Former Atlanta mayor leaving D.C. post; S.C. leader will take her place
ATLANTA - Former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is leaving the White House to return to Atlanta to be with her family.
Monday, President Joe Biden announced that Steve Benjamin, former mayor of Columbia, S.C., will succeed Bottoms as the senior adviser and director of the Office of Public Engagement.
Bottoms announced last year that she would not run for a second term as mayor before accepting the role at the White House.
Biden expressed his gratitude to Bottoms for keeping equity at the heart of their agenda.
“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. I wish her the best as she returns home to Atlanta to be with her family,” said President Biden.
As her successor, Benjamin will oversee White House efforts “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 the White House. In a release, Biden called Benjamin a “longtime public servant” whose “deep relationships across the country” would well serve the administration.
Benjamin, 53, has long been considered a rising star in Democratic politics, serving three terms as Columbia’s mayor, and the first Black mayor in the city’s history. Serving as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and African Americans Mayors Association, Benjamin spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention and was among the candidates considered for Hillary Clinton’s running mate that year. He opted not to run for a fourth term in 2021.
The appointment comes at a time when Benjamin’s home state is becoming even more critical to Democrats as they face the 2024 presidential campaign. Earlier this year, the Democratic National Committee voted to hold their first nominating contest of the next cycle in South Carolina, supplanting Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada in an effort to more deeply represent the desires of Black voters.
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