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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The members of the Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations is poised to decide on legislation that will advance efforts to end racism in Maine.

In anticipation of a special session later this summer, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon and Senate President Troy Jackson have directed legislative committees to act on the 240 bills that were carried over when the Legislature adjourned in March at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Republican leaders say they want to focus on a limited number of issues.

Pat Wellenbach / Associated Press

Next week, Maine voters will decide whether to borrow $120 million between two infrastructure bond questions. But with the pandemic underway, and its resulting economic recession, it’s not yet clear how many of them will cast a ballot.

Chris Seward / AP File

The House and Senate Armed Services Committees have completed work on the annual National Defense Authorization Act that sets defense policy.

Alex Brandon / AP File

In the wake of this week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on an abortion case, Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins has come under renewed attack for her vote to confirm U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh two years ago. Collins continues to defend her support of Kavanaugh, and she says she believes that she will be reelected in November.

The U.S. House today takes up a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st District says incorporates important climate change goals laid out by a special House committee.

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins says she’s outraged by a report in the New York Times this weekend that a Russian military intelligence unit had secretly offered bounties to the Taliban for killing American troops and their allies in Afghanistan.

While most of the news about the number of jobs lost in Maine has been troubling, May figures from the Department of Labor (DOL) showed a small glimmer of good news.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP File

A half-dozen Republican members of the Maine House of Representatives are calling for a special session of the legislature to deal with spending and other issues related to the pandemic.

Maine’s two U.S. Senators were among those on the Senate Intelligence Committee who questioned CIA Inspector General-nominee Peter Thomson Wednesday about his independence from the Trump administration.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP File

Gov. Janet Mills has signed an order shifting up to $270 million in federal CARES act money to bolster the state unemployment trust fund. The move assures that benefits paid through the state unemployment system will continue without having to borrow from the federal government.


U.S. Sen. Angus King Thursday questioned top defense nominees about “project warp speed,” the Trump Administration’s national program for quickly developing and distributing a vaccine for COVID-19. King says speed should not get in the way of assuring that the vaccine is effective and affordable.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP File

Brunswick attorney and former Democratic Speaker of the House John Richardson is being remembered as a skilled and thoughtful politician and advocate for workers, who wasn't afraid to reach across the aisle during a contentious time at the State House. Richardson died of an apparent heart attack Tuesday at the age of 62.

Requests for absentee ballots in Maine’s July primary are already over 71,000. That’s double the number from two years ago, when both major parties had primary elections in the race for governor.

A Senate committee on Tuesday focused on the plight of the energy conservation and renewables workforce, which has declined by more than 17 percent during the pandemic. U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine, who serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, says he’s very worried about the potential long-term effects.