Politics & Government

We cover politics and government with an eye to providing to voters clear, in-depth, nonpartisan information. 

Why Trump Probably Can't Bring Back Coal (Or Kill Renewables, Either)

Nov 14, 2016
Steve Helber / AP

Donald Trump's shocking victory in the 2016 presidential election will have reverberations on many aspects of American life. But many say one of the most serious is what it will mean for energy and environmental issues.

Matt Rourke / AP

Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has hired a new attorney to handle the appeals of her perjury and obstruction conviction and related jail sentence.

The Goldberg Katzman law firm confirmed that attorney Joshua Lock has been hired by Kane, but otherwise declined comment.

Kane is free on bond while she appeals her conviction and 10- to 23-month jail sentence. A jury found the 50-year-old Democrat guilty of felony perjury and other charges for leaking grand jury material to the media to embarrass a rival and then lying about it under oath.

Darron Cummings / AP

The Confluence – where the news comes together is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Each week reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist, and host, Kevin Gavin. They’ll go behind the headlines taking an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region. 

This week our panel of journalists discuss the presidential election results and the resignation of Police Chief Cameron McLay. We'll also check in with reporters in Harrisburg for a conversation on  how the commonwealth's election results will impact the House and Senate.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Unease, anger and a desire to take action motivated more than 300 people to gather at the Ace Hotel in East Liberty late Wednesday, prompting small group meetings, impromptu speakers and a protest curtailed by smoke bombs through nearby Shadyside.

Peduto Says Chief McLay Will Be Missed

Nov 9, 2016
Casey Chafin / 90.5 WESA

When Pittsburgh police chief Cameron McLay informed Mayor Bill Peduto that he was resigning, Peduto's first goal was to try and talk him out of it.

“At the beginning, I basically tried to diffuse it in a situation where you would say, ‘OK, where is it that you think things would be better?’” Peduto said.

But McLay said he realized tensions among the police bureau weren’t going to get better. The police union voted in September that it had no confidence in him after a series of bitter disagreements on a variety of issues, including forced overtime.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

I've been hearing for weeks that if you drove through western and central Pennsylvania, you'd see Trump signs everywhere, like mushrooms.

How could the polls showing Hillary Clinton so far ahead in the state have been so wrong?

Trump, who happily ignored the conventional tools of political campaigns, just did it his way and won.

An early look at the numbers suggests it was Trump's ability to excite and expand his populist base that got the job done.

Trump Clinches Presidency In Major Upset

Nov 9, 2016
Charles Krupa / AP

 

President-elect Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton congratulated him on his victory.

Shortly before clinching the election, the Republican scored an important victory in the presidential battleground of Pennsylvania, capturing a state critical to Democrats' White House hopes.

Matt Rourke / AP

 

 

Treasurer

 

Democrat Joe Torsella will be taking over an office marred by scandal after winning the race for Pennsylvania treasurer.

Torsella, of Montgomery County, beat Republican businessman Otto Voit of Berks County in Tuesday's election.

The 53-year-old Torsella was most recently a presidential appointee to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

Matt Slocum / AP

 

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey has narrowly defeated Democrat Katie McGinty.

History's most expensive Senate race concluded more than four hours after polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday with thousands still in line to cast their ballots.

Matt Slocum / AP

 

 

Democrat Josh Shapiro became Pennsylvania's next Attorney General in a close win over Republican opponent John Rafferty.

 

Shapiro, of Abington, is the chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners and was a member of the State House from 2005-12. Rafferty, of Lower Providence, spent three years as a deputy attorney general from 1988-91 and has served in the state Senate for 16 years.

 

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

 

 

Republican Sen. Keith Rothfus of Sewickley won Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District, defeating Democrat Erin McClelland of Harrison.

Rothfus, the incumbent, focused much of his campaign on growing the economy and helping veterans. The two-term congressman said he would fight for a simpler tax code and few intrusions from the federal government into the operations of businesses.

Matt Rourke / AP

Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey says he has voted for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, revealing his choice after saying for months that he hadn't been persuaded.

Toomey said after voting Tuesday night near his Allentown-area home that it was a tough call for him.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

A small army of volunteers is helping voters in Allegheny County who unexpectedly find themselves in the hospital today.

Until the state legislature passed a law in 2006 creating emergency absentee ballots, there was no way for someone who missed the absentee deadline could vote if they could not get to the polling place. 

“When I signed up for this I thought we’ll just walk to their room with a ballot and they would fill it out and that would be it… But no, it’s an all-day process,” said Betsy Butler of Greenfield, a volunteer with the Election Protection Program. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Update 3: 8:15 p.m.

Polling places were open in Pittsburgh until 8 p.m. Tuesday. 90.5 WESA reporters spoke to voters outside of polling places in Lawrenceville, South Side, Squirrel Hill and East Liberty about the issues that matter to them most and how they decided on their votes.

Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Today, as results come in across the country, NPR reporters will be updating this breaking news blog in real time. The NPR Politics team, along with Member station reporters, will be providing live updates in the form of photo, video, commentary and analysis for both national and local contested races.

