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Democrats lose Big Tech foe and LGBT ally with Cicilline’s surprise retirement

Big Tech will lose one of its fiercest critics in the House when Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) retires from Congress in June. But his departure is also a blow to the LGBT community he championed on Capitol Hill.

Cicilline’s decision to step down to lead the Rhode Island Foundation, announced Tuesday, surprised many Democrats, who praised his 12 years championing antitrust and gun safety legislation in the House.

The lawmaker, known for his media savvy and willingness to take on Republicans, has served as a counterweight to conservative flags on the Judiciary Committee and is known for drafting the first articles of impeachment against then-President Donald Trump after January 6. he eventually served as manager during the former president’s second impeachment.

Cicilline, vice chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, quickly rose through the ranks of House Democrats, at one point heading their messaging arm.

As a gay man, he has been a prominent voice for LGBT representation. When he launched a last-minute bid for the House Democrats’ No. 4 leadership post in November, briefly challenging Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) in the process, he cited the lack of gay representation at the highest levels of the caucus

His party is already mourning the loss, praising him as a “relentless champion” of Rhode Island.


“When I announced my run for Congress in 2019, David Ciciline was the first member of Congress to endorse me. I owe him the greatest debt of gratitude for all he has done to foster the next generation of LGBTQ leadership in USA. I’m a small part of the huge legacy he leaves,” Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) told the Washington Examiner. “David is one of the most accomplished members of Congress, with a record ranging from antitrust reform to LGBTQ. Equality with Trump’s impeachment. His departure is an incalculable loss to Congress as an institution.”

Several colleagues cited Cicilline’s work on gun control legislation. In 2016, his LGBT advocacy converged with his work on gun safety following the Pulse nightclub shooting in which 49 people were killed at a Florida gay nightclub. He helped organize a 26-hour sit-in on the House floor.

“David was a fearless and effective voice for LGBTQ rights, gun safety legislation and strengthening democratic principles. He will be missed,” said Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA) in Washington examine

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) added, “It’s a very big loss, not only for Congress but for me personally. He’s a very good friend. He’s been an incredible leader on LGBTQ issues and many others, in particular gun safety.”

Deputy David Cicilline.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Cicilline has often taken the lead on progressive legislation, including her efforts on the Equality Act, which bans LGBT discrimination.

“Cicilline is a progressive champion. A leader in antitrust reform. A tireless fighter for LGBTQ rights who introduced the Equality Act and led the House to pass it twice,” the House Progressive Caucus tweeted. “In Congress and in our CPC Executive Board, we will miss him very much. Congratulations, deputy!”

The Rhode Island Democrat would work with Republicans on antitrust issues related to Big Tech companies like Google and Facebook. He is the top Democrat on the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Mercantile and Administrative Law, where he has called for legislation to address anti-competitiveness in digital markets. He has worked with Republicans on those efforts, earning him bipartisan praise.

In a farewell statement, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) described Cicilline’s accomplishments as an “effective and thoughtful” lawmaker.


“David has been a leading advocate for LGBTQ Americans in the fight for full equality under the law and has led House Democrats in our efforts to take the weapons of war off our streets to end the epidemic of gun violence once and for all,” Jeffries. said “He has been a dedicated defender of our democracy as a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee and on the floor of the United States Senate as impeachment manager during the second impeachment of Donald J. Trump.”

Cicilline will leave Congress on June 1, triggering a special election to replace him. He said, “The opportunity to lead the Rhode Island Foundation was unexpected, but it is an extraordinary opportunity to make an even more direct and meaningful impact on the lives of our state’s residents.”

Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.

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