Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline on Saturday announced plans to seek the U.S. House seat being vacated by Patrick J. Kennedy.
Cicilline, 49, Rhode Island‘s first openly gay mayor, became the second Democrat to declare his candidacy for the congressional seat, just two days after Kennedy’s unexpected announcement that he would not seek re-election.
He said his time on the job gives him the proper perspective on the struggles of middle-class Americans, reports the Providence Journal.
“Washington is really disconnected from the families in America,” Cicilline, attired in a dress shirt, open at the collar, sweater and slacks, told reporters gathered in a hallway at a school on Thurbers Avenue. “I see very directly what this economy has done” to families.
Cicilline said his role as mayor has taught him how to bring people together to solve problems, something he said national political leaders seem to forgo in favor of “posturing.”
Cicilline said he would not step down as Providence’s mayor during his run for Congress; he has held the job for nearly eight years.
William Lynch, chairman of the state Democratic Party, said he will also seek the seat.