David Cicilline, a six-term Democratic congressman representing Rhode Island’s 1st congressional district, announced his resignation from Congress to become the CEO of a nonprofit organization, effective immediately. In a press conference held in his home state of Rhode Island, Cicilline said that he accepted the position of CEO of Rhode Island Foundation.
“Serving the people of Rhode Island’s First Congressional District has been the honor of my lifetime. As President and CEO of one of the largest and oldest community foundations in the nation, I look forward to expanding on the work I have led for nearly thirty years in helping to improve the lives of all Rhode Islanders.” Cicilline said 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.”
Cicilline, who was first elected to Congress in 2010, has been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ rights throughout his tenure. He is a co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and was instrumental in the passage of the Equality Act, a landmark bill that would provide comprehensive protections against discrimination for LGBTQ+ people.
Cicilline’s resignation from Congress will trigger a special election to fill his seat. Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee will set a date for the special election, which will likely take place in the coming months.
In his press conference, Cicilline expressed confidence that his successor will continue to prioritize the needs of the LGBTQ+ community.
“I’m proud of the work that we’ve done in Congress to advance equality for all Americans, and I’m confident that my successor will continue to fight for the rights of LGBTQ+ people and for a more just and equitable society,” he said.
Cicilline’s resignation has been met with both sadness and celebration from his colleagues in Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement praising Cicilline’s “outstanding leadership and tireless advocacy for equality.”