Mal Leary

Maine Public Political Correspondent

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.

A lifelong journalist and Maine native, Mal has worked as both a reporter and editor in broadcast and in print, in both Washington, D.C. and in Maine. He has won numerous awards for his reporting on state government issues and politics.

For several years he owned and operated Capitol News Service, which was located in the State House complex providing news coverage to radio stations as well as newspapers.

Mal is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters & Editors and has long been an advocate for open government. He is the SPJ Sunshine Chair in Maine and is currently the president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition based at the University of Missouri Journalism School and is a Vice President of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition.

Mal is married with three grown children, several grandchildren and lives in Augusta, within sight of the Capitol dome.

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Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The House has voted for U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s bill to publicize the finances of Iran’s leaders.

Poliquin says the 70 or so top leaders of Iran are gathering huge personal wealth while are also providing support to terrorist organizations, including groups targeting the United States.

“Citizens of Iran and people of the world should know how much wealth has been accumulated by these chief sponsors of terrorism and what the money is being used for,” he says.

The task force on the state’s opioid crisis has completed its recommendations on addressing the crisis that is claiming nearly a life per day in Maine.

The report recommends the state immediately increase access to substance abuse treatment, implement prevention programs and focus attention on drug users in jail and those who are uninsured, with little access to services.

Sixty Democratic women serving in Congress are asking the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to investigate the reports of sexual misconduct raised against President Donald Trump.

“We passed a bill two weeks ago saying that every member of Congress and their staff should have sexual harassment training. It’s clear in the president’s tweets today that he needs that training and there should be an investigation,” says U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st District, who signed onto that request.

Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is urging fellow members of the Senate Health Committee to approve legislation tackling the high cost of prescription drugs.

Collins wants to limit the practice of drug companies extending patent protection for life-saving drugs, keeping prices higher.

“This monopoly is being used to protect profits rather than patients and R&D, development of new drugs," she said, "and this is something we need to take a look at.”

Marina Villeneuve / Associated Press

Gov. Paul LePage is warning lawmakers that he’ll oppose nearly any method they propose to pay for the expansion of Medicaid that voters in the state approved last month.

The Maine Center for Disease control is urging Mainers at higher risk for  hepatitis A infection to get vaccinated, in light of outbreaks of the disease in several states.

Maine has had four cases of hepatitis A in the last three months and that worries CDC epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett.

“Because we have seen more in the last couple of months than we normally see, we thought now is a good time to actually increase awareness and get the message out that if you haven’t been vaccinated please do get vaccinated.”

Every year the Pentagon buys hundreds of billions of dollars of equipment and supplies, from ships and planes to weapons and food. Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine and other members of the Senate Armed Services Committee say they want the military to do a better job at procurement — he says it’s a matter of national security.

“Reducing lead times is almost as important as price. We can’t maintain our qualitative edge if it just takes too long to get the weapon into the field,” he says.

Quoting anonymous White House advisers, The Washington Post reports that President Trump plans to call Maine Gov. Paul LePage and ask him to run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by independent Sen. Angus King.

This, after LePage announced last May that he was not interested in running.  In a brief interview outside his office Thursday, this was the governor's response when asked about the report: “It's fake news!”

Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant has resigned after admitting to sending a lewd photo of himself to a woman two years ago, and allegations that he solicited sex from co-workers.

“Sheriff Wayne Gallant just resigned effective immediately, he sent that in writing. He made that decision after long discussions with his family, his priest and after consulting with me,” says Jim Martemucci, Gallant’s lawyer.

Martemucci says the sheriff wants to thank the residents of Oxford County for allowing him to serve as their sheriff for 11 years.

The House has passed a bill allowing a concealed weapon permit from one state be honored in another state. Maine’s two representatives split on the issue.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine’s 2nd District voted for the bill and spoke in support on the floor, saying it’s a commonsense measure.

“Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill of 2017 is a commonsense fix to a patchwork of state laws that will confuse and do confuse law-abiding Americans,” he says.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

The federal government runs out of authority to spend money Friday night at midnight, and that means once again, there could be a partial shutdown of the federal government. At least two members of Maine’s congressional delegation believe a showdown will be averted, for now.

More Americans are staying in the workforce after reaching retirement age, and that is benefiting the economy, according to a report released by the Senate Committee on Aging.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins chairs the committee. “The number of workers ages 65 to 74 is projected to grow by more than 4 percent annually,” she noted during a hearing on the issue Wednesday morning.

Maine U.S. Sen. Angus King peppered President Trump's nominee to head up the Energy Information Administration, which provides the data for developing policies, including climate change policy.

King questioned Linda Capuano on whether she has taken a position on climate change.

“So no one in the process said, 'What are your views on climate change?' " King asked. "Or I think you said maybe they did, but you would have said 'I have no opinion.' Seriously?”

Gov. Paul LePage says he’s waiting to see if the investigation by Oxford County Commissioners into the behavior of Sheriff Wayne Gallant yields a complaint to his office before deciding what action to take.

Gallant has admitted to sending a lewd photo while in uniform in his office to a woman two years ago, but has denied allegations of seeking sex with employees. LePage says he is waiting to see if he receives a formal complaint about Gallant before deciding whether to hold a hearing on Gallant’s possible removal from office.

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

The key to success in farming is work that's done before a single seed is planted.  That was the message from the state's top agriculture official in Augusta today.

Maine Agriculture Commissioner Walt Whitcomb says launching and maintaining a successful farming operation requires knowing the demand for your produce and being able to market it.

“Make sure you know where your products are going to go before - whether you are older or younger - you get into using the land to produce food," Whitcomb says. "We produce food very, very efficiently these days.”