Columbia Major Steve Benjamin announces re-election bid - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Columbia Major Steve Benjamin announces re-election bid

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Steve Benjamin announces his intention to seek re-election in front of Columbia's Mast General Store on Main Street. Steve Benjamin announces his intention to seek re-election in front of Columbia's Mast General Store on Main Street.
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin on Monday announced that he will seek re-election in the upcoming November 5 municipal election.

He joins city councilman Moe Baddourah and businessman Larry Sypolt who have already declared their intentions to seek the job.

"Today, I am announcing that I will be a candidate for re-election and today we are launching our 2013 campaign," Benjamin told reporters, supporters and onlookers during a morning news conference at the corner of Main and Taylor Streets.

Benjamin promised a campaign free of negativity. "As we kick off this campaign, I make this pledge, I will not engage in any political negativity that has become common," he said. "I will focus on what our community has accomplished and the positive things we can do in the months and years ahead."

"Since I became mayor three years ago, we have made a great deal of progress," said Benjamin. "We've increased transparency, improved efficiency and cut waste. We've generated a budget surplus for three straight years, improved our credit rating, and saved taxpayers millions of dollars by restructuring government."

The mayor says there is still work to do and he wants to continue to lead the charge.

"We've created thousands of jobs, secured billions of dollars in capital investments and cut unemployment by over two-and-a-half percent," he continued. "We've led an economic and cultural renaissance here on Main Street and throughout our city. We continue to build lasting regional partnerships toward a vibrant, dynamic 21st century Columbia."

"But most importantly, we've invested a tremendous amount in improving public safety," Benjamin said. "As a result, crime is down across the city in nearly every category and our first responders have the resources they need to keep our city safe."

Benjamin took office in July 2010 after a hotly contested election to replace long-serving Mayor Bob Coble.

He plans to hold an official campaign kick-off event open to the public on Monday, May 20 at 5:30 p.m. at Tapps Art Center on Main Street.

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