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Voter Guide: David Cicilline Profile (1st Congressional District)

Monday, September 10, 2012


Candidate Profile: Davd Cicilline

Birth date: July 15, 1961

Education: Brown University, BA; Georgetown University Law Center, JD

Bio: David Cicilline was born on the South Side of Providence and grew up in Narragansett. In 1983, he graduated from Brown University and went on to earn a law degree from Georgetown University. After beginning a career practicing law, David served four terms in the Rhode Island General Assembly – earning a reputation as a fierce champion of women's rights, gun safety, and good government.

From 2003 through 2011, David served as Mayor of Providence. During his time in office, crime rates fell to their lowest levels in more than 30 years and the city began expansive educational reform, with a new core curriculum, award-winning after-school programs, and a revamp of facilities and teacher hiring guidelines.

Since beginning his term in Congress, David has worked to support Rhode Island’s small businesses, veterans, and seniors. As a member of the House Committee on Small Business, David has stood up on behalf of Rhode Island’s innovators and entrepreneurs and worked to repeal overly burdensome reporting requirements for small business owners. As a leading advocate for the House Democratic Make It In America Agenda, David is helping to lead the fight to reinvigorate American manufacturing and end tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas.

On the Issues

How can you create jobs in Rhode Island?

My number one priority is to ensure that we put our state back to work in quality, well-paying jobs. I’ve been focused on a four-pronged approach to this problem - revitalizing our manufacturing base, helping small business and entrepreneurs, ensuring our workforce has the necessary education and skills for today’s jobs, and strengthening the middle class.

As part of our effort to strengthen manufacturing, I have introduced and co-sponsored several pieces of legislation contained in the House Democrats’ Make It In America agenda, including my Make It in America Block Grant Program Act, which would give manufacturers the resources to upgrade their facilities and prepare their workforce to better compete in the 21st century economy – helping retain and create jobs and bolstering the recovery of American manufacturing. In addition, I’ve supported legislation that will help ease the tax burden facing start-up small businesses and I have co-sponsored legislation to increase and make permanent the Research and Development Tax Credit. In addition, I will continue to support efforts to reduce burdens on small businesses and provide tax relief for middle class families so we can put our state back on the right track.

At the same time, I strongly believe we need to end tax policies that reward U.S. corporations for shipping American jobs overseas – that’s why I’ve introduced a House version of the Offshoring Prevention Act – a bill that will end an outrageous tax loophole exploited by companies that offshore American factories and jobs. RI Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has introduced and is championing a similar bill in the Senate. Yet, while many are fighting to even the playing field, the Republican majority continues to protect tax breaks for corporate special interests and companies that send American jobs overseas. I support legislation like the Bring Jobs Home Act, a bill that rewards companies with a 20% tax credit for the cost of relocating their business in the United States while also eliminating tax incentives that businesses utilize when shipping jobs overseas.

As a member of the House Small Business Committee, I have focused on ensuring small businesses have access to capital and are free of unnecessary regulatory burdens. Focusing on innovation, entrepreneurship, and small businesses are key to growing Rhode Island’s economy.

Social Security/Medicare:

I strongly disagree with Republicans in Congress, in particular Congressman Paul Ryan, who argue that in order to save Social Security we need to cut benefits or privatize the program. We can improve the long-term solvency of Social Security in part through legislation that I have co-sponsored, the Preserving Our Promise to Seniors Act, which would calculate a Cost of Living Adjustment that more accurately reflects the expenses facing seniors - like medical care and housing costs; provide $250 payment to beneficiaries in years where there is no COLA; and extend Social Security's solvency for another 75 years by phasing out the unfair wage cap. I also strongly oppose efforts led by the Republicans and Paul Ryan to end the Medicare guarantee and turn it into a voucher program, the value of which is not guaranteed to keep pace with rising health costs. Instead, we should focus on building upon the health care savings that will be generated through the Affordable Care Act – a plan that extends Medicare’s solvency, reduces the cost of the program by cracking down on fraud, waste, and subsidies to insurance companies, and preserves the Medicare guarantee.

Affordable Care Act:

I believe that House Republicans should stop trying to repeal President Obama’s historic health care reform law and work with Democrats to ensure that health care reform is enacted as efficiently and effectively as possible. Already, the Affordable Care Act has allowed 15,000 seniors in our state to save money on prescriptions, 7,500 young people can stay on a parent’s health care plan until they turn 26, and prevent insurance companies from denying covering to as many as 54,000 children who suffer from pre-existing conditions in the Ocean State.


Throughout my first term, I have been a consistent and determined advocate for women. I firmly believe that it is a woman’s right to make personal decisions about her own reproductive health. That’s why I have fought to protect women’s reproductive health care by speaking out and voting against legislation that would deny full reproductive freedom, such as the Protect Life Act. This extreme legislation would have imposed unnecessary restrictions on private insurance choices for women. I have also vigorously opposed House Republican attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, which would jeopardize access to reproductive health care for thousands of women. I am proud to have received the support of NARAL and Planned Parenthood in my re-election.


