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

Ida Mae Astute/ABC News / Flickr/Creative Commons

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump will make his third stop in Maine when he holds a town hall meeting in Portland on Thursday.

The real estate mogul and television personality is continuing to target the Pine Tree State as his campaign attempts to find a favorable path in the Electoral College map. So far, national pundits have predicted a difficult road because his rival Hillary Clinton has shown appeal in voting blocs that traditionally turn out in presidential elections.

Friday is the deadline for the Maine Public Utilities Commission to receive bids for a controversial contract to bail out the state’s ailing biomass energy plants.

The contract could tap over $13 million in taxpayer funds to assist an industry that some worry can no longer compete on a level playing field. And the potential beneficiaries of the bailout continue to reward the legislators who backed it.

PORTLAND, Maine — The chairman of the York County Republican Committee is under fire for referring to Rep. Justin Chenette as "Little Justine" in an email to fellow Republicans. Jim Booth also says there's "a lot of hate" for Chenette.

Chenette, a Democrat from Saco, became the nation's youngest openly gay legislator when was first elected to the Maine House in 2012. He is now running for the state Senate after defeating longtime legislator Barry Hobbins.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A congressional candidate from Brunswick is hoping the new certification of the Libertarian Party of Maine will boost his bid to win Maine's 1st Congressional District seat.

Jim Bouchard, who describes himself as a leadership trainer and founder of a martial arts center, is running as a write-in candidate. He won't appear on the November ballot.

Officials in the governor’s office violated Gov. Paul LePage’s policy that prohibits state employees from using texts and other electronic messaging to conduct government business as they discussed denying public access to a special education commission meeting at the Blaine House.

LePage officials say they adhered to the policy because they saved the messages and even turned them over to the attorney general’s office upon request. The administration has now updated its policy to lift the ban on texts, as long as they can be archived as public records.

Gov. Paul LePage continued his criticism of the state’s methadone clinics on Tuesday, vowing to cut state funding from clinics that don’t provide counseling to addicts.

Maine’s 10 methadone clinics are regulated by half a dozen state and federal agencies. Counseling is a requirement to dispense a drug that’s designed to help opioid addiction, but the governor believes only one or two clinics are providing counseling. The rest, he said, are merely distributing the drug.

He told Bangor radio station WVOM that those clinics will lose state funding next year if he has his way.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has approved a $69 million trash-to-energy facility in Hampden.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine, the state's largest environmental group, criticized the decision, saying that Fiberight - the company that will run the facilty - did not demonstrate that it has technical or financial capability to produce biogas and sugar on a commercial scale.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The nationwide crisis of heroin and opioid addiction has prompted 43 state governors to sign a compact that focuses on the over-prescribing painkillers, access to treatment and a life-saving overdose reversal drug.

But Maine Gov. Paul LePage declined to join the compact, saying the agreement is "simply a feel-good measure promoted by politicians in an election year."

The governor also objected to the compact specifically because it lacked a law enforcement component, according to a written statement from his spokesman, Peter Steele.

MPBN file

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine says Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton will get his vote in November.

King told CNN Thursday that he doesn’t believe Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump has the temperament to lead the country, particularly if the U.S. finds itself on the brink of nuclear war.

“It’s a question of judgment and temperament and this guy has not demonstrated to me the kind of coolness that you need in that situation,” King says.

The Libertarian Party of Maine is now an official political party, a designation that will allow presidential candidate Gary Johnson to appear on the November ballot.

The official designation follows three-year battle and a decision by a District Court judge that bought party officials more time to gather enough enrollments to qualify.

Christopher Lyons, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Maine, said the designation comes after a grassroots effort to gather 5,000 enrollments by Tuesday.

Mark Vogelzang / MPBN

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont endorsed rival Hillary Clinton during a rally at Portsmouth High School Tuesday.

The Maine Ethics Commission has determined that a former Lewiston police chief falsified documents while attempting to qualify for a public financing program that funds legislative candidates’ political campaigns.

The crystalline properties of the OG Kush strain of pot.
commons.wikimedia.org

As the campaign to legalize marijuana heats up in Maine, voters can expect pro-pot advocates to talk a lot about outdated laws that criminalize the use and possession of the drug. But in the background is a burgeoning billion dollar cannabis industry that some experts believe is poised to explode as states march towards legalization. This is second of a two-part report about the money behind the marijuana campaign.

Meet Regina. She’s the host of a series of videos that sell the qualities of a growing offering of consumer products, in this case, a variety called OG Kush.

Brett Levin / Flickr/Creative Commons

Meet three men: One man made his fortune selling auto insurance to high risk drivers. Another inherited his wealth from his father, who had cashed in on scented soap. And one launched a catalog that sells sex toys. What do these people have in common? They’re all funding the Maine campaign to legalize recreational marijuana.

The organization representing Maine’s school superintendents says Gov. Paul LePage should pick a permanent education commissioner. According to a letter from the Maine School Superintendents Association, the department suffers from a lack of leadership, creating confusion among the agency’s staff.

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