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Mayor Steve Benjamin is no stranger to having difficult conversations on a public scale. He got his start in politics as a student activist seeking to bring the Confederate flag down from the South Carolina statehouse.

In his new role as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, he speaks with and for 1,500 mayors about common challenges -- opioid addiction, homelessness, immigration and trade. In his town, Columbia, he is focused on the “three I's” of city life -- infrastructure, innovation and inclusion.

On this episode of "In the Arena," a podcast about public leadership, Benjamin talks about the things that make cities work at this "definitive moment" in the country's history.

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