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. A California native, 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. Down the road, she plans to obtain a Master of Social Work, after which she hopes to practice clinical social work with incarcerated people and their families. In her free time, she enjoys playing soccer, hiking, eating copious amounts of ice cream, and asking people if she can pet their dogs. 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.

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 collaborates with West Virginia Kids Count for the annual West Virginia 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.

ASH ORR – POLICY OUTREACH COORDINATOR

Pronouns: They/them/theirs, he/him/him

Ash Orr is the policy outreach coordinator at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. Before joining the Center, Ash worked as a political organizer for RepresentUs and he currently serves as the Chair of the Morgantown Human Rights Commission. As a lifelong Appalachian, he is passionate about creating systemic change through activism, education, the creation of new ordinances and policies, and mutual aid. In their spare time, they are a La Croix connoisseur and enjoy gardening, traveling, adding to their rock collection, and playing board games with their spouse. Email Ash.

JACOB REDMAN – SUMMER POLICY ASSOCIATE

Pronouns: He/him/his

Jacob is the summer research associate at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. Jacob holds a B.A. in political science from Marshall University and an M.A. in international relations from American University’s School of International Service. Before joining the Center, Jacob worked as a legislative assistant, a research assistant, and a marketing specialist, as well as other miscellaneous jobs. Among Jacob’s work, he co-authored a report presented to the U.S. State Department’s Office of Policy Planning on challenges to U.S. national security. In his free time, he enjoys reading, a rad documentary, and time spent with his cat Missy. Email Jacob.

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-New Brunswick, 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. Most recently, she co-founded the Black Business Boost and became a leader for the Climate Reality Project. She enjoys cooking, hiking, and reading. Email Rhonda.

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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