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|Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee|
January 3, 2019
|Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee|
January 3, 2017 - January 3, 2019
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Rhode Island's 1st district
January 3, 2011
|36th Mayor of Providence|
January 6, 2003 - January 3, 2011
|Member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives|
from the 4th district
January 1995 - January 2003
David Nicola Cicilline
July 15, 1961
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
|Education||Brown University (AB)|
Georgetown University (JD)
David Nicola Cicilline (; born July 15, 1961) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Rhode Island's 1st congressional district since 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as the 36th Mayor of Providence from 2003 to 2011, becoming the first openly gay mayor of a U.S. state capital.
Cicilline was born July 15, 1961, in Providence, Rhode Island. His mother, Sabra (née Peskin), is Jewish, and his father, John Francis "Jack" Cicilline, is Italian American and Catholic. His father is a prominent attorney in Providence who defended local Mafia figures in the 1970s and 1980s and was an aide to Mayor Joseph A. Doorley Jr.
He was raised in Providence before moving to Narragansett. In high school, he served as president of his graduating class and participated in the Close Up Washington civic education program before heading to Brown University, where he established a branch of the College Democrats with his classmate, John F. Kennedy Jr.. He took a degree in political science, graduating magna cum laude in 1983. He then went to Georgetown University Law Center where he earned a J.D.
He remained in Washington, D.C., for a while to work as a lawyer at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.
He ran for the Rhode Island Senate in 1992 against incumbent senator Rhoda Perry but lost the Democratic primary. Two years later, he was elected to the Rhode Island House of Representatives, representing the 4th district on Providence's East Side.
He won the Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. Linda J. Kushner with 56% of the vote and was unopposed in the general election.
In 1996, Cicilline ran unopposed in the Democratic primary for Rhode Island House of Representatives District 4. He defeated his Republican opponent, Michael L. Schein, in the general election with 2,851 votes to Schein's 1,642.
Cicilline defeated Joseph R. Paolino, Jr, Keven A. McKenna, and David V. Igliozzi in the Democratic primary.
Cicilline was elected in a landslide in November 2002 with 84% of the vote, following the downfall of controversial mayor Buddy Cianci and the aftermath of Operation Plunder Dome. He succeeded acting mayor John J. Lombardi, who served out Cianci's term and decided not to run in the following election.
A Brown University survey in September 2007 found that 64 percent of state residents approved of the job Cicilline was doing in Providence. By February 2008, that number had dropped to 51 percent. In September 2008, his popularity fell to 46 percent. By May 2012, his approval rating had further fallen to 28%.
Cicilline was 2008 President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors. As mayor, he was a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a bipartisan group with the stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets." The Coalition was co-chaired by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Cicilline's administration focused on the residential neighborhoods of Providence, as well as the "Renaissance" areas of downtown and Federal Hill that thrived under Cianci, and continued the promotion of the city via the tax breaks given to artists and movie productions. A former state legislator, he overcame the animosity between state and city government that had existed under Cianci.
In May 2009, Cicilline gained national headlines after proposing a $150 per semester Head Tax on each of the 25,000 college students attending four universities in the city. The tax was an effort to close $6 to $8 million of a reported $17 million city budget shortfall. The Associated Press reported that if enacted, it would become the first-in-the-nation tax on students simply for being enrolled and attending college within the city limits.
Cicilline has expressed concern about the Providence metropolitan area's carbon footprint. As mayor, he sought to implement a streetcar/light rail-type system for the city. He also focused efforts to fight poverty. He won passage of a vacant-and-abandoned property penalty, to provide an economic disincentive for banks to keep properties off the housing market for extended periods of time. He also proposed municipal bonds for the purpose of buying foreclosed properties to expand housing.
Cicilline is a strong proponent of after-school activities as a means of improving opportunities for children. As mayor, Cicilline served as Chair of the Standing Committee for Children, Health and Human Services of the United States Conference of Mayors. He has also been recognized for his efforts to establish youth programming and to strengthen ties among schools, businesses and local government, in order to expand access to after-school programming. Under Cicilline, city officials worked with Rhode Island's Education Partnership to form PASA, the Providence After School Alliance. Cicilline also serves on the board of the national nonprofit Afterschool Alliance, an organization that works to promote and to support after-school activities for all children.
