Stephen K. Benjamin
Stephen K. Benjamin
|36th Mayor of Columbia|
|Assumed office |
July 1, 2010
|Preceded by||Bob Coble|
|President of the United States Conference of Mayors|
May 7, 2018 – July 1, 2019
|Preceded by||Mitch Landrieu|
|Succeeded by||Bryan K. Barnett|
|Director of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services of South Carolina|
January 13, 1999 – January 15, 2003
|Preceded by||Stephen Bernie|
|Succeeded by||Joan Meacham|
Stephen Keith Benjamin
December 1, 1969
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Education||University of South Carolina (BA, JD)|
Stephen Keith Benjamin (born December 1, 1969) is an American politician and businessman serving as the 36th mayor of Columbia, South Carolina since July 2010. He 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 8, 2017, Benjamin won re-election for a third term as mayor with no votes because no other candidate filed. Benjamin was declared re-elected. Mayor Benjamin previously served as the 76th President of the United States Conference of Mayors.
Early life, education, and career
Benjamin's parents are from Orangeburg, South Carolina, but relocated in the 1960s during the Great Migration to Queens, New York, where Benjamin was born. Benjamin moved to Columbia to attend college. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of South Carolina in 1991 and earned a juris doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1994.
As a student at the University of South Carolina, Benjamin was actively involved in the student chapter of NAACP, eventually becoming president. He was elected as student body president during his undergraduate career and served as president of the student bar association during his third year of law school. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities.
In 1999, Benjamin was appointed by Democratic Governor Jim Hodges to lead the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services, a position which he held until 2003. In 2002, Benjamin led an unsuccessful campaign to become the Attorney General of South Carolina as a Democratic candidate, defeated by the Republican Henry McMaster by a margin of 11%.
In 2010, Benjamin won a special election to become the mayor of Columbia, succeeding Bob Coble. In November 2017, Benjamin was the only candidate to file for mayoral election. Benjamin, therefore, did not appear on the ballot and was automatically declared to be re-elected without any votes. On February 4, 2021, Benjamin announced that he would not seek re-election in 2021.
|Mayor of Columbia, 2017|
- Benjamin was the only candidate to file; he was automatically declared re-elected with no votes.
|Mayor of Columbia, 2013 |
|Mayor of Columbia, 2010 (Special Runoff)|
|Kirkman Finlay III||8,845||44.8|
|Mayor of Columbia, 2010 (Special)|
|Kirkman Finlay III||5,485||32.1|
|South Carolina Attorney General Election, 2002|
Career before mayoralty
Benjamin was the principal of the Benjamin Law Firm, LLC, in Columbia, South Carolina 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 McNair Law Firm in Columbia.
Recognition and awards
- The Root's 100 Influential Black Americans (2011 & 2013)
- The Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery by a Public Official (2017) 
- "Dubious new distinction for Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin". Retrieved September 5, 2018.
- United States Conference of Mayors. "Congratulations to @SteveBenjaminSC, the 76th President of the United States Conference of Mayors!". Retrieved May 7, 2018.
- "South Carolina Legislature Online - Search". www.scstatehouse.gov. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
- ":: Welcome to the City of Columbia ::". www.columbiasc.net. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
- "Our History – SCDPPPS". www.dppps.sc.gov. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
- "Our Campaigns – SC Attorney General Race – Nov 05, 2002". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
- www.wltx.com https://www.wltx.com/article/news/local/mayor-steve-benjamin-wont-seek-reelection/101-9302d710-2e9c-4c8f-8cd5-2008ffd96853. Retrieved February 4, 2021. Missing or empty
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 10, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 18, 2014. Retrieved May 18, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Mayor Benjamin Awarded for Leadership During Thousand Year Flood". Retrieved September 5, 2018.
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