Sunday, July 15, 2018

Happy Birthday to RI U.S. Congressman David Cicilline

David Cicilline was born today, July 15, in 1961. He is an American politician who has been the U.S. Representative for Rhode Island's 1st congressional district since 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He previously served as Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, from 2003 to 2011, and was the first openly gay mayor of a U.S. state capital.

Cicilline was born in Providence, Rhode Island. 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.

Cicilline was elected Mayor of Providence in a landslide in November 2002 with 84 percent of the vote, 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.

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 and defeated Republican State Representative John Loughlin with 51 percent of the vote.

Cicilline won re-election to a fourth term in office in the 2016 election. He defeated his opponent, Republican H. Russell Taub, with 64 percent of the vote.

Upon being sworn in, Cicilline became the fourth openly gay member of Congress. He is a co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. In March 2011, Cicilline was one of the co-sponsors of a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and supported efforts to legalize same-sex marriage.

Cicilline introduced the Equality Act in 2015 to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act and expand protections to LGBTQ people. In September 2017, he reintroduced the Equality Act.

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 gay illegal 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.

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