David N. Cicilline was born on the South Side of Providence, Rhode Island and is one of five children of Jack and Sabra Cicilline. After his family moved to Narragansett, David became interested in public service for the first time – regularly asking his parents to drop him off to attend school board and Town Council meetings. As a teenager, he organized a successful petition drive demanding that his school add Italian language classes to its curriculum. After graduating from Narragansett High School, David attended Brown University as an undergraduate and later earned a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Following law school, David worked as a public defender in the District of Columbia before returning to Rhode Island to practice law. In 1994, he was elected to the Rhode Island House of Representatives, where he soon earned a reputation as a fierce champion of political reform and gun safety, and his dedication to ethics won him Common Cause’s top ranking.
David was first elected mayor of the City of Providence in 2002, and re-elected for a second term in office four years later in 2006. David’s eight years in office were characterized by the implementation of a formal city ethics code, the influx of $3 billion in new investment, the lowest crime rates in more than four decades, and the implementation of a nationally recognized after-school program.
In 2010, after Representative Patrick J. Kennedy announced his decision to retire from the House, David decided to run for Congress by focusing on putting Rhode Islanders back to work and protecting important social service programs for seniors and families. After winning the general election, David was sworn in on January 5, 2011, and immediately began fighting for common-sense policies to help get small businesses, manufacturers, families, and seniors through these challenging economic times.
Helping to create good-paying jobs in Rhode Island is David’s top priority. In Congress, David has introduced legislation to create a Make it in America Block Grant to help small manufacturers retool their factories and retrain workers with the skills they need to compete in a global economy. He’s also introduced and co-sponsored a series of bills designed to revitalize Rhode Island and American manufacturing – including legislation to develop a comprehensive six-point national manufacturing strategy. David has also stood up to protect Rhode Island jobs by supporting legislation to hold countries like China responsible for cheating in trade matters by manipulating their currency.
David has also been a strong advocate for the more than 95,000 small businesses that form the backbone of Rhode Island’s economy. As a member of the House Committee on Small Business, he was an early supporter of bipartisan legislation, which was signed into law, to repeal the onerous 1099 reporting requirements for small businesses, which had required that small businesses complete 1099 forms each year for any purchase over $600 in value. In addition, he has worked to free up access to capital for small business, and fought to maintain funding for Small Business Development Centers and programs that provide small businesses and entrepreneurs with the targeted assistance they need to start, sustain, and grow their companies.
As an outspoken proponent for Rhode Island’s seniors, David is working hard to make sure Congress lives up to the promise we made more than 75 years ago to provide our seniors with the financial security they have earned for their retirement years. That’s why David has opposed any effort to privatize Social Security and has co-sponsored legislation that would change the way Cost of Living Adjustments are calculated so they more accurately reflect the spending habits of seniors.
In addition, David has fought proposals that would weaken Medicare. He opposed the Republican budget plan, H.CON.RES. 34, which would have ended Medicare as we know it by changing it from a publicly-run health insurance plan to a voucher program for purchasing private health insurance. During negotiations on raising the debt ceiling, David joined more than 70 of his House colleagues in urging Minority Leader Pelosi to avoid cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as part of any deal.
As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, David has also been a strong voice for bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan as safely and expeditiously as we can. David believes that the United States cannot continue to spend $8 billion a month in Afghanistan while so many urgent needs go unaddressed in Rhode Island and America. Rather than continuing to spend those funds building schools, bridges, and roads halfway around the world, we should be investing that money in our own country. He has cosponsored legislation to create a National Infrastructure Bank, which would allow the Federal government to leverage public and private funds to put people back to work rebuilding our roads, schools, water systems, and more – right here at home. In 2011, David urged President Obama to remove all American troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012.