Between 1980 and 2009, most prostitution was legal in Rhode Island. As mayor, Cicilline was a strong advocate for outlawing it. Cicilline personally testified in Superior Court to stop the opening of "spas" in Providence, and discussed his position in the 2009 documentary Happy Endings?. He lobbied for a prostitution law not only to arrest sex workers and their customers, but also to fine landlords that permitted prostitution on their premises. On September 2, 2009, Cicilline submitted an ordinance to the City Council to ban indoor prostitution in the city, imposing a $500 fine and a potential 30-day prison sentence on violators. On November 3, 2009, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri signed into law a bill making the buying and selling of sexual services a crime.
During the 2008 Democratic primaries, Cicilline supported Hillary Clinton. In August 2008, he attended the Democratic National Convention in Denver. While there, he told an interviewer that he now supported Barack Obama, saying "[t]here is a real sense of hope and optimism about what we're about to do and about a chance in leadership in this country".
On June 8, 2008, Marco Riz, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala who had been arrested twice the previous year while under a deportation order, was charged with the robbery and rape of a 30-year-old woman. A federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent criticized the Providence Police Department for not checking Riz's immigration status at the time of his previous arrest. The governor of Rhode Island, Donald Carcieri, blamed Cicilline for the department's failure. Previously, Carcieri had signed an executive order requiring all state officials to work with ICE on arrests or hirings of undocumented immigrants. When Carcieri asked the same of local agents, Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman refused. Cicilline responded that it has been the policy of the Police Department to work with ICE and its database on all arrests, that the policy had been followed when Riz was arrested, and that the ICE had failed to act.
On July 8, 2008, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri claimed that Cicilline was not upholding his oath of office by failing to report undocumented immigrants, suggesting the U.S. Attorney investigate the mayor. Mayor Cicilline responded by accusing Carcieri of "playing politics", eight days later writing an op-ed in The Providence Journal stating that the city always has and will continue to report all arrests to immigration authorities, and that the focus is therefore inappropriate.
Beginning in 2003, Cicilline was engaged in a dispute with the Providence Firefighters labor union, Local 799. In a July 2002 email Cicilline sent to the members of Local 799, he indicated that he hoped to resolve their pending contract dispute with the city within 30 days of taking office. In August, Cicilline said in an interview that it was impossible for him to promise to bring the contract negotiations to a successful conclusion owing to the unpredictability of his negotiating partners. The city and the union had been in arbitration in every contract year since 2002, with Cicilline appealing one arbitration decision to the Rhode Island Supreme Court. The appeal was rejected.
In 2004, Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards canceled a fundraising appearance in Providence in support of the Local 799. In 2007, Hillary Clinton asked Cicilline, a Clinton supporter, not to attend a Clinton rally because of threats by the union to picket the appearance.
Both the Rhode Island AFL-CIO and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) censured Cicilline for his conduct in this matter. In 2009, due to the union picketline, the Obama administration canceled Joe Biden's appearance at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Providence in the interests of remaining neutral in the conflict.
In June 2008, John M. Cicilline, brother of Mayor Cicilline, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements for his role in the courthouse corruption scheme. Federal prosecutors indicted John M. Cicilline, disbarred attorney Joseph Bevilacqua Jr., and two assistants in January 2007. According to court documents, the two attorneys spun a complicated scheme to win leniency in a drug trafficking case.
Before reporting to prison, John M. Cicilline gave the city of Providence a $75,000 check for taxes owed by a client, but asked that the check not be cashed and only held as collateral. Two of the mayor's top aides told the city tax collector Robert Ceprano, not to cash the check because it would bounce. In four instances, Ceprano said mayoral aides pressured him to perform tax favors for the mayor's friends and/or campaign contributors. The mayor claimed the taxpayers had been given relief because the city had made errors on their taxes, not because they were his friends or contributors. During the controversy, Ceprano was fired.
On May 10, 2009, Robert Ceprano filed a lawsuit against the City of Providence alleging conspiracy, corruption, libel and wrongful termination. The suit accuses John M. Cicilline, the mayor's imprisoned brother, of attempting to defraud the City of Providence by writing a bad check for $75,000 on behalf of a delinquent taxpayer. Furthermore, it alleges, the mayor and his aides "willfully conspired...to conceal John M. Cicilline's illegal activities". Ceprano also charges that he was fired not for poor job performance, but because he resisted the mayor's efforts to perform tax favors for political friends and supporters. Lawyers for Ceprano are asking for $10 million. The single count complaint against John M. Cicilline was dismissed by Judge Kristin Rodgers on November 17, 2009.
