MEET: Annie Vinatieri of Hazleton

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Annie Vinatieri, constituent relations specialist with the Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Annie Vinatieri is a constituent relations specialist with the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, working with rep. Tarah Toohil. She is a volunteer and board member with the Greater Hazleton Historical Society and Museum, where she specializes in community outreach and museum education. she works as a part-time waitress at the Battered Mug in Hazleton. Vinatieri, 27, was born in Southern California but has lived in the Hazleton area for most of her life. She is graduate of Immanuel Christian School in Hazleton and Bloomsburg University, where she received a degree in history.

How did you get involved with the Pennsylvania House of Representatives? That actually came across my desk through networking, and through contacts in the community and my community involvement. Representative Toohil was familiar with me. We had met through being on some different community boards together and we had some mutual friends who said to her, “We know you have this opening, and we think she’d be great for it.” I put my hat in the running with everyone else and was selected for the position.

What do you enjoy about it? I love that it allows me to have a little bit of a pulse on the community. It allows me to feel the needs of the community, and we definitely have some challenges. You meet lot of interesting characters and really wonderful, hard-working, dedicated people. We’re able to bring some change in the community that’s really positive, and I’ve been able to meet some really neat people from all walks of life.

How did you get involved with the historical society and museum? During college, I needed to do some interning and had reached out to some places, and the Hazleton Museum was one that reciprocated. I also did some interning at Eckley Miners’ Village, loved both places, and suddenly found myself becoming a student of local history. And I fell in love with the charm and the unique aspects of our local region. It really grabbed me. The humanity of it grabbed me. It really drew me in.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? I love to play tennis and I love live music. I also teach a history enrichment class once a week at the Hazleton One Community Center and I’m an assistant director with Hazleton POWER.

Favorite music? I love classical music and good, swinging big bands. I love Kay Kyser and The Dorsey Brothers. And I don’t think anyone else could rip up a drum set like Gene Krupa. I also love world music. I love Jimi Hendrix. I love Jim Morrison. It really depends on my mood as to what strikes my fancy.

Follow sports? I’m a Lakers fan, because I’m a California girl, and everybody hates me for that. And I’m a Patriots fan, and everybody hates me for that, too. But I also occasionally like the Colts, because my relative, my third-cousin, plays for the Colts. (Adam Vinatieri.) He’s actually looking at becoming a Hall of Famer. That’s why I love the Pats, because that’s who he used to play for. But now, if it’s a Colts/Pats game, I go with family and cheer for him.

Favorite color? I can’t say. I love blues and greens, but I also love a mean orange, or black, or purple. Depends on my mood.

Favorite city? Philadelphia. There’s just a charm. It’s a little gritty and it’s still small enough that you don’t get so lost. It has a really rich history and a neat vibe to it.

Favorite vacation spot? Colorado. I love the Rocky Mountains.

Favorite thing about NEPA? It’s a tie between its awesome ethnic food and its really out of control NEPA accent. I love the accent. It has such character and flavor to it.

Favorite food? Mexican.

All-time favorite movies? “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” “The Princess Bride” and “To End All Wars.”

All-time favorite TV show? “Antiques Roadshow.”

Favorite holiday? Christmas.

Favorite quote or catchphrase? “Stupid is as stupid does,” which my grandmother used to say.

Favorite book or author? My favorite short story author is O. Henry. I also love Susan Wise Bauer, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Biggest pet peeve? People that are chronically on time. And racism.

Guilty pleasure? I love balsamic vinegar on just about everything.

What might surprise even your friends about you? I’m a classically trained soprano. And I’m also in a shuffleboard league. And in August I’ll be in the production of “Mary Poppins” at the Pennsylvania Theater of the Performing Arts in Hazleton. I’ll be singing and acting in the role of Mrs. Banks. It’s my first foray into musical theater and I am very excited about it.

Most influential people on your life? I give a lot of people credit for shaping me. My grandmother was a huge inspiration to me, and my Mom and Dad have been an absolutely terrific example of selfless service to anybody and everybody. It was drilled into me from day one to have an open heart and an open home, and with my Dad being a minister, to show God’s love to the world. And that was lived out, very poignantly, right in front of me.