In a surprise move, a longtime Democratic congressman has decided to call it quits midterm to pursue a new endeavor. Rep. David Cicilline, who was elected to a seventh term in November, announced in a news release Tuesday that he is stepping down to become CEO of the nonprofit Rhode Island Foundation. The release said the congressman would be resigning his seat effective June 1, which will trigger a special election to replace him, according to The Providence Journal. “Serving the people of Rhode Island’s First Congressional District has been the honor of my lifetime,” Cicilline said in a statement. “As President and CEO of one of the largest and oldest community foundations in the nation, I look forward to expanding on the work I have led for nearly thirty years in helping to improve the lives of all Rhode Islanders,” he said. Cicilline has long been involved in Rhode Island politics. In 2003, the Democrat became the first openly gay mayor of a state capital when he assumed that post in Providence. He has represented the state’s 1st Congressional District since 2011, winning more than 60 percent of the vote in last year’s midterm elections, according to the Journal. “The chance to lead the Rhode Island Foundation was unexpected, but it is an extraordinary opportunity to have an even more direct and meaningful impact on the lives of residents of our state,” he said in his statement. The liberal lawmaker vowed to “ensure all Rhode Islanders can achieve economic security, access quality, affordable healthcare, and attain the education and training that will set them on a path to prosperity” in his new position. G. Alan Kurose, chairman of the foundation’s board of directors, explained in a news release Tuesday why he believes Cicilline is the right man for the job. “David’s skills and values fit perfectly with those of the Rhode Island Foundation — he is committed to meeting the needs of all Rhode Islanders and has been throughout his public-service career,” Kurose said in a statement. “Congressman Cicilline’s career-long fight for equity and equality at the local, national, and international level, and his deep relationships within Rhode Island’s communities of color are two of the many factors that led us to this decision,” the chairman said. During his time in Congress, Cicilline has gained a reputation as a staunch liberal, although he found some common ground with certain Republicans regarding antitrust regulations against Big Tech companies, as pointed out by the Journal. A heavy gun control proponent, he was a constant critic of former President Donald Trump and served as impeachment manager for Trump’s second impeachment. The Democrat serves on the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees. He is vice chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and co-chairman of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus. Once Cicilline officially steps down from his seat, Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee has the power to set a special election to replace him. According to the Journal, a long list of Democrats will be interested in running for the heavily blue seat, setting up a potential showdown between the party’s extreme leftists and its establishment liberals. Republicans will have an uphill battle in the race given the district’s considerable left-wing bent. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.