David Cicillini (D)
Providence, Rhode Island
Elected House of Representatives November 1995, 1997
Came out April 1999
Re-elected 1999, 2001
Elected Mayor November 2002
The Advocated reported in December 2002 that David Cicilline remembered being at the headquarters for his Providence, R.I., mayoral campaign when a prospective volunteer and voter walked in. "I was thinking of supporting your campaign," the man--a senior citizen and devout Catholic--told Cicilline. "But first, I want to know what your gay agenda is."
"That's easy," Cicilline responded. "My gay agenda is for government reform, improving neighborhoods, and strengthening schools."
News article about David Cicilline
Where everybody knows his name: A day after winning City Hall, Cicilline finds celebrity status
By Amanda Milkovits, Journal Staff Writer
Providence Journal, November 7, 2002
"The best thing I can do for the community, the city, and everyone who's watching is be the best mayor I can be." - Mayor-elect David Cicilline
PROVIDENCE - "Can we take a picture with you?" "Will you sign this for us?"
The day after the election, the Democratic victors traditionally gather at the Arcade downtown for a "victory tour" - shaking hands and thanking voters for their support.
But one winner got most of the attention.
As U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, U.S. Rep. James Langevin, Attorney General-elect Jack Lynch, and Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty chatted with each other and gave interviews, the mayor-elect was greeting the pre-lunchtime crowd as if he were still campaigning.
"How are you, sir? I'm David Cicilline," he said, extending a hand to a man reading the sports section. The man quickly recognized him, and congratulated Cicilline.
Cicilline moved on, stopping people and introducing himself.
"I saw you on TV last night!" exclaimed an elderly man outside a deli.
The young women at Villa Pizza dug out a Polaroid camera and called to Cicilline to pose with them. Then they wanted his autograph.
"Congratulations!" James Santos, an officer for Johnson & Wales University, said as Cicilline walked toward him. "Well, I don't know if I should say congratulations or condolences . . ."
"Hard work never hurt anyone," Cicilline replied.
Hours off the campaign trail and into the first day as mayor-elect, Cicilline said he was still getting used to the title. He was the assumed favorite since winning the September primary, yet he corrected supporters who called him mayor.
His mother gave him a pin with the seal of the city to wear on primary night - like the one former Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr. received when he became mayor - but Cicilline said he won't wear it until he is sworn in.
Yesterday, he was getting used to the idea. It was strange not to have to ask people for their votes anymore, Cicilline said.
What does he say instead? "Thank you."
He called his sister, Susan Buonanno, in Narragansett to congratulate her on winning her election. Buonanno received more than 800 votes as a write-in candidate for the Narragansett School Committee. That makes two Cicilline siblings holding elected office in Rhode Island.
He had media interviews scheduled throughout the day, including a call from Advocate magazine, a gay and lesbian publication. His election made Providence the largest U.S. city to elect a gay mayor.
Cicilline understands the distinction, but says his sexual orientation played no role in his campaign. The issues did, he said.
Speaking before the polls closed and the election decided, Cicilline said, "The best thing I can do for the community, the city, and everyone who's watching is be the best mayor I can be."
Yesterday afternoon, he was a featured speaker at an awards luncheon of the Narragansett Council Boy Scouts of America.
A few years ago, the Narragansett Council pushed, unsuccessfully, to have the National Council for the Boy Scouts of America rethink its ban on homosexuals. The Rhode Island chapter asserted then, as now, that questions about sexual orientation are not relevant. Guiding youths and serving as role models are.
That was an unspoken message yesterday.
The luncheon was held to honor Dennis Langley, executive director of the Urban League, Bernard LaFayette, director of the University of Rhode Island Center for Nonviolence, and assistant school superintendent Tomas Ramirez for their work with boys from urban neighborhoods.
As he praised their work, Cicilline talked about his vision for comprehensive after-school programs, and he invited the scouts to become involved.
Crime rises among youths in the afternoon when school ends. Cicilline pointed to after-school programs in the Midwest, where students stay late for recreation programs, academic counseling, and clubs and organizations. Such as the Boy Scouts.
Attendance rises and crime drops, he said. Providence can do this, too. "I think the Boy Scouts have an important role," he said.
Cicilline was selling his ideas again, but as the mayor-elect.
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