Steve Mistler

Chief Political Correspondent and State House Bureau Chief

Steve has been a journalist for nearly two decades, specializing in the coverage of politics and state government. His work has been recognized by the Maine Press Association and the New England Newspaper and Press Association for investigative projects and accountability journalism. He was named the MPA’s Journalist of the Year in 2011 for his coverage of municipal government for The Forecaster in Falmouth and, later, for his coverage of state government for the Sun Journal in Lewiston.

Steve became the state house bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram in 2012. After four years with Maine’s largest daily newspaper, Steve made the leap to radio journalism, joining Maine Public in May 2016.

Steve is married with one child and has two crazy dogs. His family lives in Brunswick.

Ways to Connect

Maine law requires candidates and political action committees to quickly report major campaign contributions and expenditures during the two weeks before an election. A new proposal would scrap that requirement so that information would not be available until weeks after Election Day.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision today to halt the bill repealing key provisions of the Affordable Care Act has spared Maine’s GOP congressional members from having to take difficult votes that would have wide-ranging effects on their constituents.

The decision to abruptly pull the American Health Care Act after over four hours of debate came after Ryan realized he didn’t have enough GOP votes to pass it.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's two members of the U.S. House are expected to vote today on a controversial bill to repeal key elements of the Affordable Care Act and replace them with provisions that could have wide ranging impacts on Mainers. 

Debate is underway for the American Health Care Act, also dubbed Trumpcare and Ryancare. The proposal is designed to fulfill a seven-year promise by Republicans to unravel President Obama's signature legislative achievement.

Officials with the Maine Department of Labor says they are working with an out-of-state vendor and law enforcement to determine how to protect Mainers whose personal information may have been stolen during a recent breach.

State lawmakers are evaluating a new proposal to ease traffic congestion in Portland’s western suburbs. The Legislature’s Transportation Committee on Thursday heard testimony on a bill that would allow the Maine Turnpike Authority to build a five-mile connector to mitigate traffic jams in the Gorham-Scarborough area.

Rep. Andrew McLean, a Democrat from Gorham, is the lead sponsor of the bill. He says population and new housing units have exploded in Portland’s suburbs as the cost of living in the city has increased.

Robert F. Bukaty / Maine Public

Even in this politically polarized era, there is one issue on which most state policymakers agree: Maine’s roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair. The only debate is how to pay for it, in a time of declining gas tax revenues.

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

Gov. Paul LePage claimed Wednesday that he did not sign a bill last year that diverted over $13 million to several ailing biomass facilities, though he actually did.

At his town hall forum at Spire 29 in Gorham, the governor was asked by a woman in the audience why he vetoed a hotly debated solar bill, but signed a controversial biomass bailout.

“Well ma’am, I will tell you, both of them were disasters and I didn’t sign off. I did not sign that bill. It went into law without my signature,” LePage said.

The issue of metal mining in Maine and how it should be regulated has been debated numerous times in the Legislature, but never settled. Environmentalists and residents of Aroostook County converged on the State House Monday for another go.

Lawmakers are reviewing seven different bills. One contains provisional mining rules unanimously approved by the Board of Environmental Protection in January. It would allow mining operators to apply for a permit, and mining companies would have to provide proof that they have the financial means to pay for cleanup costs.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The legislative committee implementing Maine's new recreational marijuana are considering switching the oversight of retail sales from the state agriculture agency to the one that regulates alcohol.

The legalization law approved by voters in November originally tasked the Agriculture Department with the licensing and testing of retail pot. But Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon and Gov. Paul LePage believe the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations is a better fit.

For the third time in six years, state lawmakers are poised to defeat a bill designed to exempt large containers from Maine’s landmark bottle law. The Environmental and Natural Resources Committee voted 8-0 Thursday to kill a bill that would exempt containers larger than 46 ounces from the law.

Pete Didisheim of the Natural Resources Council of Maine says the bill is the latest attempt by the beverage industry to erode a bottle law that has encouraged Mainers to recycle empty beverage containers.

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

Gov. Paul LePage predicts that the Trump administration will re-certify the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta, a move that would protect $20 million in federal funding. The governor also reiterated his unsubstantiated claim that the Obama administration’s decertification of the hospital nearly four years ago was politically motivated.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Demonstrators gathered at the Maine State House Friday to oppose the North Dakota Access Pipeline and show solidarity with the Native American tribes trying to block it. 

The demonstration in Maine was part of a series of similar protests across the country as the controversial proposal moves forward.

Katherine Rhoda, of Hiram, participated in the demonstration. "This country was founded on the genocide of Native Americans and I think Native American wisdom holds a key to us finding our way out of the mess we're in," Rhoda said.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine union workers and their advocates vowed to defend a citizen-initiated law that raised the minimum wage during a gathering at the State House Thursday.

Ali Monceaux, a restaurant server, said lawmakers should defeat any effort to reinstate a lower tipped wage for workers get tips.

"Tipped workers were included in Question 4 and everyone means everyone. And that question passed," Monceaux said. "We cannot exclude some people and so many workers in Maine, a majority of them women."

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage says he's returning to Washington D.C. with his health commissioner to lobby against the GOP's newly unveiled healthcare proposal. LePage has repeatedly bashed the proposal.

The governor told Portland radio station WGAN that he's especially displeased with a provision that would allow states to continue expanding Medicaid.

"There's whole lot of talk about repeal and replace but we have to reform this," he said. "This system ... you can't go from Obamacare to RINO-care. You gotta go and fix it."

Republican Sen. Susan Collins and  independent Sen. Angus King speak to reporters after King announced his endorsement in her bid for a fourth term, Friday, May 16, 2014, at the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan, Maine.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File

Whether it’s the resignation of the national security advisor, speculation about the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia, or President Trump’s unverified claim about wiretapping by former President Obama, news outlets often turn to Maine Senators Susan Collins and Angus King to weigh in.