David Cicilline was born on the South Side of Providence and later moved with his family to Narragansett, Rhode Island. In 1983, he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in political science from Brown University, where as an undergraduate he established a branch of the College Democrats with his classmate, the late John F. Kennedy, Jr. He earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and served as a public defender in the District of Columbia before returning to Rhode Island to open a practice in civil rights law and criminal defense.
Cicilline began his career in public service in the Rhode Island House of Representatives, where he represented the East Side of Providence and a neighboring section of Pawtucket for four terms. He quickly earned a reputation as a fierce champion of political reform and gun safety, and his dedication to ethics in government won him Common Cause’s #1 ranking.
In 2002, when the City of Providence was buckling under a $59 million deficit, a neglected infrastructure, and the legacy of decades of corruption, Cicilline was elected mayor on his pledge to restore public confidence in City Hall and to revitalize the city’s neighborhoods. Since then, he has led a comprehensive transformation of city government based on honesty, transparency, and accountability.
Under Cicilline's leadership, Providence has seen $3 billion in new investment and restored vibrancy to downtown and the 25 neighborhoods of the city. Under his leadership, Providence has seen crime drop to its lowest rate in 30 years. The city also has begun expansive educational reform, with a new core curriculum, award-winning after-school programs, and a revamping of facilities and teacher hiring guidelines.
Since the onset of the national recession and the Rhode Island budget crisis, Cicilline has fought to protect the gains that Providence worked so hard to achieve over the past eight years. He has become active in national organizations to give Providence a place in the most influential policy discussions. Cicilline also has persuasively advocated for structural reforms at the state level and held a firm line in demanding public employee contracts that are fair to taxpayers and to City employees.