Lucy Perkins


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.


New documents released Thursday show the Federal Emergency Management Agency only fulfilled only a fraction of requests for equipment to fight the coronavirus, leaving states like Pennsylvania short hundreds of thousands of items needed to protect healthcare providers and others.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Wolf has issued stay-at-home orders across Pennsylvania as the coronavirus spreads. The directives are meant to save lives, but for victims of domestic violence, being stuck at home with their abusers can be extremely dangerous.

90.5 WESA

To avoid going out in public, many are turning to online ordering and delivery for basic necessities like groceries. But the coronavirus has created obstacles for many who rely on food stamps. In many states  people who receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are not allowed to use their benefits to order groceries online and have them delivered.

Allegheny County

The Allegheny County Health Department said on Saturday that there is “community spread” of the coronavirus in the southwestern Pennsylvania region.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb has called for President Trump to use presidential war powers to produce more ventilators and other supplies needed to fight the coronavirus. But by Friday afternoon, it wasn't clear whether Trump would do so. Lamb said using the Defense Production Act could help drastically ramp up the creation of masks, ventilators, and other equipment needed to tackle the fast spreading coronavirus.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

A new election law in Pennsylvania allows registered voters to cast their ballots by mail. It’s meant to make voting more accessible, which is why some organizers have been planning for months to use it to boost turnout. And as the coronavirus spreads, there may be unintended benefits of voting by mail.

Screengrab of Fox News via Youtube

Republican candidate Sean Parnell wants to flip the 17th Congressional district from blue to red in November, and among the new supporters he's attracted in the district, one name stands out: his own. When Parnell kicked off his campaign against incumbent Democrat Conor Lamb last fall, he lived just a few miles outside the district lines, making him unable to vote in the 17th.

Matt Rourke / AP

Three Republican candidates are now hoping to replace outgoing House Speaker Mike Turzai in the 28th District, making for the first competitive contest the district has seen in years. Michael Heckmann and Libby Blackburn will join Rob Mercuri on the ballot in April.

Jose Luis Magana / AP

While Pennsylvania officials made assurances Wednesday that the state's medical community is preparing for a potential coronavirus outbreak, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey accused President Trump of not taking the outbreak seriously.

Matt Rourke / AP

Voting-rights groups have asked a federal court to be included in a lawsuit alleging improper maintenance of voter rolls in Allegheny County -- a suit the groups fear could result in voters being unintentionally disenfranchised.

Michelle R. Smith / AP

State officials warned the public on Friday to be aware of Census-related scams, following a Philadelphia Inquirer report that Republicans had used a Census-like form in a political mailing.

Alan Diaz / AP

More than 20,000 Pennsylvanians have already applied online to vote by mail in the upcoming presidential primary, the first under a new state law that allows the practice.

Jared Murphy and Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Polling shows that health care is a top concern for voters across the country, and voters in Western Pennsylvania are no exception. The voters in our Split Ticket series are divided on how to address the issue. Two people want to expand government health care – and while the other two don’t, they have each turned to public services for help.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

As 2020 presidential candidates court voters in early states, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has introduced legislation to make polling places more accessible to voters across the country, addressing a concern among many voters with disabilities.  

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Proposals to ban fracking have divided Democratic presidential candidates on the national stage, and the issue is already looming over a closely-watched western Pennsylvania Congressional race.

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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.