By Isabel Stellato
My name is Isabel Stellato, and I’m excited to join WVEC for the 2024 legislative session! I’m a North Carolina native, but a West Virginian by choice for the past year and a half.
I studied Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I graduated in May 2022 with a bachelor’s degree. As a student, I interned as a reporter at the Gaston Gazette in Gastonia, North Carolina, and had work published in a handful of local newsrooms, including The News and Observer and NC Health News.
I worked as an executive assistant at Capitol Market in Charleston, WV, where I had many opportunities to see the profound impact of legislative processes on West Virginians. One of my responsibilities involved administering SNAP Stretch, a federally-funded program that allows EBT cardholders to multiply their food stamps by up to four times. I’ve seen many moms, dads, and grandparents brought to tears after realizing they could afford enough groceries to bring home. Moments like that clarify the purpose of the legislative process and why lobbying matters in the first place: to create good public policy that makes West Virginia a fairer place.
In addition to seeing the direct impact of SNAP Stretch, I also attended the 2023 Food and Farms Day at the legislature to speak with lawmakers about the program, in hopes of securing permanent funding. This experience further sparked my interest in the legislative process and eventually led me to WVEC.
West Virginia deserves a sustainable future, and I’m excited to be part of a team pushing diligently for fairer, greener legislation in the Mountain State. Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments throughout the 2024 session!