Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto

State House Reporter

Gov. Paul LePage

LePage to unveil plan to give more money to Maine’s nursing homes

By Mario Moretto on July 17, 2014, at 11:49 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage will announce a plan on Thursday afternoon to give additional state funding to Maine’s struggling nursing homes. It’s unclear exactly how much funding will be announced, or its source, but it appears that LePage and Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew may have …
Gov. Paul LePage and Senate President Justin Alfond.

Top Democrats to LePage: Show us your plan to aid Maine nursing homes

By Mario Moretto on July 16, 2014, at 6:06 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The top two Democrats in the Legislature are calling Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s bluff on his repeated requests that lawmakers order a special session to provide more funds for Maine’s nursing homes. In a July 14 letter to Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, and House Speaker Mark …

Bellows and Collins clash on vote to overturn Hobby Lobby ruling

on July 16, 2014, at 5:09 p.m.
If you needed any evidence of how strange politics can turn during an election, look no further. Today, the U.S. Senate held a vote on a bill by Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington. The bill would have overturned the controversial Hobby Lobby decision, but it failed to gain the …
Sen. Edward Youngblood listens to Penobscot residents' concerns about a proposed state budget along with fellow state legislators during a town hall meeting at the Brewer auditorium in March 2013.

Sen. Ed Youngblood drops re-election bid, joining one-third of Maine legislators who will not return

By Mario Moretto on July 14, 2014, at 6:13 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — State Sen. Ed Youngblood announced Monday that he will not seek re-election this year. Youngblood, a Republican from Brewer, was elected most recently in 2012, but had served two previous terms in the Senate, from 2000 through 2004. He said Monday that his decision to leave results …

Poliquin to report $291,000 in spring fundraising, plus 7 stories you need to read

on July 14, 2014, at 11:39 a.m.
Bruce Poliquin, the GOP candidate for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, will report raising more than $281,000 in the 20 days following the June 10 primary election. None of that money came from the candidates’ own pockets, according to a press release from his campaign. Poliquin will also report having more than $291,000 …

LePage dings Michaud for highway fund shortfall; Obama’s problem with Christians

on July 11, 2014, at 2:52 p.m.
Republican Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday sent a letter to U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, chastising the congressman for not ushering a solution to the federal Highway Trust Fund shortfall through Congress.
Gov. Paul LePage speaks during the second day of the 2014 Maine Republican Convention at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

The 38-point governor: How one month in 2010 changed decades of Maine political reality

By Mario Moretto on July 10, 2014, at 2:09 p.m.
Part 1 of 2 AUGUSTA, Maine — For the roughly 62 percent of voters who chose someone other than Republican Paul LePage for governor on Election Day in 2010, the result was a shock. They remember a campaign full of controversy over property tax payments, threats to punch reporters and …

Collins releases latest fundraising totals, carries $4 millions into summer months

on July 09, 2014, at 11:03 a.m.
Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins on Wednesday released her latest campaign fundraising figures, illustrating the senator's strong position heading into the summer months.
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage echoes Raye’s 12-year-old Social Security attack on Michaud

on July 09, 2014, at 9:16 a.m.
Social Security may be the third rail of American politics, but this particular attack line wasn't enough to take down Michaud in 2002, when Republican opponent Kevin Raye tried it.
Maine gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler

Does Maine’s campaign contributions cap hurt independent candidates?

By Mario Moretto on July 09, 2014, at 9:11 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Supporters of independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Monday, alleging that Maine’s current election laws unfairly prevent them from giving as much money to Cutler as backers of party candidates can donate to their preferred nominee. If the court rules …

Evangelos vs. AG Mills; Cutler’s property tax tour; 7 stories you need to read

on July 07, 2014, at 11:19 a.m.
Independent Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos is not too happy about the Attorney General's decision not to look into the meetings Gov. Paul LePage had with a group of anti-government extremists last year.
Gov. Paul LePage

Expert says radical Maine group that met with LePage ‘not terrorists’ but still worrisome extremists

By Mario Moretto on July 03, 2014, at 6:26 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — An expert on anti-government extremists said the controversial group that met with Gov. Paul LePage eight times last year should not be considered terrorists, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worrisome. The Constitutional Coalition is a group of right-wing activists and conspiracy theorists that believes many of …
Shenna Bellows

Shenna Bellows wants 10 debates with Susan Collins in Maine’s US Senate race

By Mario Moretto on July 03, 2014, at 2:13 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — In a letter Thursday to incumbent U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, Democratic challenger Shenna Bellows says she wants 10 debates ahead of November’s election. In her letter, Bellows said she “admired” the 10 debates Collins had with her Democratic opponent in 2008, then-U.S. Rep. Tom Allen, and said …
Gov. Paul LePage

Independent lawmaker requests AG’s investigation of LePage meetings with radical group

By Mario Moretto on July 02, 2014, at 5:27 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — An independent lawmaker from Friendship says he thinks Maine’s attorney general should investigate whether Gov. Paul LePage and a group of radical activists discussed violence against top Democratic lawmakers during a series of meetings last year. As revealed by liberal blogger and activist Mike Tipping, the Constitutional …

Charlie: Why the killing of a young, gay man in Bangor 30 years ago still matters

on July 01, 2014, at 12 a.m.
Thirty years after the killing of Charlie Howard shocked Bangor, his death is now remembered for its profound effect on Maine.
Gov. Paul LePage

Maine Municipal Association to sue state over General Assistance controversy

By Mario Moretto on June 30, 2014, at 4:06 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — A group representing Maine’s towns and cities will ask a Superior Court judge to weigh in on the legality of a controversial order from Gov. Paul LePage’s administration directing municipalities to stop distributing General Assistance funds to undocumented immigrants. The Maine Municipal Association revealed its plan to …
Sue Sapiel, customer service representative at the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Family Independence, prints out a new EBT card that includes a photo.

Maine to begin implementing EBT photo requirement statewide

By Mario Moretto on June 30, 2014, at 1:32 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — After a two-month pilot project in the Bangor region, a new rule requiring photo identification on state-issued welfare benefit cards will be expanded statewide on Tuesday. The Department of Health and Human Services announced the expansion of the new rule in an email to reporters on Monday. …
Spc. Dan Sweetser of Sumner kisses his wife Staff Sgt. April Sweetser after 13 members of the 1035th Survey and Design Team of the 133 Engineer Battalion returned to the Augusta Armory Friday.

After nearly a year in Afghanistan, soldiers from 133rd Engineer Battalion return to friends and family

By Mario Moretto on June 27, 2014, at 3:20 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — For 304 days, Amanda Kelly has carted around a life-size cardboard cutout of her husband, Maine Army National Guard Sgt. Ryan Kelly. The so-called “Flat Daddy” has been to restaurants and concerts, and appeared in a photo album she kept while the soldier was deployed in Afghanistan. …
Sen. Susan Collins

Susan Collins becomes fourth GOP senator to publicly support same-sex marriage

By Mario Moretto on June 25, 2014, at 7:06 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — After receiving the endorsement of the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday indicated for the first time her personal support for same-sex marriage. “A number of states, including my home state of Maine, have now legalized same-sex marriage, and I agree with …

Here’s why HRC’s endorsement of Collins won’t hurt Bellows much

on June 25, 2014, at 3 p.m.
HRC's endorsement of Collins notwithstanding, few in Maine's LGBT community will question Bellows' status as an ally for equality.
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