Stephen K. Benjamin

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Stephen K. Benjamin
36th Mayor of Columbia
Assumed office
July 2010
Preceded by Bob Coble
Personal details
Born (1969-12-01) December 1, 1969 (age 44)
Spouse(s) DeAndrea Gist Benjamin

Stephen 'Steve' K. Benjamin (born December 1, 1969) is the Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina. He started his first term in July 2010, and is the first African-American mayor in the city's history. Before serving as mayor, he worked in the Columbia metropolitan area as an attorney and served on various charitable organizations. On November 5, 2013, Benjamin won re-election for mayor with 64% of the vote.[1]

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Benjamin's parents are from Orangeburg, South Carolina but he was born in Queens, New York during the 1960s when many African-Americans decided to relocate to the North for better economic opportunities. Benjamin spent his childhood growing up in New York City where his parents, Sam and Maggie Benjamin, worked numerous jobs to support Steve and his elder brother Samuel. After a stable adolescence in New York, Benjamin relocated back to Columbia where he was admitted into the University of South Carolina to study Political Science.

During his studies, Benjamin became active in many student organizations that influenced his career path. He was actively involved in the student chapter of NAACP, eventually becoming president. Benjamin was also elected as student body president during his undergraduate career and went on to become president of the University of South Carolina School of Law student bar association during his third year. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. fraternity.

Previous positions and works[edit]

Benjamin was the principal of the Benjamin Law Firm, LLC, in Columbia, SC where his practice emphasized governmental strategic planning, administrative and regulatory work, municipal finance and general business matters.

On March 2, 1999, Benjamin was appointed to the Governor's Cabinet by Governor Jim Hodges serving as the Director of the South Carolina Probation, Pardon, and Parole Services. Benjamin has also served as the Regional Manager of Public Affairs for International Paper Company, Manager of Corporate Affairs at Carolina Power & Light Company. He additionally worked as an Associate in the Administrative and Regulatory practice of the prominent McNair Law Firm in Columbia, South Carolina.

Personal life[edit]

Benjamin is married to DeAndrea Gist Benjamin, who serves as a Judge in South Carolina's Fifth Judicial Circuit. Together they have two daughters, Bethany and Jordan Grace.[2]

Recognition and awards[edit]

  • Liberty Fellow (2007)
  • Aspen Institute Global Leadership Network’s Inaugural Leadership Seminar in Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Recognition by The State newspaper (Columbia, SC)
    • “20 Business Leaders Changing Columbia” (2005)
    • "10 Top Movers and Shakers to watch in Government and Politics” (2005–2006)
  • National Young Lawyer of the Year by National Bar Association (1999)
  • Young Alumni of the Year by the University of South Carolina
  • Recipient of the Lincoln C. Jenkins, Jr. Award given by the Columbia Urban League
  • Ebony Magazine’s “30 Leaders of the Future”
  • Compleat Lawyer Award given by the University of South Carolina School of Law (2000)
  • Co-recipient of the Young Lawyer of the Year Award given by South Carolina Bar Association (2001)
  • Athena Award from the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce (2001)
  • Civic Star Award given by the Richland County (SC) Bar Association (2007)
  • Inclusion in the 2008 & 2009 Best Lawyers in America publication
  • Phi Beta Sigma African American Male IMAGE Awards Ceremony (2009)
  • [1] The Root's 100 Influential Black Americans (2011 & 2013)
  • National Action Network's 2014 Public Servant of the Year [2]

Community Involvement[edit]

  • Chair-Elect, Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce (2005–2006)
  • Bank of America Columbia/Lexington Advisory Board
  • Board of Directors of Sistercare, Inc.
  • Member of the University of South Carolina Board of Visitors
  • USC Young Alumni Board
  • Big Brother of Greater Columbia
  • Mentor for Richland County (SC) School District One
  • South Carolina Bar House of Delegates
  • S.C. Bar Law Week Committee Chairman
  • Member of the South Carolina Sentencing Guidelines Commission
  • S.C. Law Enforcement Training Advisory Council
  • South Carolina Bar House of Delegates, S.C. Bar Law Week Committee Chairman
  • Member of the South Carolina Sentencing Guidelines Commission


External links[edit]

  • City of Columbia [3]
  • Steve Benjamin's Official website [4]