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Gay basketball coach brings passion, leadership to NY State Assembly run

Anthony Nicodemo wants to take his passion and skills to the New York State Assembly.

Anthony Nicodemo is running for a New York State Assembly seat in Yonkers.

Anthony Nicodemo, an out gay high school teacher, basketball coach and outspoken advocate in Yonkers, has announced his candidacy for the New York State Assembly.

The coach has been a voice on various issues over the last few years, including the well-being of student-athletes, LGBTQ inclusion, and various other issues affecting minority communities and residents of the City of Yonkers.

He is running as a Democrat. The primary is Sept. 13.

Nicodemo has made a commitment to the people of Yonkers one of the tentpoles of his candidacy. His entire district would lie within the city, which is the fourth largest in the State of New York.

“That would allow me to really focus on bettering a community that I love,” Nicodemo told Outsports. “Yonkers schools have suffered from lack of funding for years. As a coach on the front lines I’ve experienced this first hand. Our kids do not receive the same as their neighbors and that’s wrong.”

Nicodemo knows a thing or two about Yonkers schools, as both a teacher and coach at two different schools in the city.

As an Assemblyman, Nicodemo will also focus on strengthening and protecting workers unions, as he calls them “the backbone of our country and the voice of the middle class.”

The campaign has brought on Conner Mertens, a former college football player and trusted Nicodemo confidant, as the campaign manager. Mertens has experience working in and around the government and politics, both in the office of elected officials and in the political media. Since coming out publicly, Mertens has used his platform to advocate for youth.

“I met Anthony just a few months after coming out,” Mertens said. “Since then, we have been working together nonstop on a mission of equality. As a friend and colleague, I have the utmost confidence in Anthony’s ability to lead and make substantial and important changes. It’s an honor to serve on his team where I know we will make New York a better place for everyone.”

Nicodemo follows in a strong line of gay former athletes who have moved into politics. Former college football captain Brian Sims is now a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and former high school football captain Corey Johnson is the Speaker of the New York City Council.

One of the people expressing immediate support for Nicodemo’s campaign was former NBA player Jason Collins, who was part of the inspiration that led Nicodemo to come out publicly in 2013.

You can find out more about Nicodemo and his campaign for New York State Assembly at the campaign Web site.