As a product of Rhode Island’s public schools, I strongly believe that one of the single most important investments we can make as a nation is in the continual education of our young people. If we are going to compete as a nation, and in order for our children and young-adults to be able to thrive in the in this global economy, we must ensure students are prepared to succeed and that we eliminate the financial obstacles that keep far too many Americans from attaining a higher education or training for a career. That’s why I have consistently supported funding for Pell Grants and workforce training programs and will continue to do so if I am re-elected.

To ensure our children get off to a strong start in education and in life, I’ve supported efforts to set aside a portion of federal Race to the Top funds for an Early Learning Challenge Grant and supported Rhode Island’s successful application for funding through the program. In addition, it’s been more than a decade since No Child Left Behind was signed into law. We need to work aggressively to learn from the lessons of NCLB and improve and reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Members of Congress need to put politics aside and work in a bipartisan fashion to ensure our children and school systems have the resources they need to prepare students for college and career. Furthermore, in order to keep post-secondary education more affordable, I co-sponsored legislation and fought hard to ensure Congress took action to keep the interest rates on federal student loans from doubling.

Same Sex Marriage:

I support full marriage equality.


In the last ten years, we’ve lost more than 2,000 brave men and women since the United States began fighting in Afghanistan and spent hundreds of billions of dollars on this conflict. Since announcing my candidacy for Congress in 2010, I have been pushing President Obama to bring our troops home. In Congress, in the face of reports from the GAO and other sources that raise serious questions about how reconstruction funds are spent in Afghanistan, as well as the overall impact of the spending, I introduced an amendment that would have cut off hundreds of millions of dollars for the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund – investments that can be redirected toward urgent needs here at home. As recently as this July, I supported amendments to a spending bill that would have allowed for the safe, orderly, and expedited draw down of combat troops in Afghanistan. I will continue to work hard to end our involvement in Afghanistan as quickly and responsibly as possible.

Energy & the Environment:

Republicans and Democrats should work together to fight high gas prices and protect our environment by ending our addiction to foreign sources of oil. Contrary to what some may say, we can’t just drill our way out of this problem. The truth is that America is drilling, and last year the U.S. produced more oil than it has in almost a decade. Millions of acres of land have been opened up for oil and gas exploration, and we have a record number of oil rigs in operation. Oil companies are enjoying record profits but still receiving billions in subsidies from our federal government.

In Congress, I’ve worked aggressively to support efforts to end these subsidies and control gas prices for middle class families by pressing to crack down on excessive oil futures speculation on Wall Street. I’ve also introduced legislation that ends unneeded subsidies for big oil and redirects that investment toward clean energy infrastructure. In addition, I have been working to defend against serious attacks on the health of our environment in the 112th Congress, and have consistently voted to uphold important protections for clean air and water.

Illegal Immigration:

In the last decade, Congress has failed on several occasions to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Washington needs to finally address this issue and enact immigration reform for our entire country. Individual cities and states should not impose their own differing immigration policies - that is the responsibility of our federal government.

Immigration is a very complicated issue, but we can all agree that the current system is not working properly. We need to secure our borders, ensure workplace and worker protections, and provide access for legal immigration. In addition, David supports creating pathways to citizenship that ensures that those who are here without proper documentation are required to “go to the end of the line,” pay appropriate penalties, pay their taxes, and pass criminal background checks before receiving citizenship.


I support the DREAM Act.

Do you support right-to-work?

Republicans are pushing so-called ‘right to work’ proposals as part of a larger effort to weaken the collective bargaining rights of working men and women. I strongly oppose right to work legislation.

Quick Hitters

A significant portion of your opponent’s supporters plan to vote for Republican Brendan Doherty. How can you win back some of those supporters before the November election?

If I’m fortunate enough to receive the Democratic nomination on September 11th, I look forward to talking with voters about the differences between myself and Mr. Doherty. The stakes are too high for Rhode Island to send someone to Congress who would support Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s agenda in Washington. The Washington Tea Party-led Republican caucus is fighting to end the guarantee of Medicare, for more tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, to preserve subsidies for Big Oil, while they try to cut education and workforce training programs like Pell Grants. Rhode Islanders should not send these extremists another vote and further empower Republicans in the House and increase the chances of making these bad ideas a reality.

Providence’s finances have been a hot topic in this race. What is the number one thing you regret about your time as Mayor of Providence?

I regret that I did not sound the alarm bell loudly enough about the devastating impact that state cuts would have on the City. I’m responsible for every decision I made as Mayor and always made decisions that I believed were in the best interests of the people of Providence.

Who is your favorite member of the opposite party?

Walter Jones – he has been a strong ally in the House in our efforts to help bring our troops home as quickly and safely as possible from Afghanistan.

In one paragraph, why should voters support David Cicilline?

I’ve been honored to serve in Congress and fight hard on behalf of Rhode Island’s working men and women for the last 20 months. Whether addressing individual problems, or working with Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse, and Congressman Langevin to support efforts to bring more federal resources to the state, or fighting to protect Medicare, end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, and reinvigorate our local manufacturers, I have been working as hard as I can every single day and I hope I will be able to continue to do so.


Dan McGowan can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan.


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