History Professor to Run for U.S. Representative 2022

Tristan Brown-DeVirgilio, Contributing Writer

Nicholas Antonucci is an adjunct professor of history at Suffolk Community College and has been for the past several years. He is running for U.S. Representative of the First Congressional District of New York in the 2022 election cycle.

New York State has 27 congressional districts. The First District includes most of Suffolk County, and is essentially the eastern half of Long Island. He is running as a member of the Democratic Party.

Antonucci was born into an Italian family in Brooklyn, but was raised for most of his childhood in Holtsville. He explained that he first became involved with politics in high school; for instance, he volunteered to work on Democrat George Hochbrueckner’s assembly campaign. In addition, during his senior year of college, Antonucci participated in an internship with New York State Assemblyman Bill Bianchi, also a Democrat.

Antonucci was involved with several other campaigns later in his life. This, he notes, was due in large part to his computer skills, which, he says, were more advanced than most people’s at the time and which opened up future (politics-related) opportunities to him. “…[I] made myself invaluable,” Antonucci said, “because no one knew anything about computers at that time.”

Antonucci studied at Stony Brook University for both his B.A. and later his M.A.T. His B.A. was in Political Science, specifically U.S. Government, and his M.A.T. was in Social Studies. He also studied at Columbia University from which he received his M.A. in American Studies (Ethnicity and Race).

He has taught, or is teaching, at Sachem East High School, Seneca Middle School, and, as mentioned above, here at Suffolk. Antonucci also serves as the executive director for a not-for-profit professional development school for teachers.

Antonucci shared that one of his main motivations and focuses for his campaign is education. He noted that, “the voice of educators is conspicuously absent in government.” Antonucci believes that he can bring something different to the table because of this.

For example, as stated on his campaign website, Antonucci believes that “climate change is our greatest challenge [on the county level, at least]”; he emphasized that we Long Islanders are a “coastal people,” and thus will be hit first by the effects of climate change. Antonucci says that he has a natural thirst for knowledge and a willingness to listen to the ideas of others. Additionally, he says that he follows the science on an issue such as climate change especially closely. He believes that these qualities will help him to address many of society’s problems, perhaps including climate change, in a way that other people – especially career politicians – may not.

He also believes that the public education system today is, in a sense, flawed. Antonucci argues that kids from grade school to college, but perhaps especially grade school, are being taught “to the test” to an extent that it is not helpful and perhaps even harmful. He believes that schools should emphasize creativity more, and tests should not be the focus; he says schools should be changed from “test prep workshops” to “curiosity shops.” He believes that, because of the way students are being taught currently, people will be increasingly less able to solve problems in society and life.

Antonucci details several goals with regard to changing the education system, including increasing the nation’s funding for community colleges (including Suffolk Community College), providing public grants to public libraries, making “educational equity” a national priority, and modifying the current standardized test-assessment to encourage creativity and critical thinking.

Antonucci plans to hold his official campaign launch event in January. The details are still to be determined, and will be posted on his campaign website, NYNick4Congress.com. To find out more about Nicholas Antonucci and his campaign, you can visit his website (mentioned above) or contact him directly by e-mail, using his campaign e-mail address, [email protected]