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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 20 January 2011

SEATTLE (AP) -- James Kelly is stepping down after 11 years as president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle.

The 56-year-old said Tuesday he needs to "step back, reflect and retool or my entire life will have been spent in the service of others at the detriment of my own life."

The Seattle Times reports Kelly was instrumental in establishing the Northwest African American Museum, creating jobs for minority contractors and improving relations with police.

"I love this work of the League – and I love being a player at the table of every major jobs, education, public safety, transportation and public policy issue to face the area. But after 11 years, it's time to move on, move out and move into other areas that I haven't ever had time, energy, or the chance to do," he

said in a release Tuesday.

According to the Urban League, Kelly is credited with getting the former Colman School site converted into the highly-acclaimed African American Museum, growing the League's housing, jobs and education programs into one of the most productive in the nation, and being a key political advisor to state, local and regional leaders. His initiatives into youth violence are perceived as critical in the dramatic decline in gang-related youth deaths in the area. A leading advocate of the Streetcar expansion, Kelly took the Urban League into transportation issues as "alternative access to transportation is critical to jobs and a decent education."

"He was a wonderful President and CEO and an effective advocate for the League and our community," said Paul Chiles, chairman of the Urban League Board. "I think it's natural for him to want to step back and retool. His departure will raise challenges and opportunities for the Urban League, but with the foundation laid by our departing President and CEO, we're ready to move forward. During this transitional period, James will continue to play a vital role in the League and our community."

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