Events & News


Seizure star: Assemblywoman, Valerie Vainieri Huttle

Our quarterly seizure stars are adults or children who have gone above and beyond to raise awareness about epilepsy and seizures, to raise funds for resources and future research, and who have been all-round stars in promoting knowledge in their community. This issue's Seizure Star is Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle because of the incredible work she is doing in advancing the lives of those living with epilepsy in New Jersey.  Read all about the bills she has introduced and how these could translate into very meaningful changes for you.  

Tell our readers a little about yourself. Why did you decide to enter politics?

As a funeral director, helping families at a most difficult time in their lives has been my foundation for public service. First elected to the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2001, and selected to serve as Chair in 2003 to 2004, I quickly became an advocate for women, children and families. In 2005, I was elected to the NJ General Assembly where I am now serving my seventh term representing the 37th District. 

As Deputy Speaker and Chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee, I sponsored several landmark laws including the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, the Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection and Treatment Act, Tobacco 21, and other measures to improve the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities. Clearly, my legislative path continues to focus on helping others. 

How long have you been working with the Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey and is there a reason that you became interested in this community? How can you as a politician help bring about important changes for those living with epilepsy in New Jersey?  What are some of the projects you are working on that might affect persons with epilepsy?

Working with the Epilepsy Foundation of NJ over the past several years has been truly rewarding and most productive. After listening to the challenges and concerns from families of those living with epilepsy, I quickly became interested in the issues and was ready to assist. I felt strongly that we needed to raise awareness within the greater community. Therefore, education and public awareness about epilepsy is vital. The following pieces of legislation were introduced in collaboration with the Epilepsy Foundation and medical professionals.

A2270: Prohibits substitution by a pharmacist to prescribe epilepsy medication without notification and written consent of physician and patient. It requires the prescription to include notation of epilepsy diagnosis.

A3326: Removes references to epilepsy from the law requiring doctors and patients to report certain medical conditions to the Motor Vehicle Commission. Epilepsy is a catch-all phrase and this legislation would instead encourage language related to seizure-specific experiences.

A2367: Requires the Department of Health to update their website regarding epilepsy and increase public outreach efforts, including to health care professionals, teachers, and parents.

How do some of these projects get done? Do you need to gain the support of foundations, local doctors, patient advocates?

As a legislator, I have a responsibility to serve the people in my district and the state to the best of my ability. It would be difficult to have legislation signed into law without the support of various stakeholders and passionate advocates. Effective policy is made possible when a community works collaboratively. Together, with the Epilepsy Foundation at the table, we can continue to advocate for good reform and legislation.

Twitter Facebook