Conversations with Jeff Vanke

Another email conversation I had over the questionnaire was with Jeff Vanke (another VA politician). His conversation with me is as follows:

Dear Meghan,

Thank you for writing. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to receive one of these candidate surveys from someone who actually lives in our District.

In answer to all three questions at the following URL, my answer is Yes. I support ADA. I also want to endorse what several ADA advocates said at a 20th-anniversary luncheon in Harrisonburg a couple of weeks ago, which is that ADA accommodation requirements should be reasonable.

Jeff V.

Dear Jeff,

Wow! I have to say this is the fastest I’ve *EVER* received a response from someone in regards to one of the advocacy letters I’ve (e)mailed out. In general a response comes in 2-3 months. Thank you for taking the time to respond so quickly.

I know, from personal experience, that the ADA and EEOC is not strictly followed within our commonwealth. They seem to think that seizures aren’t as big of an issue as some other disabilities that are more prevalent within the US. Since moving to Virginia I have devoted my life and work to helping our citizens, and some agencies have forgotten that helping people doesn’t necessarily stop with the client at hand.

On a more direct note, how far would you fight for increased funding to the NIH, CDC and HRSA? I know, for example, part of my treatment depends entirely on the NIH’s funding and what they have available.

Sorry for writing such direct questions at this time of night. I was honestly surprised to get an answer this late, and wanted to make sure I responded before work tomorrow.

Thank you again,


Dear Meghan,

I can’t promise anything right now on NIH, CDC, HRSA, until I know much more detail about existing programs and the other things that might be funded, within those agencies and beyond them, including beyond health care. So I’m afraid I have to disappoint by saying that while I think ongoing expansion of their funding is desirable, I can’t say how hard I would fight for wha,t until I am better informed than I currently am.


Dear Jeff,

That’s fine. I’d rather someone say I don’t know than talk circles. I’ve learned a lot more than I ever wished to know due to my condition as it worsened. The NIH is a wonderful agency within the federal government which provides research money, that especially in disorders like Epilepsy is greatly needed. Those dollars go to direct research within the agency, case studies to provide things like PET scans and MRI scans, grants to research facilities like Johns Hopkins and UVa. It is an amazing organization that I would hate to see lose funding due to petty politics.

If there are every any questions I can answer for you, please feel free to ask. We’re downtown, so I’d be happy to answer any questions I can.

I hope you have a wonderful evening, and thank you again for responding so quickly.



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