Greene still a mystery to some after first campaign speech

Source: The Associated Press
Source: The Associated Press

MANNING, S.C. (WIS/AP) — South Carolina, meet Alvin Greene.

The surprise winner in the June 8 Democratic primary gave his first campaign speech Sunday to the Manning branch of the NAACP in a packed gymnasium at Manning Junior High School.

The speech was Greene's introduction to many people who still haven't formed an opinion on the candidate, who without much campaigning or a campaign staff, managed to defeat former state legislator and Charleston attorney Vic Rawl in the primary.

In the 6-minute speech, Greene touched upon many of the current hot button issues around the country such as job creation, energy, and education.

"My campaign is about getting America and South Carolina back to work and moving South Carolina and America forward," said Greene.

The Army veteran and surprising winner in the June 8 Democratic primary didn't mention his opponent, tea party favorite and Republican incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint, by name, but said he couldn't allow his "opponent to keep this country hostage."

Keeping it simple, Greene linked the state's poor showing in nationwide education ranks to cuts in state-funded education programs.

"We see record high cuts in education spending even though South Carolina ranks 49th in education, South Carolina ranks 49th in standardized testing, and we have the highest high school dropout rate in the country," said Greene.

Greene also wants parents to increase their input on their children's education. "Instead of doing less for education, we are to be doing more," he said.

Greene threw his support behind efforts to bring energy jobs to the state.

"Now is the time to implement alternative forms of energy, such as solar, wind, and methane. These efforts will create green jobs and save Americans money," said Greene.

Greene has talked to reporters, getting lots of attention for his idea to jump-start South Carolina's economy by making Alvin Greene action figures.

Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.