Destin's Regina Piazza announces candidacy for state Senate in 2nd District

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

Destin’s Regina Piazza has “thrown her hat into the ring” as a Republican candidate for the Florida Senate's 2nd District seat. 

“Politician, I am not,” Piazza said as she dropped her son off at soccer practice at Morgan Sports Center and was traveling to the Destin Aquatic Center to pick up her daughter from swimming. 

“I’m absolutely a Judeo-Christian conservative first. I’m a constitutionalist second. And I’m a Republican third. And there is no stepping out of that order — period,” she said. 

Regina Piazza is running for state Senate in the 2nd District. She is pictured here with her family, from left, Elizabeth, Caroline, Jack, Regina and her husband Tom.

George Gainer of Panama City currently holds that 2nd District Senate seat and is listed as active on the Florida Division of Elections website. Gainer has $48,500 in the bank and had donations of $11,500 come in during January and $5,500 in February, but nothing has been posted for March or April. 

Piazza announced her candidacy April 1 and said her support is “shocking.” 

More news about town:Destin Commons welcomes new eatery and retail stores; events on tap the next few months

More:Capt. Royal Melvin Heritage Park to be 'gateway' to the harbor

“So, we have gone bravely and courageously with the Lord. The provision in the last month-and-a-half, it is beyond extraordinary. It is jaw dropping and beyond anything we could have hoped or imagined. It is beyond words,” she said. 

“The backing that we have right now, not saying this to blow wind, but it is shocking and so compelling. People are coming up to me and saying, ‘You don’t know how much support you have behind you. We are walking by faith and not by sight,’” Piazza added. 

As of earlier this week, nothing had been posted on the election website as far as contributions. 

Why run for office? 

Piazza, who has never run for any kind of political office, said she felt compelled to run after getting a nudge from God. 

“He made it very clear in January 2020,” Piazza said. 

She was attending a Franklin Graham event in Panama City with friends. 

“At the beginning of the evening, Franklin Graham said this is going to be the most historical election in history and of course it was,” she said. 

She said Graham told the crowd that as Christians “You must stand up. ... It’s our calling.” 

“So, you need to either run, need to pray for someone or you need to support them financially,” Piazza said. 

At that point, she got a punch from a gal who was sitting to her right and said, “He’s talking to you.” The girl on her left, not knowing about the one on the right, tapped her on the shoulder and said, “You’re up.” 

Destin's Regina Piazza, 51, is running for state Senate in Florida's 2nd District.

“I literally got it on both sides,” Piazza said. 

She took that as a confirmation, that God was calling her to run for office.  

So, for the next year-and-a-half, “We started doing our due diligence,” she said. 

During that time, Piazza kept a journal specifically about “run with purpose because that was the word the Lord gave me,” she said. 

Piazza started attending Destin City council meetings, watching school board meetings in different counties and attending the Republican executive meetings. 

Coming soon:The Edge Seafood and SkyBar to open soon on Destin harbor

“I was really prayerful and doing a lot of research. Where may I participate with you, clearly you are calling me,” she said. 

Last summer, Piazza said the Lord dropped it in her heart to run for for the state Senate. 

“God calls the willing, not the equipped, because he equips the willing,” she said. 

“I will be easily able to tell you and affirm to you the history of my life, the experiences that God has gifted me with throughout my life and even being a support representative with (the Christian home-school program) Classical Conversation across the Emerald Coast, I would have never thought in a million years that it would translate so specifically into this time. But that’s just God,” Piazza said. 

Who is Regina Piazza? 

Piazza, 51, is the wife of Tom Piazza and mother to three, Elizabeth, 20, and 10-year-old twins Jack and Caroline. 

The Piazzas attend Destiny Worship Center in Miramar Beach. 

“We’re not just members; we actively serve the people not just within the four walls of the church but outside the four walls in various ways,” she said.  

They have been in Destin for four years. 

“We are a 22-year Air Force family,” she said. 

Her husband of nearly 15 years retired about eight years ago, and four years ago they were called to the area to start the Air Force's first invisible wound center on Eglin Air Force Base. Today it is known as the Intrepid Spirit Center.

More:Celebrate lives, lead the fight at American Cancer Society's Relay For Life event in Niceville

“It’s a first of its kind for the department of the Air Force in that it is integrative clinic for special operations only that are active duty," Piazza said. "So, we were called down here to stand up that clinic. 

“I am an Air Force veteran myself,” she added, noting she was a plumber in the Air Force in civil engineering. "When you are an active-duty military family and you move almost every two years, this is not just Dad’s thing but the entire family.

“We’ve been a home educating family for a long time,” Piazza said. They home-school with Classical Conversation. 

When they moved to the Emerald Coast, Piazza took a leadership role as a support representative with Classical Conversation for the area from Miramar Beach to Gulf Breeze and up to Crestview, with the exception of Niceville. 

Tom Piazza was serving as director of the clinic and his patients were active duty and their wives were home educators with Classical Conversation. 

“There were a lot of crossovers in what we were doing,” she said. “He would get them one end and I would have the privilege to mentor, shepherd, equip, inspire in different ways.” 

In November 2021 she stepped away from her position with Classical Conversations as she was preparing to run for office. 

What are Piazza’s priorities? 

“My absolute priority is education,” she said. 

Piazza is a strong advocate for parental choice in schools and curriculum geared toward academic achievement. She also says getting back to the "basics" of education is key to training citizens for tomorrow.

"We are working to compel three generations into being citizens who flourish," she said.

"If we don't have citizens who are able to think and reason and to therefore flourish, they cannot provide for themselves. It all comes back to education," Piazza said.