Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) announced on Tuesday he will resign from Congress after 12 years of service in which he emerged as one of the Democratic Party’s leading political foes against former President Donald Trump.
In a statement, Cicilline said he would stay in office until June 1, 2023, when he will begin his tenure as president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation, an influential charity nexus in the state.
His departure from the House paves the way for a special election in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District, a heavily Democratic area in the eastern part of the state. After he leaves, Cicilline’s staff will continue serving constituents until a replacement is picked, his office said.
“Serving the people of Rhode Island’s First Congressional District has been the honor of my lifetime,” Cicilline said. “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.”
While it was not immediately clear how much money Cicilline will make in his new role, the longtime CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation he is poised to replace, Neil Steinberg, was making more than $1 million a year as of 2019, according to IRS filings reported by WPRI.
“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,” Steinberg said in a statement. “He has the experience, the skills, the passion, and the network to ably lead the Foundation.”
Cicilline, an openly gay man, served as mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, from 2003 to 2011, before joining Congress. In the House, Cicilline became chairman of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus. He holds a seat on the powerful Foreign Affairs and Judiciary Committees.
After the U.S. Capitol breach on January 6, 2021, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) named Cicilline an impeachment manager. As recently as December, his anti-Trump efforts extended to introducing legislation aimed at barring the former president from holding federal office again.
Cicilline easily won re-election to a two-year term in the 2022 midterm elections. Late last year, he challenged Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) for the House Democrats’ assistant leader position but dropped out at the last minute. Outside of Congress, Cicilline opened a cocktail and tapas bar in downtown Providence last fall.
Members of the Rhode Island delegation cheered Cicilline after he announced his plans on Tuesday.
Cicilline “has been an able, hard-fighting colleague, and I’ll miss his spirit in our delegation, but he’ll be a fabulous leader for [the Rhode Island Foundation] so bravos everywhere,” tweeted Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).