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.

Jose Luis Magana / AP

The U.S. House passed the $1.9 pandemic relief package largely along party lines early Saturday morning, but not all Western Pennsylvania members showed up for the vote. U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, who represents Erie and other counties in Northwestern Pennsylvania, opted to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, instead.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Dr. Rachel Levine said she would continue to promote science and fact-based COVID-19 guidance if confirmed to be Assistant U.S. Secretary of Health during a hearing before a U.S. Senate committee Thursday. Pennsylvania’s former top health official would be the first openly transgender federal official confirmed by the Senate, and while the majority of questions were about the pandemic, Levine also fielded a series of questions that some groups decried as transphobic.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb joined service workers on Monday afternoon in support of a $15 minimum wage hike. But while Democrats are including the measure in upcoming legislation, there are several roadblocks standing in the way of its passage.

Andrew Harnik / AP

A Philadelphia Democrat, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, is running for Pennsylvania's open U.S. Senate seat in next year's election.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Americans who can’t afford to pay for internet access, or who live in rural parts of the country without broadband infrastructure, could get help from Congress’s next pandemic relief package. On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle led a Congressional hearing to evaluate how federal support would impact students and families who have had trouble getting online during the pandemic.

Pittsburgh Public Schools

An increasing amount of scientific evidence suggests that in-person learning, especially for younger students, presents a low risk for spreading the coronavirus. But last month, Pittsburgh Public Schools delayed reopening at least until April, a move that frustrated many working parents.

Matt Rourke / AP

Republican voters in Pennsylvania abandoned their party at higher rates last month than they did last year, movement that experts say was likely sparked by the Jan. 6 insurrection in the U.S. Capitol.  

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

In a talk with constitiuents Monday, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb praised President Joe Biden’s efforts to speed up vaccine distribution as it takes the reins from the Trump Administration, and condemned a Republican lawmaker who endorsed the execution of top Democrats.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

When U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler and U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly voted against the certification of election results following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, they joined many Republican members of Congress who stand to lose future campaign contributions from some of the largest corporate interests in the country.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Health care workers at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital say some of the hospital’s COVID-19 practices don’t sufficiently protect patients or staff from contracting the coronavirus – and that social-media posts from a supervisor questioning the severity of the pandemic have made the situation even more nerve-wracking.

Matt Slocum / AP

On this week's Explainer:

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been slow and uneven.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Hours after pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol to protest what they falsely believed was a stolen election, members of Congress resumed certifying the Electoral College vote for President.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Many Pennsylvania elected officials have spoken out against the insurrection in the U.S. Capitol Wednesday. But the strength of their denunciations varied -- and some public figures even appear to have joined the mob in Washington, D.C.

Mark Tenally / AP

As Congress wraps up its 116th session, diligent constituents may check in to see how their representatives fared at authoring legislation. In western Pennsylvania, Democrat Conor Lamb was the only Congressman to get anything signed by President Trump. But tallying up how many bills a member of Congress gets signed into law is just one of many ways to gauge efficacy.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Western Pennsylvania Republicans were forced to weigh their loyalty to President Trump on Monday when the U.S. House voted on two major pieces of legislation. One of Trump’s most faithful supporters broke with the President twice, and another found himself voting against defense spending he'd previously supported.

Matt Rourke / AP

Domestic violence shelters in western Pennsylvania say they’re seeing an increase in hotline calls, amid worries that a difficult and isolating winter is on the way.


The coronavirus could force nearly half of Pennsylvania restaurants to close permanently in 2021 if business owners don’t get more relief soon, according to the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association.



Livestream Press Conference

On Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced sweeping new restrictions Thursday to limit the spread of the coronavirus. And while it remains to be seen how strictly the rules will be enforced when they take effect this weekend, state agencies say they are “prepared to take more strict enforcement actions” – and at least one local critic of an earlier round of restrictions is tempering his criticism this time.

Jared Murphy and Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania certified Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election weeks ago. But President Trump’s campaign and some allies are still fighting the outcome in court. For the final installment of our Split Ticket series, 90.5 WESA asked four Western Pennsylvania voters – who we’ve been following for the last year – how they feel about the outcome.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Allegheny County residents responded to the U.S. Census at a higher rate this year than they did a decade ago, a bright spot in an otherwise challenging year for Census advocates.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

The 2020 general election results were made official in Allegheny County on Monday morning when the Board of Elections voted to certify the results -- even though a court order hours later will require the board to adjust its total.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Election workers in Allegheny County will be able to count 2,349 mail-in ballots that were received by Election Day but weren't dated by voters, according to a new court ruling Wednesday. The decision, and a companion ruling about other ballots called into question, could decide the outcome of a hotly contested state Senate race. Republicans filed an appeal later in the day.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

An Allegheny County judge heard arguments Tuesday morning about whether 2,349 mail-in ballots that came in by Election Day should be counted, even though voters forgot to write down the date themselves before returning the ballots.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Western Pennsylvania Republican Guy Reschenthaler alleged on conservative media this week that “voter fraud here is constantly an issue” in Pennsylvania, though some of his claims fly in the face of what is known about the 2020 election.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

While legal fights over election results and vote counting loom large in many swing states that handed President-elect Joe Biden his victory, Allegheny County has largely avoided controversy — even as it prepares for new vote-counting challenges in the coming days.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County won't start tabulating its last 35,000 ballots until tomorrow, including up to 29,000 from voters who originally got the wrong ballot. And although beginning that work Friday has been the plan for nearly a month now – a plan backed up by a federal court order – the brief hiatus in counting somehow managed to throw an already contentious election into even deeper chaos.

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Andrew Harnik / AP

With Election Day less than a day away, former Vice President Joe Biden visited western Pennsylvania to make his final pitch to voters. After speaking in Cleveland earlier in the day Monday, Biden kicked-off a three-stop swing through the region with a mid-afternoon speech in Beaver County.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Black voting rights activists in western Pennsylvania have assembled a support team to address instances of voter intimidation at the polls on Tuesday, though it's unclear if those worries will be realized.

Keith Srakocic | AP (left) / Krist Gnibus campaign (right)

One of President Donald Trump's staunchest supporters is U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, who has represented northwest Pennsylvania for the decade. This year, he’s being challenged by first-time candidate Democrat Kristy Gnibus.