September 22, 2023


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Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin would not seek out re-election

5 min read

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin is leaving the doorway open for a return to politics, nevertheless.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The mayor of South Carolina’s money metropolis and 1 of the state’s greatest-profile Democrats will not look for a fourth time period in workplace. 

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin mentioned he wishes to emphasis now on his law follow and household. 

“Now is the time to action off the stage to continue on to establish my family,” he claimed. “In my existence I’m a youngster of God, a partner and father, and then I am Mayor. My religion and love for my wife and our children appear very first.”

“In my daily life I’m a youngster of God, a husband and father and then I am Mayor my religion and really like for my wife and our kids appear to start with so preserve your priorities in get and maintain doing that.”

His time period ends on December 31. Though he is leaving, he is maintaining the door open for a achievable return to politics. But reported he mentioned that’s not on the agenda right now.

“You never say never ever,” he said. 

For the up coming 10 months, he said he’ll emphasis on building confident the town continues to offer effectively with the ongoing pandemic. 

City Manager Teresa Wilson explained she will skip operating with Benjamin, but has large hopes for the city’s future.

“With just about every new chief they also will appear with new concepts and perhaps new techniques of executing points,” Wilson reported.

Connected: Columbia Councilman Sam Davis announces retirement

Councilman Sam Davis agreed. He also recently introduced he will not be managing for re-election.

“I think it’s good,” Davis stated. “There is generally a transition with personalities and management and I assume we each created the choice that it is time.”

Benjamin, 51, experienced opened speculation of his long term two days in the past when he tweeted about the push meeting, saying that he desired to “talk about the upcoming season in my lifestyle and I hope that you’ll sign up for me.”

He did say that he did not intend to operate for governor. 

Benjamin was elected in 2010 as Columbia’s first Black mayor. His national star inside the Democratic Occasion has been on the rise with his provider as president of both equally the the U.S. Convention of Mayors and African American Mayors Association.

He started out his political vocation in 1999 heading up South Carolina’s Section of Probation, Parole and Pardon Companies below Gov. Jim Hodges.

As a attorney, Benjamin first drew nationwide focus to himself in 2009 when he represented radio host Tom Joyner and secured a pardon for Joyner’s uncles who ended up wrongfully convicted and executed for the dying of a 73-12 months-old Confederate War veteran in 1913. The SC Board of Paroles and Pardons voted unanimously to grant the posthumous pardon, the first for a capital circumstance in South Carolina.

In 2010, he gained the election to substitute Bob Coble, who’d led the city for the preceding 20 years. He was re-elected in 2013, then faced no opposition when his term arrived up for renewal yet again in 2017.

Benjamin’s approximately 11-calendar year-prolonged tenure has showcased successes and setbacks, but what he may possibly likely be most effective known for is pushing for the rebirth of downtown with efforts on Principal Road and the BullStreet job.

Mayor pushed for bold new tasks

Main Avenue experienced for a long time been shedding tenants, but around the previous decades experienced viewed a number of places to eat find there, the opening of the Mast Normal Keep, the constructing of a substantial rise at the corner of Principal and Gervais, and the selection to go the Soda Metropolis Marketplace to that space.

TheBullStreet project, an effort and hard work to reimagine an around 200 acre location where the aged condition mental well being clinic was, was seen as a cornerstone of attempts to completely transform the place around downtown. The place characteristics Segra Park, a stadium’s which is the house of the Columbia Fireflies insignificant league baseball crew. Immediately after some struggles to draw in other tenants about the several years, it is not too long ago additional REI, Starbucks,  the Initially Foundation Developing. Their remains a system to renovate the historic Babock Building, which was greatly destroyed by hearth past 12 months, and convert into into residences.

During Benjamin’s time in office environment, there was also the expansion of housing all through the town for College of South Carolina pupils, which include The Hub (the old SCANA headquarters), the conversion of the old Palmetto Compress into housing, and the Station at 5 Factors.

The city also extra a downtown Columbia New Year’s Eve celebration, Famously Scorching New Calendar year, in 2011.

Columbia’s North Primary Avenue has also witnessed significant progress and improvement, with regulation offices, restaurants, and Cromer’s Peanuts moving there spurred on by metropolis leaders and incentives.

In 2013, Benjamin turned the face of a campaign to modify town governance to a powerful-mayor product instead than a city supervisor and council. He considered a total-time mayor was what the metropolis necessary. But voters didn’t agree, as the referendum was voted down, 57 per cent to 43 p.c with 11,700 inhabitants voting. The town continues to be with a mayor that receives an equal vote with the rest of council on all substantive issues.

Benjamin was confronted with foremost the town throughout the worst all-natural disaster in the city’s modern-day history, the 2015 flood. Sections of the city had been impassable as almost two toes of rain fell in some regions, forcing men and women to flee for their life from their households. He and the city’s emergency reaction effort, including law enforcement, fireplace, and EMS, mainly were praised for their initiatives. But some of the scars of that time live on, as the dam at the Columbia Canal has however to be completely replaced.

in the wake of the mass capturing in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2017, Benjamin known as for a ban on bump stocks, which were being used by the shooter to make his gun into primarily an automated weapon. Columbia was the initially town to do so. But gun rights advocates stated he acted unconstitutionally to improve point out gun legislation, and he was sued by South Carolina Legal professional Basic Alan Wilson. That fit is continue to pending.

  • 2014, released Justice For All initiative to put into action new coaching, aggressive shell out, numerous representation and group engagement to bolster believe in and accountability involving communities and regulation enforcement companies.
  • 2015-2016, President of the African American Mayors
  • 2015, launched the Let us Go! Columbia marketing campaign
  • 2016, named Little & Minority Company Advocate of the Year by Columbia Chamber of Commerce
  • 2016, speaker at the Democratic Countrywide Convention
  • 2017, named Phoenix Award Winner for Superb Contributions to Catastrophe Recovery by a Public Formal by the US Little Enterprise Administration (SBA)
  • 2018-2019, President of the US Meeting of Mayors
  • 2019, Benjamin escorted then-presidential candidate Kamala Harris to a Columbia gala sponsored by her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. | Newsphere by AF themes.