Oracle unseen: Republican Reinicke plunges into politics

Ann Reinicke admits she has a tendency to jump in over her head. Certainly that was the case with her current job, teaching UVA employees how to use the university's new Oracle software. "I'd never seen Oracle," she says.


And that's how Reinicke (which rhymes with that muffler company) found herself running for City Council as a Republican.


A newcomer to city life, the former Afton resident was itching to be more involved in the community– "but living 30 minutes away made it harder," she says.


As luck would have it, the Republicans were itching to find candidates to run for the Dem-dominated council.


Reinicke didn't plan on being quite that involved. She started as block representative in her lower-income Prospect Avenue neighborhood. She's aware her choice of 'hoods is interesting, particularly for a software teacher and a Republican. But, she asks, "If you're going to make a difference, where better?"


"I found that as a white woman, there were some stereotypical things to get over and some trust issues," she says.


She says that living in a high-crime area prompted her to join the citizen's police academy. And to start attending City Council meetings.


In trying to get a stop sign for her neighborhood, she talked to council's lone Republican, Rob Schilling, who encouraged her to get involved as a Republican.


Reinicke calls herself fiscally conservative, but on social issues, she says, she's probably more liberal than the typical Republican. Asked about her favorite political women, she names the late Emily Couric and Meredith Richards– both Democrats.


When local Republicans asked her to run for City Council, Reinicke was just the woman to see such an undertaking as her civic duty.


"It wasn't an aspiration," she says, "but what an opportunity to make a difference."


Reinicke says her strength is her ability to pull people together, to see more than one side of an issue and connect with people "who've been left by the wayside."


And there's one other quality that could make her a formidable contender: "The worst thing you can do is tell me I can't do something."


Age: 50 and proud of it


What brought you here? Desire to make a difference


What's worst about living here? Shopping– we need more variety in the city.


Favorite hangout? Pretty much anywhere outdoors


Most overrated virtue? Webster defines a virtue as goodness. How can you overrate that?


What would people be surprised to know about you? I'm running for public office.


If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would like to finish my degree, but things keep popping up that need attention.


What accomplishment are you proudest of? Being involved with the Charlottesville Police Department/Quality Community Council and their Block Representative Program


What do people find most annoying about you? I tend to speak my mind and sometimes step on toes. Ouch!


Whom do you admire? My co-workers. They have to put up with me eight hours a day Monday through Friday.


Favorite book? Monsters Under My Bed by Shel Silverstein (Can you tell I have three kids?)


What subject causes you to rant? Someone cutting me off in traffic and people who don't understand what merge means


What thrills you about life in the 21st century? Technology. It's truly amazing what's happening every day.


What creeps you out about life in the 21st century? Technology. Same as above


What do you drive? Honda S2000 when I'm having a mid-life crisis (this is on loan from my son),'98 Ford Ranger when I'm hauling, '94 VW Passat when running errands, and my daughter's Jeep Wrangler when we carpool to work


What's in your car CD/tape player right now? S2000: Coldplay, Ranger: Celtic music, Passat: Herbie Mann, and the Jeep: Linkin Park


What's your next journey? Every day is a new journey. I believe I just started a journey running for City Council.


What's the most trouble you've ever gotten in? When I was 14 and sailed my sail-board past the bridge my dad said was off limits. I just had to see what was on the other side and to show him I could do it. He didn't see it from my point of view, and he sold the boat.


What do you regret? Not having enough time in the day to do everything I want


Favorite comfort food? Hot fudge sundae, low carb, of course


What's always in your refrigerator? Diet drinks


Must-see TV? Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Trading Spaces, Fox News, West Wing, and of course, 29 news


Favorite cartoon? Road Runner


Describe a perfect day. The weather fits my mood.


Walter Mitty fantasy? After seeing my picture in the paper, I would have to say this one: "Wouldn't it be fun to be on the cover of a magazine and have your face and body touched up like the celebrities do? "


Who'd play you in the movie? I hope Sissy Spacek


Most embarrassing moment? Sneaking up on my husband and grabbing his "love handles," only to see the shocked face of a stranger. They had on the same shirt.


Best advice you ever got? You need to pick the hills to die on.


Favorite bumper sticker? If City Council won't change, Change City Council


Ann Reinicke