Incoming Columbia Mayor Steven Benjamin is in Oklahoma City participating in a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Benjamin will take office July 1st, replacing Mayor Bob Coble.
Benjamin was in an automobile accident on April 21st the morning after his election, an accident that left a woman hospitalized. He received a citation in connection with the incident for not turning on his headlights.
Benjamin says his focus now is on the transition process. He says eight transition teams are already meeting.
Benjamin says the most important issue being discussed at the conference is job creation. He says he’s studying several important models being used around the country. He also says he has been studying recreational programs used to divert youth from crime.
Benjamin says homelessness is a major issue for Columbia and many other cities. He says the city needs a comprehensive approach to the issue.
If we’re ever going to be a great city, we’ve got to take on the challenge of homelessness. It has been probably our most vexing problem over the last few decades and I’m committed to dealing with it head on.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors 78th annual meeting began Friday and wraps up Tuesday.