Larry Baer, Kevin Johnson

San Francisco Giants president and CEO Larry Baer, left, talks with Sacramento Mayor and former NBA basketball player Kevin Johnson before an opening day baseball game between the Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks in San Francisco, Tuesday, April 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is the new leader of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a platform that will allow the former NBA All-Star to raise his national political profile.

Johnson was sworn-in Wednesday after the previous president, Scott Smith of Mesa, Ariz., resigned to run for governor of that state.

Johnson will lead the group’s advocacy on local government issues until June 2015. The Democrat says he will push for economic development policies that include partnerships with businesses and private groups.

He is credited for keeping the Kings NBA franchise in Sacramento in exchange for a new downtown arena subsidized partly by the city. First elected in 2008, he told The Sacramento Bee he is strongly considering running for a third term in 2016.

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