Team

KELLY ALLEN – EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Kelly Allen is the executive director at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. She is a lifelong West Virginian who joined the WVCBP team in 2018. She holds a B.A. in political science and communications from West Virginia University and a Master of Public Administration from Penn State University. Prior to joining the WVCBP, Kelly advocated for health policy and saw the importance of the Medicaid expansion and access to health coverage for the people of our state. As director of the WVCBP, she engages with residents, stakeholders, and lawmakers on tax and budget issues, health policy, and issues that impact women and families. She has authored multiple reports for the WVCBP including Smoothing the Transition: A Medicaid Buy-in Could Reduce Churn and Expand Health Insurance Coverage to Thousands of West Virginians. She lives in South Charleston with her husband, son, and dog, Enzo. Email Kelly.

RENEE ALVES – COMMUNICATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Renee Alves is the communications and development manager at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. Born and raised in California, she holds a B.A. in sociology and minors in civic engagement and public affairs from UCLA. Before joining the Center in 2020, Renee worked for the ACLU of Southern California’s Jails Project and served in the Peace Corps as a Children, Youth, and Family Volunteer in the Philippines. She is currently obtaining her Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan. In her free time, she enjoys playing soccer, hiking, and eating copious amounts of ice cream. Email Renee.

SETH DISTEFANO – POLICY OUTREACH DIRECTOR

Pronouns: He/him/his

Seth DiStefano is the policy outreach director at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. A native of Randolph County, WV, Seth is a graduate of Tygarts Valley High School and holds a B.A. in liberal arts and sciences from West Virginia University. Seth leads the government affairs work at the Center and is especially passionate about food security, tax justice issues, and building a better future for working families through policy change. Email Seth.

ALEX GALLO – COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Alex Gallo is the community engagement coordinator at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. Alex received a B.S. in Health Science from James Madison University, where she cultivated and deepened her passion for helping people in need. Prior to joining the Center, Alex worked with a variety of non-profit advocacy groups helping to build and lead civic engagement, socioeconomic, and environmental justice campaigns. Alex is mom to Jack and they love spending time exploring the outdoors with their dog, Gaia. Email Alex.

SEAN O’LEARY – SENIOR POLICY ANALYST

Pronouns: He/him/his

Sean O’Leary is the senior policy analyst at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. Since joining the Center in 2010, Sean has authored numerous reports on working family issues, economic development, and state and federal budget and tax policy, including annual reports on the state budget and the State of Working West Virginia. Sean also leads the WVCBP’s work contributing to the annual KIDS COUNT Data Book and serves on the board of directors for the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition. Sean holds a B.A. in political science and economics and a Master of Public Administration from West Virginia University. Email Sean.

RHONDA ROGOMBÉ – HEALTH AND SAFETY NET POLICY ANALYST

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Rhonda Rogombé is the health and safety net policy analyst at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. Rhonda holds a B.A. in economics and public policy and an M.A. in political science from Rutgers University, where she also competed in Division I track and field. Before joining the Center, Rhonda worked in non-profit and grassroots organizational settings within and outside of West Virginia, both of which inform her approach to research. In her free time, Rhonda enjoys performing in local theater productions, hiking, and hanging out with her impossibly hungry cat, Mittens. Email Rhonda.

KRYSTA REXRODE WOLFE – OPERATIONS AND EVENT COORDINATOR

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Krysta Rexrode Wolfe is the operations and events coordinator at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. Before joining the team, Krysta served the state by leading faith communities in Morgantown and Charleston. Krysta brings a decade of administrative experience and a passion for advocacy to her work. She holds a B.A. in Communication from West Virginia Wesleyan College and attended graduate school at Vanderbilt University. In her free time, Krysta enjoys volunteering with social justice organizations who seek to elevate the voices of women. She and her husband, Adam, value family time with their two children. Email Krysta.

SARA WHITAKER – CRIMINAL LEGAL POLICY ANALYST

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Sara is the criminal legal policy analyst at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. Prior to joining the Center, Sara spent nine years in the Kanawha County Public Defender’s Office, where she had the privilege to represent, and learn from, hundreds of West Virginians accused in state court. A native of Los Angeles, Sara has a bachelor’s and law degree from Northwestern University. Since 2018, she has served on the faculty of Gideon’s Promise, a national public defender training organization. Email Sara.

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