Corey Johnson, the openly gay former high school football player turned politician, has been elected the speaker of the New York City Council.

Johnson’s rise to power has been amazing to watch, but not at all a surprise for those of us who know him. Johnson has long been regarded as a super likable guy who has an eye for strategy and a drive to get things done.

I got to see this in the New York Gay Football League, when Johnson and I started the group along with a number of other amazing folks in 2005. Johnson was a super successful captain every season and ultimately succeeded me as commissioner of the league. I also got to play with him in one Gay Games (with Jim as our quarterback) and two Gay Bowls, winning all three tournaments together.

Now he brings his drive toward success and affable personality to the second most powerful elected position in the country’s largest city.

Johnson’s story was one of the first “big” stories Outsports ever covered, about 18 years ago. He had come out publicly in a local publication, and we covered his story throughout that year. Even then he was showing up at political rallies and marches, laying the seeds for what would become his rise to power.

We at Outsports wish Johnson the best of luck!