carolina forward,” said Greene, one of about a dozen lines that got applause from about 400 hundred folks crammed into a sweltering junior high gymnasium. [Watch full speech below.]
The address by the 32-year-old unemployed military veteran had very few of the long pauses that have marked his unprepared conversations with reporters.
He opened by joking that he was not only the best candidate for Senate, but also the best choice for one of next year’s NAACP Image Awards. After that, he turned serious. Greene rattled off national job loss statistics, and he said the state needs to put more people to work adding more lanes to hurricane evacuation routes.
On education, he mentioned South Carolina’s dismal rankings in standardized tests. “Parents need to take more of a part in their children’s education, especially parents of underperforming students,” Greene said, offering no specifics about how to ensure their increased involvement.
And when he talked about justice, Greene called for giving first-time offenders a chance to do community service and pay a fine to have their records wiped clean, which called to mind his own legal troubles. Greene is facing a felony charge of showing obscene Internet photos to a University of South Carolina student.
“The punishment should fit the crime. Fairness saves us money. First-time offenders should be offered programs such as pretrial intervention,” Greene said.
Greene took no questions from the audience and hustled past a group of reporters on his way out of the building without stopping to talk.
The Manning branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said it invited Greene to speak so its members could get to know him better.
Greene faces Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint and Green Party candidate Tom Clements in November. DeMint has more than $3.5 million to spend, while Greene told a reporter last week he has raised about $1,000.