Garzola, athlete turned politician, runs for city commission


Photo of Richard Garzola

Richard Garzola was never interested in politics, but his desire to help others was always important to him.  This led to him making a very big decision.

The 23-year-old recent graduate of Florida State University is now one of five candidates running for Tallahassee City Commission Seat 3. 

Garzola was born and raised in Miami by two immigrant parents.  He came to FSU on a football scholarship and played linebacker for the Seminoles. He graduated in May. 

Garzola now calls Tallahassee his home, and he wants to see his home become better.

“As an advocate, that’s what I’m known for in the community. I wanted to run for city commission because I just felt my impact can be quantified in a larger platform,” Garzola said.

Garzola has been involved in several advocacy projects, including the anti-rally for white supremacy that took place in front of the state Capitol. He is also creating a non-profit called SMILE which stands for Shaping Minorities and Integrating Leaders through Education. 

Because of the work he has done for the community, he believes he is more than qualified to dedicate himself to the people of Tallahassee.

“You can identify me as someone who is just passionate about helping people. I have a non-profit that’s going to be on the way, I have a leadership summit that’s going to start this fall. That’s just the things I like to do genuinely before I ran, and I need people to understand that I’ll be doing that after,” Garzola said. 

Garzola’s plans to improve the city were influenced by minorities and the youth in Tallahassee.  He wants them to know that he is fighting for them and that he plans to initiate change.

“The people I’m doing this for, they are the ones I relate to the most. They are angry, and they are the ones who want change the most,” Garzola said.

Garzola has impacted many people including the people who are on his campaign team.  Ankevia Taylor, a third-year English student at FSU and Garzola’s public relations intern,  admires Garzola and his drive to help others. 

“I met Richard way before the campaign…He is authentically invested in the community, and authentically himself.  If you look at the things he’s done, its always been community service, its always been volunteer work.  For him, it’s not about winning, its about making a change,” said Taylor. 

Garzola is the youngest candidate for Seat 3. He will face Jeremy Matlow, Lisa Brown, Alexander Jordan and Bill Shack for in next month’s primary. 

“When it comes to my people, I’m going to work until I can’t work anymore,” said Garzola.