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Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline Announces Plans to Resign

The Democrat will leave the House in June to run the Rhode Island Foundation

Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island announced he will resign before the end of his current term.

Cicilline, a Democrat, was first elected in 2010 from his state’s First Congressional District and is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.

The 62-year-old announced on Feb. 21 that he will leave Congress in June to serve as the president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation, which was founded in 1916 and is the state’s largest funder of nonprofits. The community foundation provided grants and funding for community programs and “advances strategic priorities to address issues of equity and improve economic, educational, and health outcomes for all Rhode Islanders.”

“For more than a decade, the people of Rhode Island entrusted me with a sacred duty to represent them in Congress, and it is a responsibility I put my heart and soul into every day to make life better for the residents and families of our state,” said Cicilline in a statement. “The chance to lead the Rhode Island Foundation was unexpected, but it is an extraordinary opportunity to have an even more direct and meaningful impact on the lives of residents of our state.”

“The same energy and commitment I brought to elected office, I will now bring as CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation, advancing their mission to ensure all Rhode Islanders can achieve economic security, access quality, affordable healthcare, and attain the education and training that will set them on a path to prosperity,” he added.

The nonprofit’s current CEO, Neil Steinberg, announced in 2022 that he intended to retire. The Rhode Island Foundation paid Steinberg more than $1 million in 2018, per WPRI. Cicilline’s salary is expected to start at $650,000. As a member of the House of Representatives, Cicilline earns $174,000 annually. 

Dr. G. Alan Kurose, chair of the Foundation’s board of directors, said Cicilline’s “skills and values fit perfectly” with those of the organization. 

“It was a high priority for us, from the beginning of this search process, to attract a diverse pool of candidates,” said Kurose in a statement on the Foundation’s website. “Congressman Cicilline’s career-long fight for equity and equality at the local, national, and international level, and his deep relationships within Rhode Island’s communities of color are two of the many factors that led us to this decision.”

Cicilline’s announcement means both of Rhode Island’s long-time Democratic representatives will depart Congress after decades of service. Former Congressman Jim Langevin of the state’s second congressional district announced in January of 2022 that he would not seek re-election after more than two decades in Congress. 

“I have not come to this decision lightly, but it is time for me to chart a new course, which will allow me to stay closer to home and spend more time with my family and friends,” Langevin wrote in an op-ed for The Providence Journal. “And while I don’t know what’s next for me just yet, whatever I do will always be in service of Rhode Island.”

Langevin was the first quadriplegic to serve in Congress. His decision to leave office led to the first open congressional race in the state since 2010.

While in Congress, Cicilline served as the impeachment manager during President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial and was a co-chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus. He is an advocate for gun control and anti-trust policies.

He reportedly considered running for Rhode Island governor, but opted to stay in Congress,” reports The New Republic. “Now, running the Rhode Island Foundation will give him the power to influence and actually implement major policy decisions in his state, ranging from affordable health care to ending homelessness.”

Cicilline served as the mayor of Providence and in the Rhode Island House of Representatives for four terms prior to running for U.S. Congress. He will officially leave his office on June 1.

Rhode Island will hold a special election to fill the vacancy.

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