theGrio’s 100: Steve Benjamin, leading the Southern city of Columbia

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Who is Steve Benjamin?

Benjamin is the mayor of Columbia, South Carolina. When he first won in 2010, by a mere 1,000 votes, he became the city’s first-ever black mayor. He was re-elected last year.

Why is he on theGrio’s 100?

“We’re going to focus on creating jobs, creating economic opportunities for the people of Columbia. We’re going to focus on fighting crime, and we’re going to focus intently: I want to stress this, we’re going to focus intently on creating opportunities for our young people to live up to their God-given potential,” Benjamin said on election night in November 2013.

And he has continued to show leadership both inside his city and outside. He is on the board of trustees of the U. S. Conference of Mayors, one of 13 city leaders trying to trade ideas and help the mayors organize behind common causes. In Columbia, Benjamin is intensely focused on getting more private companies to invest in the city and create jobs there.

What’s next for Benjamin?

Having just won another term, Benjamin is unlikely to run for another office soon, instead looking to further develop his profile both locally and nationally.