Stephen Benjamin, the former mayor of Columbia, S.C., will be the new senior adviser and director of the Office of Public Engagement, replacing Keisha Lance Bottoms, the White House announced on Monday.
Benjamin previously served as Columbia’s mayor from 2010 to 2021 and currently sits as the CEO and president of the Benjamin Firm, LLC. As mayor, he served as the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors from 2018 to 2019 and the president of the African American Mayors Association from 2015 to 2016.
“Mayor Benjamin is a longtime public servant, who has served the people of South Carolina for over two decades statewide and as a three-term mayor of Columbia,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “As a former President of both the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the African American Mayors Association, Steve’s deep relationships with communities across the country will serve our Administration and the American public well.”
The White House Office of Public Engagement works with state and local governments to increase dialogue between the Biden administration and American communities.
Biden said Bottoms will return to Atlanta, the city where she was mayor from 2018 to 2022, to be with her family.
“Under Keisha’s leadership, the Office of Public Engagement has kept equity at the heart of our agenda, and continues to serve as the connective tissue between our Administration and everyday Americans who may not have a voice to reach Washington otherwise,” Biden said in a statement. “I have leaned on Keisha as a close advisor with exceptional instincts, and I am grateful to her for serving our nation with honor and integrity.”