In a record turnout, Steve Benjamin was elected Mayor of Columbia in April of 2010. He has worked very actively in community initiatives with numerous public and private organizations dating back to his years at the University of South Carolina where he served as President of the NAACP’s USC Chapter, President of the Student Government and Student Bar Association President at the USC School of Law.
Mayor Benjamin has continued that service through the present, serving on numerous boards for nonprofit organizations such as the Columbia Urban League, Benedict College, the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce and as a Founding Board Member of the Eau Claire Promise Zone. He also served as a founding member of Choose Children First.
In 1999, at age 29 Benjamin was appointed to Governor Jim Hodges' Cabinet as director of the state's second largest law enforcement agency, the Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services.
In 2009, Benjamin drew national attention by representing prominent radio host Tom Joyner and securing a pardon for Joyner's great uncles wrongfully convicted in the death of a 73-year-old Confederate veteran and executed in 1913. In a landmark decision, the South Carolina Board of Paroles and Pardons voted unanimously to grant the posthumous pardon, the first for South Carolina in a capital case.
Having taken office in July 2010, Mayor Benjamin's first term has been characterized by his firm belief in Columbia's potential and the intense focus on economic development and job creation that has helped secure more than $1.1 billion in regional capital investment and create thousands new jobs in the midst of a national recession. Combined with the rebirth of Main Street, these accomplishments have drawn national attention and accolades including his being awarded an Aspen Rodel Fellowship, receiving an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from Francis Marion University, being named one of The Washington Post's "2011 The Root 100 List: The 100 most influential African Americans in 2011," and most recently, being elected in 2012 as US Conference of Mayors Trustee.
In addition to his work as Mayor, Benjamin practices law in Columbia.
He is married to the Honorable DeAndrea Gist Benjamin, a circuit court judge in South Carolina's Fifth Judicial Circuit. The two are the proud parents of two daughters Bethany (9) and Jordan Grace (7).