Steve Benjamin 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 Student Government and as 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 and reelected by a 30% margin in November 2013, Mayor Benjamin's administration has been characterized by his firm belief in Columbia's potential and intense focus on job creation. In his first term alone his leadership helped cut Metro Unemployment by more than 42% secured billions of dollars in new regional capital investment 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, twice being named to The Washington Post's "The Root 100 List� (2011 and 2013) as well as the 2014 GRIO 100 and being elected in 2012 as US Conference of Mayors Trustee. In addition to his work as Mayor, Benjamin practices law with Parker Poe law firm.
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