Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) will leave Congress in June to take over as the president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation, his office announced on Tuesday.
“Serving the people of Rhode Island’s First Congressional District has been the honor of my lifetime,” Cicilline, 61, said in a statement. “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.”
Cicilline, who has represented Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District since 2011, will officially step down June 1. Cicilline’s staff will continue to operate the district’s Rhode Island and Washington, D.C., offices until a new representative is chosen in a special election, his office said.
“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,” he added.
Cicilline easily sailed to reelection in his solidly blue Rhode Island district in November’s midterm elections, securing about 64 percent of the vote.
His decision to leave Congress comes after longtime Rhode Island Rep. James Langevin (D) stepped down from the state’s only other congressional seat last year, after more than 20 years in office. He was replaced by Rep. Seth Magaziner (D) in the state’s first open congressional race since 2010.
A special election for Cicilline’s seat cannot be scheduled until he officially resigns from office, according to The Boston Globe.
Cicilline rose to even greater prominence as one of the Democrats’ impeachment managers for former President Trump’s second impeachment trial.
Prior to joining Congress, Cicilline spent over a decade in Rhode Island politics, getting his start in the Rhode Island General Assembly in 1995. In 2003, he was elected mayor of Providence, becoming was the first openly gay mayor of a state capital city.
Cicilline is currently one of only 13 openly gay, lesbian and bisexual members of Congress, according to the Pew Research Center, and is a co-chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus.
In November, Cicilline briefly made a move for House Democratic leadership, launching a last-minute bid for the assistant leader position against veteran Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.). However, Cicilline ultimately stepped aside.
Updated at 10:39 a.m.