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Mayor Chris Coleman finally takes the helm at the National League of Cities

The St. Paul mayor’s term as president of the national group was ordained two years ago, when he was elected second vice-president and set in the path of succession.

Two years ago, just before heading on a trip to Israel, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman was elected second vice president of the National League of Cities at the group’s annual meeting in Phoenix.

That set him on a two-year path to succession as president of the group. Last year, he was first vice president.

And on Saturday, at the NLC annual meeting in Seattle, he got the top position.

In a statement from Seattle, Coleman said:

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“America’s cities are its foundation. And that’s because when our cities are strong, our country prospers. The National League of Cities plays a crucial role in moving cities forward. As a concentrated resource that cities can turn to for information, advocacy and help, I look forward to helping the NLC become an even better organization than it is today. The work of the NLC has made it the most relevant advocate in the country creating strong, vibrant cities. I look forward to furthering this legacy.”

St. Paul officials talk about how his presence as president of the organization will help spotlight the city, as he’ll be quoted on policy issues in national contexts.

The first real significance of the position, though, came two years ago. By agreeing to run for second vice president, Coleman tacitly signaled that he’d be running for a third term as mayor. If he wanted to be NLC president, he’d have to run, and win, in the 2013 election. Until then, there’d been some speculation that he might seek a new challenge after eight years in office.

Of course, he did run, and he did win handily two weeks ago, just in time for the Seattle “coronation.”