Benjamin Re-elected, Not Everyone is Happy

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Columbia, S.C.  (WOLO)  —  Fresh from a packed house of party-goers in the heart of downtown Tuesday night, re-elected Columbia mayor, Steve Benjamin, tells ABC Columbia his vision for a ‘One Columbia’ hasn’t changed.

“We want a safe community, a clean community, great jobs and great schools,” said Benjamin.

He looks forward to voters deciding whether to implement a strong mayor form of government, a style of leadership that gives a sitting mayor more executive authority to expedite certain issues if he deems fit.

“We believe in revitalizing our downtown, protecting our rivers, we can be an awesome city and we don’t have to wait 10, 20, 30 years to make that happen. We can do that right now.”

That vote is scheduled for December third.  Until then, citizens we spoke with say they are pleased with the outcome.

“I’m glad.  He’s done a good job.”

“I think it’s great.”

“I feel good about slow changes happening.”

However, not everyone is convinced the city is a ‘capital place to be’ or even a ‘One Columbia’ as Benjamin envisions, if he’s at the helm for a second term. Perhaps one of the most outspoken against Benjamin is Vicki Strange, mother of Carter Strange, the then-Columbia teenager beaten nearly to death in Five Points two years ago.

“I don’t care for him,” said Strange.  “He never called to check on Carter, never got involved until the election thing started, and then he texted Carter. If you’re gonna offer to help then not give it, don’t say anything to me, ’cause I will hold you to your word. He has proven to me his word don’t mean anything.”

Nevertheless, voters have spoken. Their word is Benjamin for another term. Former opponent and fellow council member, Moe Baddourah, pledges to work with the mayor. Benjamin hopes others follow. 

Categories: Local News, News