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

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As the campaign to legalize marijuana heats up in Maine, voters can expect pro-pot advocates to talk a lot about outdated laws that criminalize the use and possession of the drug.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.

MPBN file

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has shifted his campaign to the general election for what promises to be a brutal contest against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. But Trump still has to stamp out the remaining vestiges of the Republican opposition to his candidacy heading into the Republican National Convention.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The attorney for House Speaker Mark Eves is seeking an injunction against Gov. Paul LePaage, in Eves' appeal filed Wednesday with the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

The brief is an attempt to force the U.S. District Court to reconsider Eves' argument that the governor acted illegally when he threatened to withhold over $1 million in state funding to a private nonprofit unless the organization fired Eves as its president.

More than half the homicides in Maine over the past two years have been linked to domestic violence, according to a report released Thursday.

The Maine Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel says that trend has held steady over the past decade. Now Gov. Paul LePage, a survivor of domestic violence, is reiterating his call for increased surveillance of those accused abusers.

Attorney General Janet Mills read the names of the nine children killed in domestic homicides over the past two years.

“Korbyn, Jason, Noah, Lily, Sean, Duwayne, Destiny, Larry, Leo,” Mills read.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage says people accused of committing domestic violence should have to wear an ankle bracelet as a condition of bail.

During a State House press conference held by the Maine Domestic Abuse Review Panel, the governor promised to propose legislation to that effect.

The panel found that nearly half of all the homicides committed in the last 10 years were perpetrated by domestic violence abusers.

"I believe in taking the safe approach because dead people have no rights. They lost 'em. When you kill 'em, it's final," LePage said.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr/Creative Commons

Donald Trump was in Bangor Wednesday for his second rally in Maine.

In a speech that stuck pretty closely to what we heard in his trade speech in Pennsylvania Tuesday, Trump took aim at the Trans-Pacific Partnership and said if he’s elected, he’ll withdraw the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Speaking to about 4,000 people, Trump blamed Hillary Clinton for the rise of the Islamic State and a decline in American influence and prosperity.

Fred Bever / MPBN

Wednesday, June 29: To watch Donald Trump live in Bangor, click here.  

Gov. Paul LePage told Bangor radio station WVOM that he plans to attend the campaign rally of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr/Creative Commons

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will campaign in Maine Wednesday. 

A proposal to tax, regulate and allow adult recreation use of marijuana landed the top spot on a November ballot crowded with a record five citizen initiatives.

The outcome follows a quirky tradition in Maine’s 106-year-old referendum law: a random drawing to determine the order of the questions. Advocates of the ballot measures were watching closely.

The latest skirmish between Gov. LePage and the federal government over food stamps has taken another turn. The feds now say that more than 195,000 Mainers who receive food assistance could lose it if Gov. Paul LePage follows through on his threat to stop administering the program. There is no backup if the state bows out.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The federal agency that oversees and funds state food stamp programs says Mainers receiving food assistance could lose it if the state relinquishes administration of the program.

The statement, provided to U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, is in response to Gov. Paul LePage's threat to end the state's administration of a program that last month provided benefits to more than 195,000 Mainers.

"So states have the option of running a SNAP benefits program, but if a state decides not to, the federal government cannot step in and do this," Pingree says.

The LePage administration continues to tangle with the federal government for greater control over its welfare programs. Now the governor is threatening to give up administration of a $250 million food stamp program if the federal government doesn’t allow Maine to prohibit the purchase of sugary snacks and drinks with benefit cards.

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