Cicilline breaks down decision to leave Congress, head Rhode Island Foundation
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — After nearly 13 years representing Rhode Island in the House of Representatives, Congressman David Cicilline is taking over the Rhode Island Foundation.
He told ABC 6 News Tuesday he is looking for a more hands-on position to better the state.
“It became clear to me just in the last few weeks that this is a place I could make a real difference,” Cicilline said.
The foundation is the largest funder of state nonprofit organizations.
He continued, “It wasn’t until this morning that the board met and officially took a vote to offer me the position. It became clear to me that in this role, I could have an even greater impact in improving the lives of Rhode Islanders particularly in the next several years when the House is in Republican hands where I think it will be hard to get much done.”
The Democrat has served in public office for roughly 30 years. This includes two terms as mayor of Providence and nearly 13 in the House.
Outlining his priorities for the foundation, he added, “Making sure Rhode Islanders have access to high quality affordable healthcare, doing all we can to improve the quality of public education so young people have an opportunity to realize their full potential, and making sure we’re creating real economic opportunities for everyone.”
Former president and CEO of the foundation Neil Steinberg announced he would leave last year after 15 years.
“David knows the nonprofit community,” said Steinberg Tuesday. “He knows the leaders in the state, he’s got a great network to bring national resources potentially to Rhode Island. But it’s his passion, his commitment, and his knowledge I think that will be the key attributes.”
The 1st Congressional District seat will be filled by a special election requested by Gov. Dan McKee. Cicilline expects to step down in June.
McKee responded to Cicilline’s decision, saying, “It’s going to leave a hole in that office because he has moved up in leadership significantly and that’ll be a loss for us in many ways.”
McKee’s administration said they are unable to request a special election until Cicilline leaves office.