Shortly after assuming office, Cicilline's successor as the Mayor of the City of Providence, Angel Taveras, announced that the City was facing a "category 5" hurricane due to its substantial debt. Tavares made budget cuts including teacher layoffs and paycuts for city employees. The total structural debt inherited by Tavares in 2011 was $180 million.
A report commissioned by the City of Providence found that the Cicilline administration had transferred funds from the Undesignated Surplus (the city's cash reserves) without the proper approval of the City Council, had not provided financial information on a timely basis to the independent auditor, the City Council or the Internal Auditor, and had not provided the City Council with monthly financial statements or with projections of year-end surpluses or deficits, among other findings. Providence City Council Finance Chairman John Igliozzi accused him of "hiding the scope of the city's fiscal woes through 'illusory revenues, borrowing and other tricks.'"
Fitch Ratings also downgraded Providence's ratings, citing "imprudent budgeting decisions and failure to implement recurring budget solutions". Cicilline, who portrayed himself as a reformer looking to restore transparency to city hall, was criticized by his opponents from the primary and House elections: Democrat Anthony Gemma said that he felt Cicilline had lied his way to federal office and Republican John Loughlin said "You just don't lie to people in such a transparent way."
A year later, it was reported that Providence could be on the brink of bankruptcy. Former Mayor Buddy Cianci put much blame on Cicilline for Providence's problems, saying that although he didn't think it was entirely his fault, he did hide it from the public. Experts have said that the only way out for Providence may be to declare bankruptcy.
On February 13, 2010, Cicilline announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives following the retirement of Patrick J. Kennedy. He won the Democratic primary in September with 37% of the vote: defeating businessman Anthony Gemma (23%), State Representative David Segal (20%), and state party chairman Bill Lynch (20%).
A February 2012 survey showed Cicilline's approval rating had dropped almost 10% in 3 months, with the percent rating his performance "excellent or good" dropping by 24%. Anthony Gemma, Cicilline's primary opponent, said that the poll clearly showed that "a majority of Rhode Islanders wanted to see Cicilline go."
In 2011, it was reported that although Rhode Island had experienced a population shift of only 7,200, a new congressional map would put 125,000 Rhode Islanders into new districts, which would help Democrats, and notably Cicilline. Fellow House Democrat Jim Langevin accused Cicilline of trying to use the redistricting to aid with his reelection campaign. Possible Republican contenders suggested that it was an attempt to save Cicilline after his approval numbers had dropped. Cicilline commented, saying that he did not attempt to influence the redistricting.
In 2014 Cicilline defeated his Democratic Primary opponent, Matthew Fecteau, by receiving 62.98% of the votes cast. In the General Election, he won re-election to a third term in office. He defeated his Republican challenger, Cormick Lynch, with 59% of the vote.
Cicilline won re-election to a fourth term in office in the 2016 election. He defeated Republican H. Russell Taub, with 64% of the vote.
Cicilline ran in the primary election against Christopher Young. During the campaign, both Young and Cicilline's Republican opponent, Patrick Donovan, criticized Cicilline's behavior at the hearing of Peter Strzok. Young said that Cicilline was, "screaming like a lunatic." Donovan commented that "What Mr. Cicilline did in the hearing was childish. To be yelling like that is not part of what he's supposed to be doing representing our interests down in Washington." Cicilline defeated Young in the primary election with 78% of the vote.
In September, Cicilline stated that if the Democrats become the majority party in the House, that he would run for the position of assistant Democratic leader. The Newtown Action Alliance endorsed Cicilline in the 2018 election for his work on the Assault Weapons Ban he introduced to the House.
Cicilline won the general election, defeating Republican Patrick Donovan with 66.6% of the total vote. 
Upon being sworn in, Cicilline became the fourth openly gay member of Congress.
Since 2016 he has served as one of the co-chairs of the Policy and Communications Committee. He has been described as a "rising star" in the Democratic Party. Cicilline was elected by the Democratic Caucus to serve as Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee after he dropped out of the race to become assistant Democratic leader.  As Chair of the DPCC Cicilline will be in charge of the caucus' messaging strategy. 
