Mayor David Cicilline This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Not long after David Cicilline was elected mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, he walked outside and found a traffic officer preparing to ticket his car. When she began to remove the ticket, he stopped her, pointing out that his car was indeed improperly parked, and asked her to finish writing the ticket. She did, baffled by his actions.

For decades, Rhode Island had been subject to much political venality. Threats, deals and fraud seemed to control the state as politician after politician fell into scandals. In 1991, Rhode Island was featured as the most corrupt state by ABC’s “PrimeTime Live.”

After a series of federal and local investigations and prosecutions against the infamous ex-mayor “Buddy” Cianci for numerous scandals and corruptions, the capital cried for reform. During the campaign, David Cicilline caught many people’s attention with his fresh and controversial approach.

Cicilline’s history shows his genuine commitment to public service and reform. He attempted to change the school curriculum and successfully preserved one of his town’s most scenic environmental areas against development as a teenager. At Brown University, Cicilline founded a political group called the College Democrats with classmate John F. Kennedy, Jr. His love for justice and public policy led him to serve as a public defender and a state representative. Cicilline is driven not by image or political gain, but by his firm belief in ethical change.

However, David Cicilline was an extremely controversial candidate for Providence’s mayoral position. Why would a young, ambitious man be subject to discord and hate? It’s simple. Cicilline is liberal, Italian and Jewish. Moreover, he is gay. Cicilline, however, does not wish to be known as the gay mayor but rather an honest, competent leader whose best interests are to represent all the people. His background is especially relevant for developing his perspectives on ethnic groups, cultures and classes.

In his inaugural address, Cicilline provided a clear vision for Providence. He reminded us that Roger Williams, the Rhode Island colony’s unorthodox founder daringly rejected “politics as usual.” He and his followers fought to create a new society of justice and a better future. Cicilline combined the best of the old and new by offering his own theory of renaissance that believes in integrity and honesty over the practices of the past while working with, but not within, political boundaries.

Providence is one of fastest growing New England cities, and Mayor Cicilline is working to cultivate that growth. The capital’s history, arts, businesses and diverse population are all part of the city’s beauty and culture. Prior to taking office, he said that the municipal government did not reflect the rich diversity of the city. He vowed to make his government more inclusive and representative. Cicilline proposed that the government of Providence operate on the highest ethical standards. In response to low school ratings, Mayor Cicilline is working on developing community schools, which are essentially public schools that offer programs like tutoring, parent education and support, and prevention and health programming. He feels that the government and community need to be more actively involved with schools to help all children succeed.

His campaign slogan, “No More Business As Usual,” not only recognizes the corruption within the city but promises to deal with it. He even plans to hire an integrity officer to investigate the municipal code being written right now. He also seeks to improve affirmative action recruitment by appointing an Equality Task Force. In addition to ensuring ethical practices, Mayor Cicilline has asked residents to accept the bitter medicine of additional property taxes and budget cuts to deal with a large deficit from the previous administration.

The majority of politicians previously in Rhode Island worked to achieve deception and self-benefit. By opposing this establishment, Mayor Cicilline has fought to erase what he calls the culture of self-service, insider dealing, and arrogance. His courage to look after Providence and not his popularity has already begun to rebuild the city. David Cicilline is not only a courageous leader, but a man who knows how to balance both political practices and ideals.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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