Cicilline to leave congress, heads for RI Foundation


Rhode Island’s senior congressman will be getting a raise. Though to get the paycheck, he’ll be giving up his seat representing Rhode Island’s First Congressional District.

As of June 1, U.S. Rep. David Cicilline will give up his seat to head the Rhode Island Foundation. His salary will nearly quadruple, from $174,000 as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, to $650,000 as CEO of the state’s “community foundation.”

“That figure is consistent with what CEOs of community foundations of similar size across America earn,” explained Chris Barnett, Rhode Island Foundation Senior Communications and Marketing Officer. “With assets totaling $1.3 billion, the Foundation is the largest funder of nonprofits in Rhode Island. In 2021 — the most recent year for which final numbers are available — the Foundation awarded $76 million in grants to 2,300 nonprofits.”

Cicilline’s career move will trigger an election that’s sure to be an Ocean State free-for-all. Several potential candidates have already declared interest in running for the seat, once Gov. Dan McKee sets a date for the special election.

“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,” Cicilline said in a statement released Tuesday morning. “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.”

Cicilline, a Democrat serving his seventh term in the U.S. House, “was selected by the Foundation’s board of directors after a thorough national search that included significant community input and generated an impressive pool of diverse candidates.”

“I am thrilled with the choice of Representative Cicilline as the next president and CEO of the Foundation, having seen first-hand — over many years — his commitment to a better Rhode Island,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s current president and CEO. “He has the experience, the skills, the passion, and the network to ably lead the Foundation. I’m confident that he will very successfully engage with our donors, nonprofit grantees, and community stakeholders.”

The new congressman doesn’t necessarily have to live in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District to run for the seat. While many names of potential candidates were floated throughout the day Tuesday — from unsuccessful Democratic gubernatorial candidate Helena B. Foulkes to Joe Paolino III, son of former Providence Mayor Joe Paolino Jr. — McKee can’t set the election date until Cicilline vacates the seat in June.

 “Today is not the day for political speculation,” said Rhode Island House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi. “I want to thank Congressman Cicilline for his many years of outstanding public service to the people of Rhode Island. David is a tireless worker and advocate, and I am confident he will lead the Rhode Island Foundation in the same strong manner as Neil Steinberg has done for many years.”

Cicilline served as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Committee on the Judiciary.

Upon Cicilline’s departure, U.S. Rep. Seth Magaziner, newly elected in 2022, will become Rhode Island’s senior congressman.

“Congress’s loss is the Rhode Island Foundation’s gain,” Magaziner said in a statement released Tuesday. “Although I’ve only had the privilege of serving alongside Rep. Cicilline for a matter of weeks, I am eager to build upon our partnership during the remaining months of his term and in his new role.”

First Congressional District constituents can continue contacting Cicilline’s office for assistance with federal agencies and to engage with staff on legislative issues. “Members of Cicilline’s staff will continue to operate offices in both Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. under the supervision of the Clerk of the House of Representatives until a new member of Congress is elected to fill the unexpired term,” according to his office.

Prior to Congress, Cicilline was elected to the Rhode Island General Assembly (where he served from 1995 to 2003), and as mayor of Providence (from 2003 to 2011). The Rhode Island Foundation touted Cicilline’s stature as “the first openly gay mayor of a U.S state capital city” in the press release announcing his hiring.

“From his time as Mayor of Providence to the halls of Congress, David is a hard charger who brings passion and energy to any task he undertakes,” U.S. Senator Jack Reed said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “He’s a results-oriented coalition builder, and those skills will serve him well in this next chapter of his career.”

Cicilline, congress


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here