Chris Coleman won each of his three bids for mayor of St. Paul by decisive margins. On Thursday, he announced that he won't seek a fourth term. But it's clear from his record that voter confidence in him over the past 11 years was well placed.
In the Star Tribune Editorial Board's 2005 endorsement of Coleman, we said St. Paul needed a collaborative, inclusive leader who listened to all communities and could forge regional partnerships. Coleman has fulfilled those needs and more.
He's been a strong advocate for urban needs, speaking out at the state and national levels. He built relationships with business, community and neighborhood groups to improve the city's quality of life. And as a fiscal moderate, he helped steer the city through difficult financial times to strike a good balance between investing and being a careful steward of taxpayer dollars.
The list of city accomplishments during his tenure is impressive. They include work on the Green Line light-rail line, the St. Paul Saints' CHS Field, Rondo Library, the Promise Neighborhood initiative and plans for a new soccer stadium. The city has added cops, firefighters and paramedics and improved the arts, entertainment and restaurant scenes. It also has built an out-of-school network to give students more learning time and "going green" work chances with companies to save money and create jobs.
Coleman told an editorial writer that he's most proud of the general revitalization of his hometown, noting that St. Paul was experiencing tough times when he took office. Now the city is more vibrant and livable and is attracting more visitors, residents and employers. During his Thursday announcement, Coleman acknowledged that "no leader succeeds alone." He said he has been "blessed'' to have so many dedicated people and communities working with him.
It's no secret that Coleman may make a second bid for Minnesota governor. He says he will have an announcement on his future soon. Whatever he decides, we hope he'll continue to apply his considerable political and community-building skills to the benefit of all Minnesotans.