In 2017 Cicilline joined the new Antitrust Caucus and co-sponsored the Merger Retrospective Act, which would require the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to do yearly studies on the effects of corporate mergers on the economy. At the time of Cicilline's joining of the Antitrust Caucus he was the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law.
Cicilline has come out publicly in favor of net neutrality, saying that "he will do whatever it takes" to stop the Federal Communications Commission's proposed plans to end regulation of internet service providers under Title II.
On March 7 of 2018, Cicilline introduced the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act to the House. The aim of the bill is to temporarily allow news publishers to band together to negotiate with large online platforms such as Facebook and Google. In a fact sheet published by Cicilline's office he claims that a "free and diverse press, particularly local press, is the backbone for a healthy and vibrant democracy." One of the goals of the bill is to restore trust in online media.
In the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which Facebook reportedly gave access to the data of 50 million accounts to Cambridge Analytica; Cicilline sent a letter to the Chairman of the Judicial Committee asking that he invite Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg to testify before the committee. Cicilline said in a statement that "This incident is only Facebook's latest abuse of public trust and attempt to obscure its role in the rise of information warfare and propaganda online."
Cicilline joined Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) in sending a letter to Sundar Pichai following up on a complaint from 20 advocacy groups regarding Google's compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. The letter asked the company to reveal the details of how it collects the data of children. 
Cicilline join the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and 'Fake News' for their November 2019 meeting in Dublin. The committee was made up parliamentarians from 10 different countries and sought to enhance global collaboration on the regulation of harmful content, hate speech, and electoral interference.
In July 2020, Cicilline chaired a meeting of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law in which Mark Zuckerberg CEO of Facebook, Tim Cook CEO of Apple Inc., Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon, and Sundar Pichai CEO of Alphabet Inc. testified regarding their platforms. Cicilline and the other members of committee from both parties grilled the four and accused them of anti-competitive practices with Cicilline saying there were competition problems for the various platforms When questioning Pichai, Cicilline claimed that Google's business model was a problem and showed emails from over a decade ago that showed the company engaged in "a pattern of anti competitive behavior." He also argued that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the urgent need for regulation of these companies and compared them to past monopolies such as the railroads and oil tycoons, AT&T, and Microsoft.
An avid supporter of non-violence, Cicilline has taken a stance against the U.S. military presence in Libya, voting to limit the use of funds supporting NATO operations in Libya and to remove armed forces from Libya. In 2013, he went on record saying that he was "skeptical" of the Obama Administrations attempts to get congressional approval for US military action in Syria.
In March 2018, Cicilline was among a handful of US legislators to receive the Presidential Medals of Gratitude from President Bako Sahakyan of the Republic of Artsakh. According to Public Radio of Armenia, "The Medal of Gratitude is awarded to individuals, organizations, and collectives for significant contribution in restoring and developing the economy, science, culture, social spheres of the NKR as well as for defending and promoting international recognition of the Republic." Cicilline was a part of the bi-partisan group of 37 US Representatives to call for a $70 million aid package to Armenia and Artsakh.
On March 23, 2018, Cicilline released a statement voicing his opposition of President Donald Trump's appointment of John Bolton to the position of National Security Advisor. Cicilline cited Bolton's advocacy for preemptive attacks on Iran and North Korea as well as his support for the Iraq War when he worked as Ambassador to the United Nations in the George W. Bush administration.
In April 2018, Cicilline warned President Trump against meeting with Kim Jong-un saying, "There was a reason that prior presidents had rejected the idea of meeting with a North Korean dictator, his father and grandfather before him, because it elevates his standing in the international community right away by having the meeting. The notion that it is historic, it is historic, but it may not be historic in a good way."
In May 2018, he introduced a bipartisan bill to block the sale of F-35s to NATO ally Turkey. Cicilline cited concerns over Turkey's increasing aggression against US-backed forces in Iraq and Syria, as well as the Turkey's increasingly friendly relationship with Russia.
Cicilline authored an opinion piece with Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger about the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia. Both Congressmen commended the UN's work in the African nation and cited the mission as one of the UN's major peacekeeping successes.
Cicilline accused Turkey of inciting the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. On October 1, 2020, he co-signed a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that condemned Azerbaijan's offensive operations against the Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, denounced Turkey's role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and called for an immediate ceasefire.
