Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin won’t request re-election

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

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The mayor of South Carolina’s money metropolis and a person of the state’s greatest-profile Democrats will not seek a fourth time period in place of work. 

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said he wishes to aim now on his regulation practice and loved ones. 

“Now is the time to stage off the stage to go on to construct my family members,” he said. “In my lifestyle I’m a child of God, a spouse and father, and then I am Mayor. My faith and enjoy for my wife and our children come initially.”

“In my life I’m a baby of God, a husband and father and then I am Mayor my religion and like for my spouse and our little ones appear 1st so maintain your priorities in purchase and keep performing that.”

His term finishes on December 31. When he is leaving, he is keeping the doorway open for a doable return to politics. But reported he reported which is not on the agenda nowadays.

“You by no means say hardly ever,” he reported. 

For the following 10 months, he claimed he’ll target on building certain the city proceeds to offer perfectly with the ongoing pandemic. 

City Manager Teresa Wilson claimed she will overlook operating with Benjamin, but has substantial hopes for the city’s potential.

“With every single new chief they also will appear with new thoughts and perhaps new strategies of undertaking issues,” Wilson stated.

Associated: Columbia Councilman Sam Davis announces retirement

Councilman Sam Davis agreed. He also just lately introduced he will not be operating for re-election.

“I believe it is excellent,” Davis stated. “There’s usually a transition with personalities and leadership and I assume we both equally produced the choice that it’s time.”

Benjamin, 51, experienced opened speculation of his foreseeable future two days back when he tweeted about the push convention, saying that he required to “discuss the subsequent year in my existence and I hope that you can expect to be a part of me.”

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

Benjamin was elected in 2010 as Columbia’s to start with Black mayor. His nationwide star inside the Democratic Bash has been on the rise with his services as president of each the the U.S. Conference of Mayors and African American Mayors Affiliation.

He begun his political profession in 1999 heading up South Carolina’s Office of Probation, Parole and Pardon Products and services underneath Gov. Jim Hodges.

As a law firm, Benjamin very first drew nationwide interest to himself in 2009 when he represented radio host Tom Joyner and secured a pardon for Joyner’s uncles who were wrongfully convicted and executed for the death of a 73-calendar year-old Confederate War veteran in 1913. The SC Board of Paroles and Pardons voted unanimously to grant the posthumous pardon, the 1st for a cash situation in South Carolina.

In 2010, he gained the election to exchange Bob Coble, who’d led the metropolis for the former 20 decades. He was re-elected in 2013, then faced no opposition when his time period came up for renewal again in 2017.

Benjamin’s approximately 11-12 months-lengthy tenure has highlighted successes and setbacks, but what he may possibly possible be greatest identified for is pushing for the rebirth of downtown with endeavours on Principal Road and the BullStreet project.

Mayor pushed for daring new initiatives

Primary Road experienced for decades been dropping tenants, but more than the previous decades had seen several dining places track down there, the opening of the Mast Normal Store, the making of a superior increase at the corner of Main and Gervais, and the selection to go the Soda Town Current market to that spot.

TheBullStreet job, an hard work to reimagine an around 200 acre location where by the previous state psychological health and fitness healthcare facility was, was noticed as a cornerstone of initiatives to transform the region in the vicinity of downtown. The put attributes Segra Park, a stadium’s that is the house of the Columbia Fireflies insignificant league baseball staff. After some struggles to entice other tenants in excess of the decades, it is lately additional REI, Starbucks,  the Initially Base Developing. Their stays a program to renovate the historic Babock Setting up, which was heavily broken by fireplace last year, and switch into into apartments.

Throughout Benjamin’s time in business, there was also the expansion of housing throughout the city for College of South Carolina college students, which include The Hub (the previous SCANA headquarters), the conversion of the previous Palmetto Compress into housing, and the Station at 5 Points.

The town also extra a downtown Columbia New Year’s Eve celebration, Famously Very hot New Yr, in 2011.

Columbia’s North Principal Street has also seen significant expansion and progress, with regulation workplaces, dining places, and Cromer’s Peanuts shifting there spurred on by town leaders and incentives.

In 2013, Benjamin turned the facial area of a campaign to adjust city governance to a sturdy-mayor design rather than a town manager and council. He thought a comprehensive-time mayor was what the city needed. But voters did not concur, as the referendum was voted down, 57 % to 43 p.c with 11,700 inhabitants voting. The town remains with a mayor that gets an equal vote with the relaxation of council on all substantive challenges.

Benjamin was faced with primary the city during the worst pure catastrophe in the city’s modern-day heritage, the 2015 flood. Sections of the metropolis were impassable as practically two feet of rain fell in some locations, forcing individuals to flee for their life from their households. He and the city’s unexpected emergency response effort, together with police, hearth, and EMS, largely were being praised for their efforts. But some of the scars of that time are living on, as the dam at the Columbia Canal has still to be completely changed.

in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2017, Benjamin known as for a ban on bump shares, which ended up made use of by the shooter to make his gun into essentially an computerized weapon. Columbia was the to start with city to do so. But gun legal rights advocates claimed he acted unconstitutionally to transform state gun legislation, and he was sued by South Carolina Lawyer Typical Alan Wilson. That go well with is nonetheless pending.

  • 2014, released Justice For All initiative to implement new training, competitive spend, numerous representation and local community engagement to fortify rely on and accountability in between communities and regulation enforcement companies.
  • 2015-2016, President of the African American Mayors
  • 2015, released the Let’s Transfer! Columbia marketing campaign
  • 2016, named Small & Minority Small business Advocate of the Calendar year by Columbia Chamber of Commerce
  • 2016, speaker at the Democratic National Convention
  • 2017, named Phoenix Award Winner for Exceptional Contributions to Disaster Recovery by a General public Official by the US Smaller Organization 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.