By: Dr. Kelli Criss
Our Faith in Florida series aims to familiarize the faith community with Florida’s most influential leaders like candidates running for office in 2020 who uphold Judeo-Christian values. We posed four questions to leaders. Each blog shares a particular leader’s responses with you. We thank God for the service of these leaders and pray for them daily. Today, we profile Anna Paulina Luna.
Anna Paulina Luna
Anna Paulina Luna is a Republican running to unseat former Republican turned Democrat Charlie Crist in Florida’s Congressional District 13. As a proud Hispanic-American of Mexican descent, Anna was raised in the lower-income neighborhoods of Southern California by a single mother. Anna’s formative years involved challenges like dealing with her father’s addiction struggles, losing her grandmother to AIDS contracted from heroin use, and being on-campus in high school when a fatal gang shooting took place.
A United States Air Force (USAF) veteran and recipient of the Air Force Achievement Medal, Anna was honorably discharged with five years of USAF active duty service and one year of service in the Air National Guard. Her undergraduate degree in Biology is from the University of West Florida.
Anna has served as the Director of Hispanic Engagement for Turning Point U.S.A., a non-profit whose mission is to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government. Currently, Anna serves as the Chairwoman of Hispanic Initiatives at PragerU.
As Saint Petersburg, Florida residents, Anna and her husband, Andy, met while serving in the USAF and were together when Andy was shot by enemy combatants in Afghanistan, for which he earned a Purple Heart. A decorated warrior, Andy was also awarded the Bronze Star and deployed to the Middle East four times.
Let’s dive into Anna’s responses to four questions about her beliefs and goals.
Your Faith’s Influence
How has your faith influenced your decision to run for office and to serve Florida?
I am a Christian and I absolutely do believe God has worked in my life to prepare me for this position. I can say that it was my faith that kept me going and out of trouble growing up, even when I had almost zero adult supervision and parental figures. Everything I stand for is backed by my faith to include my very pro-life stance on abortion. I am not afraid to talk about my faith in a public setting or on any of my public platforms.
In August 2018, I was called by Charlie Kirk [founder TPUSA] one day before I was supposed to go to medical school. He offered me a job with TPUSA as the National Director of Hispanic Engagement. I had less than 24 hours to decide if I would be staying or going to medical school. I did not want to end up like Jonah and the whale, as I saw leading up to this time many indicators that I was being called to get involved in politics.
Once I decided to stay, I ended up slingshotting to a position that has since become one of the most influential positions for a young woman in politics nationally. I have also since worked with PRAGER U, the Heritage Foundation, and a few other incredible non-profits. That was all God. I had no connections and doors opened in areas that I did not think possible. All I did was follow my faith.
Top 2021 Public Policy Priorities
Considering your faith, what are your top public policy priorities in 2021?
1. Protecting Freedom of Religion: This is the backbone of the country and why the US was founded in the first place. This is my main priority as well as repealing the Johnson Amendment as this has prevented the church from speaking on biblical instruction that overlaps with voting and prevents freedom of speech.
2. Pro-life: I want to fully end late term abortion and abortion, in general. A federal ruling in the instance of Roe v. Wade is wrong. Not only has there been far more scientific evidence that has come forth to prove (from a scientific perspective) what type of pain a developing baby can feel, but it also completely does away with the sovereignty of the state.
3. Protecting the Second Amendment: This is the ONLY amendment that is put in place to ensure that every single other aspect of our constitution is protected to include freedom of religion.
4. Fighting Marxism
Who has greatly influenced your relationship with God, whether family, mentor, friend, faith leader, or public figure?
My Dad. Although my dad struggled with a very severe drug addiction and was not really in my life, he was the only one that would continue to try to bring me to church when he had visitation with me. He made church part of the time we spent together.
What books are you reading currently?
The Bible and The Heritage Foundation’s Policy Solution Handbook.
Getting to Know Anna Paulina Luna
For more information about Anna Paulina Luna, check out her campaign website.
We’re excited to be profiling additional leaders who serve Florida’s faith community throughout the remainder of 2020. Be on the lookout for our Faith in Florida series. Visit our Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition website and read previous blogs to learn more about us.