On a domestic level, he is a strong gun control advocate and was a founding member of the bipartisan coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns. In 2010, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence endorsed Cicilline; in 2000, the National Rifle Association awarded him an F- lifetime score. Cicilline has also indicated his support for a ban on the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons, for more stringent state restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms, and for a requirement that manufacturers equip firearms with child-safety locks. On November 16, 2011, Cicilline made a public statement against the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act which would "require all states to allow out-of-state visitors to carry concealed firearms as long as the laws of the visitors' home states allow them to do so." He insisted that the Second Amendment had nothing to do with this bill, which, he said, would infringe upon the right of state governments to protect the safety of their citizens, and would force communities to accept concealed-carry standards set by other states.
In October 2017, following the Las Vegas shooting, Cicilline introduced a bill to ban bump stocks. Following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Cicilline introduced the Assault Weapons Ban Act of 2018. The bill would ban 205 specific fireams, such as the AR-15 and the AK-47, outright. Cicilline also was among the members of Congress that supported the National School Walkout and met with protesters at the US Capitol building.
In May 2017, Cicilline opposed the Davis-Oliver Act which was introduced by Idaho Republican Raúl Labrador. The bill would have added 12,500 armed federal immigration officers, penalized Sanctuary cities, and step up dententions and deportation activities. Cicilline called the bill "President Trump's mass deportation act" and that the bill would make "our communities less safe."
On March 6, 2018, Cicilline introduced the Advancing Mutual Interests and Growing our Success Act or AMIGOS Act which would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to include Portugal as a country whose citizens would be eligible for entry into the United States as E-1 or E-2 nonimmigrants provided that Portugal provides similar benefits to nationals of the United States.
In 2015, Cicilline introduced the Equality Act, a bill that would expand the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In September 2017, he reintroduced the Equality Act. In 2019, Cicilline reintroduced the Equality Act again, the first time it was introduced in a Democratic-controlled House. The bill passed the House on May 17, 2019.
In September 2016, Cicilline asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana what her agency was doing to "enhance" guideline for LGBT individuals in ICE custody. Saldana answered that ICE officers talked with LGBT+ undocumented immigrants to properly accommodate them while they are in American detention facilities.
In July 2018, Cicilline was a co-sponsor of The Gay and Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act. This act would prohibit defense lawyers from using a victim's LGBTQ identity as justification for a crime or to argue for lesser sentences on the premise that there were extenuating circumstances that motivated their clients to lash out violently. Also in that year, Cicilline was one of over 100 Democratic members of Congress to oppose the State Department's decision to deny or revoke diplomatic visas to unmarried same-sex partners of foreign diplomats. 
Cicilline is pro-choice, and advocates that abortions should always be legally available and that government funding should be provided to clinics and medical facilities that provide abortion services. He opposed the Protect Life Act of October 2011, which would ban the use of federal funds to cover any costs under health care plans that pay for abortions and would allow federally funded hospitals to refuse to perform the abortions (even in cases in which the mother's life is in danger). Stating that the bill would put women's lives at risk and would limit "how women can spend their own private dollars to purchase health insurance," Cicilline declared it "outrageous."
He also voted in February 2011 against prohibiting the disbursement of federal funds to Planned Parenthood and, in May 2011, against prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion. Cicilline has also cosponsored the Violence Against Women Health Initiative Act of 2011 to "improve the health care system's assessment and response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and for other purposes."
Cicilline has declared his support for veterans' "access to a range of resources in health care, housing, employment, mental health services, and education." He has cosponsored the Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act to aid veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, the Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act to permit disabled veterans to receive both retirement pay and disability compensation, and the Veteran Employment Transition Act of 2011 to extend work opportunities to recently discharged veterans.
On November 18, 2011, Cicilline said the following about the Vow Hire Heroes Act, which increases job opportunities for veterans: "This vote ensures that Rhode Island veterans and all of our nation's veterans will receive some of the tools and resources they need to successfully reenter the workforce and provide for their families and loved ones."
His father, Jack ... is an attorney well known for defending local organized-crime figures.Cite journal requires
| Mayor of Providence
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Rhode Island's 1st congressional district
|Party political offices|
| Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee
Served alongside: Cheri Bustos, Hakeem Jeffries (2017-2019)
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority