David Cicilline, former Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island

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David Cicilline
Former Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island

2 March 2008: David N. Cicilline was born in 1961 in the South Side of Providence and spent his childhood in Silver Lake, before moving with his family to Narragansett, Rhode Island. He graduated from Brown University magna cum laude and went on to earn a juris doctorate from the Georgetown University Law Center. He served as a public defender in Washington, D.C. before returning to Rhode Island to open a practice in criminal defense and civil rights law.

Update November 2010: Angel Taveras was elected mayor of Providence, becoming the first Hispanic person to lead Rhode Island's capitol city. Taveras, an attorney and former city housing court judge, succeeds outgoing Mayor David Cicilline, who was elected to the US Congress.

Cicilline began his political life serving four terms as state representative from Providence's East Side. He earned a reputation as a fierce champion of political reform and gun safety, and his dedication to ethics in government won him reformist lobby group Common Cause's #1 ranking.

In 2002, when the City of Providence was buckling under a $59 million deficit, an archaic administrative infrastructure, and the legacy of decades of corruption, Cicilline announced his candidacy for mayor. Erstwhile mayor Buddy Ciani was embroiled in one of the most infamous municipal corruption scandals in recent history, Operation Plunder Dome, which saw him incarcerated for five years for federal crimes of fraud and racketeering. Cicilline pledged to restore public confidence in City Hall and to revitalize the city's neighborhoods. The message resounded. Cicilline swept a four-way primary election and went on to easily win the general election.

Since taking office, Mayor Cicilline has produced unprecedented results. "Something remarkable is happening here. A city long renowned for the rackets and graft is being cleaned up by a reform-minded mayor. For Providence, it really is a new day," observed the Washington Post.

The city government is in the process of a comprehensive transformation. Employees from five city unions now work under new, 21st-century, professional contracts. Innovative tracking technology monitors the efficiency of service delivery in real time. 425 salaries have been eliminated, including 14 per cent of management. Providence has dropped to 17th in the state for per-capita property tax. His program to bring performing arts into every neighborhood of the city is the recipient of the U.S. Conference of Mayors' prestigious Livability Award.

Re-elected to a second term in office in 2006 after garnering 83 per cent of the vote, he has since been elected 2008 President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors and is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition. The US' first openly gay mayor of a state capital, he is thought to be considering a run for Congress in 2010.

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