DAVID CICILLINE is an American politician born on this date, serving as the U.S. Representative for Rhode Island’s 1st congressional district since 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the 36th mayor of Providence from 2003 to 2011, the first openly gay mayor of a U.S. state capital.
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 attending Brown University, where he established a branch of the College Democrats with his classmate John F. Kennedy Jr.. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in political science 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.
In 1992, he ran for the Rhode Island Senate 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.
On February 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%).
Cicilline ran unopposed in the 2020 Democratic primary election. In the general election, he received 70.8% of the vote, defeating the two independent candidates, Frederick Wysocki and Jeffery Edward Lemire, who earned 15.8% and 12.6%, respectively.
Upon being sworn in, Cicilline became the fourth openly gay member of Congress. Cicilline has voted with his party 96% of the time. He has been called a “populist-leaning liberal”. Since 2016, he has served as a co-chair of the Policy and Communications Committee. He has been described as a “rising star” in the Democratic Party. The Democratic Caucus elected Cicilline 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.
Cicilline voted for both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. On January 12, 2021, Cicilline was named an impeachment manager for Trump’s second impeachment.
Cicilline 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. In November 2011, he 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 argued 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.
Cicilline is pro-choice, and advocates that abortions always be legally available, and that government funding 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 funding to cover any costs under health care plans that paid for abortions, and would allow federally funded hospitals to refuse to perform 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 called it “outrageous”.
In February 2011, Cicilline voted against prohibiting the disbursement of federal funds to Planned Parenthood, and, in May 2011, against prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortions. He co-sponsored the Violence Against Women Health Initiative Act of 2011, which sought to “improve the health care system’s assessment and response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and for other purposes.”