David Cicilline

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Mayor David N. Cicilline

Mayor David N. Cicilline was born in the south side of Providence on Saratoga Street. His family later moved to the Silver Lake section of the city, where he attended Webster Avenue School. At age 11, his family moved to Narragansett, where he had his first experience in politics. As a teenager, he attended public meetings, rallied for change in school curriculum and organized a community group to successfully halt the development of one of the town's most scenic environmental areas.

A leader in sports and civics programs, Cicilline graduated high school as president of his class, in 1979, and entered the College of William and Mary. He transferred to Brown University and graduated magna cum laude in 1983 with a degree in Political Science. At Brown, he and his classmate, John F. Kennedy Jr., organized the College Democrats. His passion for justice and his love of public policy brought him to Georgetown University School of Law. After graduation, he took a staff attorney position in the Public Defender Service in Washington, D. C.

Cicilline returned home to open a practice in criminal defense and civil rights law, on historic Federal Hill. From there, he began a career in public service in Rhode Island, serving four terms as state representative from District 4, on the city's East Side, he earned a reputation as a fierce champion of government reform and gun safety. As a state representative, he garnered the endorsement of the Million Mom March and won Common Cause of Rhode Island's Number One ranking in 2002 for his dedication to ethics in government and reform of the political process.

On February 11, 2002, David Cicilline announced his candidacy for Mayor of the City of Providence, in the face of the public's loss of confidence in government and deterioration of the city's neighborhoods. He called for a returned focus on quality services in the community, and urged a fundamental change in the way city business is conducted. He also called for the city to begin to include the many diverse residents within its structure, so that it resembled more closely those whom it served.

The sitting Mayor, Vincent A. "Buddy"" Cianci, Jr. was convicted of racketeering conspiracy in the spring of 2002 and sentenced to seven years in federal prision. His resignation as a result of the Plunder Dome scandal opened up the race and encouraged the entrance of several other candidates.

On September 10, David Cicilline swept a tightly contested four-way primary election with 53% of the vote. Tackling head-on the problems of corruption and favoritism, he went on to win the general election with 84% of the vote.

On January 6, 2003, David Cicilline took the oath of office as the 36th mayor of the City of Providence. Inheriting a $59 million deficit, a half-billion dollar unfunded pension liability, an archaic personnel system, and decades of corruption, he has made restoring the public trust and Providence's fiscal integrity the cornerstone of his administration.

Since taking office, he has hired a nationally acclaimed financial firm and conducted a thorough analysis of the city's finances, cutting costs, expanding revenues and implementing best practices. He has taken the first steps to create after-school programming for the city's youth, and launched a citywide community policing effort. He has formed a task force - headed by the US Attorney - to create a stringent code of ethics, and has abolished the lucrative tow list, uncovered secret wiretapping in the City's public safety complex and removed poor management where it is uncovered.

Mayor Cicilline has also created a cabinet form of government, addressed school violence, begun to explore ways to improve the quality of life of our neighborhoods and strengthened community involvement like never before. It is his mission to make Providence one of the most livable and outstanding cities in the nation, and to help it achieve the destiny for which it is so appropriately named. Mayor Cicilline believes, in Providence, We Can.

With Cicilline's election in 2002, Providence became the largest American city to have elected an openly gay or lesbian chief executive. In 2005, Toni Atkins served as San Diego's Acting Mayor, but she was appointed by the City Council and not elected by the city's voters.

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