David N. Cicilline (born 1961), American Democratic politician, is the current Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island. He is the first openly gay mayor of a U.S. state capital, and is considered a likely candidate for Governor of Rhode Island in 2010.
Early life and career
Cicilline was born and raised in Providence, before moving to Narragansett. At high school, he served as president of his graduating class 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., remaining in Washington, D.C. for a while to work for the Public Defender Service.
His father, John F. "Jack" Cicilline, 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. David Cicilline worked as a lawyer before being elected to the Rhode Island House of Representatives in 1995, representing the 4th district on Providence's East Side. He served a total of four terms in the legislature, during which time he came out as a gay man.
Cicilline was elected in November 2002, following the downfall of controversial mayor Vincent 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.
Cicilline's administration has been focused on the residential neighborhoods of Providence as well as the "Renaissance" areas of downtown and Federal Hill that thrived under Cianci, and has continued the promotion of the city via the tax breaks given to artists and movie productions. As a former state legislator, he was able to deal with the animosity with state government that existed under Cianci.
Providence has experienced a significant drop in crime, attributed by some to community policing. As of 2007, Providence had its lowest crime rate in 30 years.
Critics charge that this drop in crime is only cosmetic, because the Providence police under Cicilline-appointed Chief Esserman are reporting felonies as misdemeanors, and arbitrarily determining charges in an effort to lower the city's true crime statistics.
Under Cicilline, management positions in city government have been cut by 14%. Collaborative negotiation with many of the city's unions have resulted in restructured contracts with benefits less costly for taxpayers. An exception is Providence Fire Fighters Local 799, with which Cicilline had promised to sign a contract within his first six months of office. The Firefighter's Union still works without a contract, to this day.
Another serious controversy lies in Mayor Cicilline's refusal to enforce Governor Carcieri's request in an official order to cities and towns' police departments to enforce Federal ICE regulations and report arrested illegal immigrants to ICE. Mayor Cicciline refuses to enforce this order, and has instructed the Providence police to not report illegal immigrants who are arrested for other crimes to ICE.
Mayor Cicilline is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a bi-partisan group with a stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets." The Coalition is co-chaired by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
He is 2008 President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors.
Mayor Cicilline is considering a run for Governor in 2010. He raised more money in the first quarter of 2007 than any other prospective candidate and has proposed a "working group" to study statewide issues. If elected, Cicilline would be the first governor in United States history to be elected while openly gay. Former Governor of New Jersey James McGreevey is now openly gay, but was married to a woman at the time of his election, and resigned as a result of the scandal which caused him to reveal his orientation.
- Dahir, Mubarak (December 24 2002). Leading Providence: David Cicilline becomes the first openly gay mayor of a U.S. state capital. The Advocate. Retrieved on 2007-06-29.
- Coalition Members. Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Retrieved on 2007-09-21.
- Bakst, M. Charles. "Brett Smiley joins Cicilline's political organization", Rhode Island News, Providence Journal, August 19, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-09-21. "Cicilline, who hails Smiley as a 'very talented and experienced fundraiser,' says, 'I am raising money now for an election in 2010, and obviously I'm looking at the governor's race....'"
- Official profile on City of Providence website
- Campaign website
- CityMayors profile
- Broder, David S. (June 8, 2006). A Reformer In Rhode Island. The Washington Post. Retrieved on 2007-06-29. “Something remarkable is happening here. A city long renowned for the rackets and graft is being cleaned up by a reform-minded mayor.”
- "New Day" Campaign ad, accessed December 1, 2006
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