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Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

 

Pittsburgh City Council has voted to approve a measure that will let it censure or fine members up to $500 for discussing "secret" executive session meetings.

Pennsylvania's Open Meetings Law lets municipal bodies meet secretly to discuss litigation, labor negotiations, personnel matters, criminal investigations or the purchase or lease of property. But the law doesn't require those matters to be discussed privately, nor does it ban elected officials from speaking about them.

A Live Map Of Voting Issues In Pennsylvania

Nov 7, 2016

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90.5 WESA is participating in Electionland, a ProPublica project that will cover access to the ballot and problems that prevent people from exercising their right to vote during the 2016 election.

 

Andrew Harnik / AP

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton drew thousands outside the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning on Monday.

“I’m here to ask you to vote for yourselves, vote for your families, vote for your futures, vote for the issues that matter to you because they are on the ballot, not just my name and my opponent’s name,” she said.

Clinton asked supporters to consider volunteering in the next 24 hours to get as many people to the polls as possible.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Tim Stevens waited inside the Meineke auto repair shop in Larimer for his car’s tune up, just in time for Election Day. He sorted through bags of flyers that he had taken out of the backseat of his car.

“Get Out and Vote!” and “Roll to the Polls” were printed on the neon orange papers.

AP

 

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump will spend the last day of the campaign in Pennsylvania.

Trump will hold a rally at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Lackawanna College Student Union in Scranton. Clinton will stop at the University of Pittsburgh for a noon rally before traveling to a rally in Philadelphia Monday night.

Dividing Lines: How PA's Elections Really Are Rigged

Nov 6, 2016
Lindsay Lazarski / Keystone Crossroads

In the months leading up to the 2016 election, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly made claims that the election is rigged. In a way, he’s right. Only the rigging happens long before anyone casts a ballot on Election Day and in most places it’s completely legal.

Gerrymandering is the age-old practice that’s made many teenagers’ eyes glaze over in high school civics class. In case you need a refresher, it’s the process of drawing election districts to give one political party — Republican or Democrat — an advantage over the other. 

How To Know If You're Being Intimidated At The Polls

Nov 5, 2016
Tony Gutierrez / AP

 

Lots of people will be heading to the polls Tuesday, especially this year. But if someone tries to block a voter from entering a polling place or aggressively tries to persuade them to vote for a particular candidate, Pennsylvania law says that’s not OK.

“It’s all based on the important safeguard that voters should be able to exercise their vote, vote their conscience, without unwanted, unmerited distraction including intimidation or any form of persuasion one way or the other,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of State Pedro Cortes.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Steelers legends, city and union leaders and working man rock icon Donnie Iris flanked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she addressed scores of supporters in the Great Hall at Heinz Field on Friday.

"I have a lot of ideas; I could keep you hear until the game starts on Sunday," Clinton said.

Full Interview With U.S. Senate Candidate Katie McGinty

Nov 4, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

With the exception of the presidential campaigns, the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Pat Toomey and Democratic challenger Katie McGinty is the most expensive in the country. The matchup is being closely watched because it’s one that could tip the balance of power in the senate in favor of the Democrats. 90.5 WESA’s Paul Guggenheimer talked with Katie McGinty about where she stands on issues including the economy, gun control, foreign policy, energy and the environment.

Full Interview With U.S. Senate Candidate Pat Toomey

Nov 4, 2016
Jared Wikerham / AP

With the exception of the presidential campaigns, the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Pat Toomey and Democratic challenger Katie McGinty is the most expensive in the country. The matchup is being closely watched because it’s one that could tip the balance of power in the Senate in favor of the Democrats. 90.5 WESA’s Paul Guggenheimer talked with Toomey about where he stands on some of the issues including the economy, gun control, foreign policy, energy and the environment.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Rick Bowmer / AP

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8 and there’s no need to head to the polls clueless. WESA has a handy guide the help you through it.

Matt Rourke / AP

 

A few weeks ago in Ambridge, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump wrapped up his speech with a request for Pennsylvanians to not just vote, but to monitor others.

“[It’s] so important that you watch other communities,” Trump said. “Because we don’t want this election stolen from us.”

McGinty And Toomey Agree On Fracking, But Not Regulations

Nov 3, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

Among several key issues that U.S. Senate candidates Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Katie McGinty sharply disagree on is how to produce energy, while protecting the environment. For example, McGinty supports fracking in Pennsylvania, but with increased regulations and a severance tax. Toomey is also pro-fracking, but wants to limit its regulation.

Iran Nuclear Deal Divides Toomey And McGinty

Nov 2, 2016
Jared Wickerham / AP

It’s been just more than a year since the Iran Nuclear Deal was signed. The controversial agreement between Iran, the United States and five other world powers puts limits on many of Iran’s nuclear programs in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. It’s one of the foreign policy issues on which U.S. Senate candidates Pat Toomey and Katie McGinty strongly disagree.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

When Barack Obama campaigned in 2008 and 2012, some credited his success, at least in part, to his use of Twitter.

This election, the short-length video platform Snapchat, first released in 2011, could help tip the scales for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump. 

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