WASHINGTON —National League of Cities members on Saturday elected St. Paul, Minn. Mayor Chris Coleman as their president for 2014 at a business meeting on Saturday.

The vote came at the end of the NLC’s Congress of Cities and Exposition in Seattle.

The group elected Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker as its first vice president and Joplin, Mo. Mayor Melodee Colbert Kean as its second vice president, each of whom will each serve one-year terms. It also elected 20 of 40 new board members, who will each have two-year terms.

Coleman, NLC first vice president this year, a board member since 2010, and chair of the group’s Council on Youth, Education and Families in 2008, will replace Avondale, Ariz. Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers.

“The National League of Cities plays a crucial role in moving cities forward,” Coleman said. “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.”

Coleman took office as St. Paul’s mayor in 2005 after serving several years as a city council member, and community and neighborhood leader. He was re-elected to a second term in 2009 and to third term this month.

He has been a major supporter of the Central Corridor Light Rail line, the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken in Minnesota. The project, due to completed next year, is expected to cost up to $957 million, with $474 million of that from the U.S. Department of Transportation.  The 11-mile project will include 18 stations, 31 new rail cars and a new vehicle maintenance facility in St. Paul. The train will provide improved access to the University of Minnesota, the State Capitol complex, and major event venues including Target Field and the Metrodome.

Soon after taking office as Mayor of St. Paul in 2005, Coleman signed a city ordinance banning tobacco smoking in all bars and restaurants within city limits. He is also a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

Becker, elected in 2008 and currently serving his second term as Mayor of Salt Lake City, is a former member of the Utah House of Representatives. He has been supportive of the development of the two-mile Sugar House Streetcar project by the city, South Salt Lake and the Utah Transit Authority. The project will link to the city’s light rail system. It is currently projected to cost $55.5 million, including a $26 million grant from the USDOT, and to be completed in December.

Kean is president of Prayerful Portions, LLC, a small business consulting firm she runs with her husband to assist small businesses, and is a licensed realtor with Charles Burt Realtors. She has been an elected official office since April 2006. She won the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. State Celebration Commission Leadership Award this year.

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