Lucy Perkins

Reporter

Lucy Perkins is a reporter/producer for 90.5 WESA’s Government and Accountability team. Before joining the 90.5 WESA newsroom, Lucy was an NPR producer in Washington, D.C., working on news programs like All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. She also helped produce the Hidden Brain podcast and NPR’s 2016 election night special coverage. Lucy joined NPR as a Kroc fellow after interning with Michigan Radio. Lucy is a proud Midwesterner, from the tip of Michigan’s pinky finger.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County election officials have been on a shopping spree, having bought 40,000 blue pens, 15,000 folders, 5,000 clip boards, eight high-speed scanners, two high-speed letter openers and 1,400 rolls of "I Voted" stickers ahead of the 2020 primary.

AP

When President Trump ran for office four years ago, he said the government could save hundreds of billions of dollars on drug costs -- if it was allowed to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Not surprisingly, new financial reports show incumbents have a lot more money than their challengers heading into 2020. The latest campaign finance numbers, which capture fundraising through the end of 2019, show Democrat Conor Lamb leading the Western Pennsylvania field with nearly $1 million on hand at the year's end. His most notable Republican challenger, veteran and author Sean Parnell, reported finishing out the year with $219,267 on hand.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb voted with most Republicans, including Western Pennsylvania Congressmen Guy Reschenthaler and Mike Kelly, Thursday against a pair of amendments to limit President Trump's military authority in Iran, following the killing of a top Iranian general earlier this month. One amendment would require President Trump to get Congressional approval before using military force against Iran: The other repealed a 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force to fight terrorism in Iraq.

Bill Marx

A Democrat has announced his bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, a task many party leaders in the district were unsure who would take on until now. Democrat Bill Marx, of Delmont, announced his campaign in the 14th District Monday.

Michelle R. Smith / AP

The big push to count everyone in the United States starts on April 1, and in places like Pittsburgh, the U.S. Census Bureau needs to hire more people to do the work.

Toomey.Senate.Gov

A political uproar has exploded after a New York Times report that President Trump told his former national security advisor, John Bolton, he wanted to withhold military assistance to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation of one of his political rivals. Democrats have said Bolton must testify, and even some Republicans are reportedly considering whether to call witnesses to the Senate's ongoing impeachment trial. But Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey sent mixed signals on Monday.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

The path to presidential victory runs directly through Pennsylvania. The state holds 20 electoral votes and Donald Trump’s 2016 win was decided by less than 50,000 votes, or less than one percentage point. 

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is among a small chorus of critics of a new North American trade agreement that has drawn bipartisan support in Congress and White House approval. And the Pennsylvania senator raised his voice in opposition to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on the Senate floor Wednesday.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A federal judge assigned a mediator to work with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Teamsters union Thursday, with the intent to resolve a months-long legal battle. U.S. District Judge Nicholas Ranjan named Jed Melnick to mediate the dispute, though past mediators have not been successful in resolving issues between the newspaper company and unions. 

AP

U.S. Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey are split on whether the killing of Iran’s top military official was justified, following a classified briefing with senior administration officials Wednesday.

AP

Pennsylvanians paid at least $742 million in additional taxes in 2019 due to Trump administration tariffs, as well as the ongoing trade war with China. That’s up from $430 million in additional tariffs the state paid 2018.

AP

In December, a federal court ruling further weakened the Affordable Care Act by getting rid of the individual mandate that requires most Americans to have health care. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals kicked the lawsuit back to a lower court to decide whether the entire law is unconstitutional now that there’s no individual mandate in place.

AP

Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation in the U.S. House voted along party lines to impeach President Trump this week, and Pennsylvanians can see a similar divide between the state’s two U.S. Senators.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

The night before the House is scheduled to vote on articles of impeachment against President Trump, crowds gathered across southwestern Pennsylvania to show support for impeachment. Many found Trump’s actions so impeachable, they were shocked when 90.5 WESA asked why they chose to attend.

AP

More than 1,800 low-income Allegheny County residents could lose access to food assistance under a new Trump administration rule that tightens work requirements for able-bodied adults without kids. 

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

Pro-impeachment rallies are scheduled for Tuesday evening across Southwestern Pennsylvania – just hours before a US House vote on impeaching President Trump will take place on Wednesday. The effort will offer a response to anti-impeachment messages broadcast by Republican groups in recent months.

Jared Murphy and Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The path to presidential victory runs directly through Pennsylvania. The state holds 20 electoral votes and Donald Trump’s 2016 win was decided by less than 50,000 votes, or less than one percentage point. Polls show it will be a close race again in 2020. Over the next year, WESA is following four voters at the center of this election about the big issues that will sway their decisions at the ballot box.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The first post-election campaign finance reports show the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy spent more than $800,000 in cash and in-kind contributions in its bid to get voters to support a parks tax. That number includes a last-minute $19,000 mailing sent out by the conservancy in the final days of the election season. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

U.S. troops in Afghanistan had several Thanksgiving visitors last week, including President Trump and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-17). Lamb traveled to military bases abroad as part of a Congressional delegation which included members of the House Veterans’ Affairs committee, to meet with leadership and deployed troops.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Democrats in Washington County plan to ramp up criticism of what they call a lack of access to their Congressional representative, U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, starting with a Tuesday-afternoon protest at his Washington County district office.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

The U.S. Department of Justice charged 19 individuals associated with the local gang “Hustlas Don't Sleep” with drug trafficking Monday. The gang primarily operated in McKeesport, Turtle Creek, Wilkinsburg and Monroeville and sold fentanyl, crack cocaine, heroin and other substances in Allegheny County.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Several Western Pennsylvania veterans, including two military lawyers, are running for Congress next year. Two of them have publically backed President Trump’s controversial decision to pardon three members of the military who have been convicted or accused of war crimes — despite concerns that this may weaken military discipline and morale. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Newsroom staff at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will begin a byline strike Wednesday, removing their names from articles, in protest of what they deem a hostile work environment created by newspaper leadership.

Alex Brandon / AP

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey believes that presidents should not be allowed to unilaterally ban fracking -- and in the wake of Democratic promises to do just that, recently introduced a Senate resolution emphasizing that point.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The union representing employees in the circulation and delivery division at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette asked a federal judge on Wednesday to issue a temporary restraining order to halt layoffs in the department. In court filings, Teamsters Local Union No. 211 says the publishing company is denying work and health benefits to dozens of laid-off union employees, which is a violation of the union contract.

AP

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said Carnegie Mellon University is leading the way in automated transportation research on a visit to Pittsburgh Thursday, citing $8.4 million Department of Transportation grants the university received in conjunction with PennDOT.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

President Trump promised that his tariffs on imported steel would revitalize U.S. steel producers, but the policy has had the opposite effect for some mills in Western Pennsylvania. In the steel town of Farrell, for example, workers at NLMK USA are living through drastic work reductions.

File

The U.S. House voted on a resolution Thursday that formally begins an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, and western Pennsylvania congressmen -- like those almost everywhere else in the country -- voted along party lines.

Screengrab of Fox News via Youtube

Republican Sean Parnell announced his bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-17) on Fox News Wednesday, criticizing the Democrat’s voting record and pledging to better represent constituents.

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