2017-11-10 / Front Page

Benjamin prepares for third term

By Josh Cruse

Mayor Steve Benjamin Mayor Steve Benjamin Steve Benjamin will serve as mayor of Columbia for a third term. He ran unopposed in the November 7 election.

“I’m excited about a third term,” Benjamin said. “We ran seven years ago with a vision of building Columbia into the most talented, educated, entrepreneurial city in America. We’ve been able to work together with people from the city and across the region expanding those relationships across the country and across the world, into driving unprecedented growth in our city, and we’re going to stay on that path and stretch even farther and work even harder.”

In the previous two terms, Benjamin has increased the police department budget, overseen the purchase of Bull Street Commons and the subsequent construction of Spirit Communications Park, increased $1.5 billion in private sector capital in the urban core, and brought more than 6,000 people to downtown Columbia.

“This city is finally realizing its promise, and we’ll continue making the proper investments and continue to manage the city budget properly and continue making investments we should make,” Benjamin said. “We have all the important parts; our job now is to continue to pull them all together.”

Over the next four years, Benjamin wants to continue to connect the residents to different parts of Columbia through various modes of transportation.

One step in that direction is the recent announcement of a bike share, an innovative transportation program, ideal for short distance point-to-point trips providing users the ability to pick up a bicycle at any self-serve bike-station and return it to any other bike station located within the system’s service area. Along with the share, the Urban Core announced the intention of connecting 12 miles of bike trails.

The city also faces challenges with infrastructure and affordable housing. Benjamin plans on facing those challenges, but will do so with the same colleagues he has been working with for the past year.

“It’s important that both the incumbents won big,” Benjamin said. “I believe that’s an indicator the voters trust this council. The greatest thing about the council we currently have is that we disagree a lot.

“ You must have a good strong positive tension on the council to have diverse opinions to chose a common path and move forward together. People want to know you are making the very best decisions with the very best information. I take the reelection as an indicator that we have the people’s confidence.”

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