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USC alumnus, former mayor Steve Benjamin tapped for White House role

Steve Benjamin stands on a street

Former Columbia mayor Steve Benjamin, a two-time alumnus of the University of South Carolina, has been named as a senior advisor to the White House and director of the Office of Public Engagement.

What it means: The Office of Public Engagement “works at the local, state, and national levels to ensure community leaders, diverse perspectives, and new voices have the opportunity to inform the work of the President in an inclusive, transparent and responsible way,” according to a White House press release.

From Columbia to national leadership: Benjamin served as mayor of Columbia from 2010 to 2021. He served as president of the African American Mayors Association in 2015-16 and president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2018-19.

Two-time USC alum: Benjamin earned his undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina in political science in 1991 and his law degree in 1994. While at South Carolina, he served as the university’s student body president and later as president of the Student Bar Association at the USC School of Law.

What they’re saying: “Steve’s deep relationships with communities across the country will serve our administration and the American public well,” President Joe Biden said in a White House statement.