Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto

State House Reporter


With Cain leading money race, 2nd Congressional District spending tops $1.3 million

on May 30, 2014, at 10:36 a.m.
The four candidates vying to replace U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in the 2nd Congressional District have spent $1.3 million so far -- and we don't even know who the nominees will be.

Obama vs. Collins: The battle over white potatoes, welfare

on May 29, 2014, at 3:16 p.m.
Watch out Susan Collins: Michelle Obama is coming for the Maine potato.
Sen. Emily Cain of Orono and Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash

Democratic congressional primary pits a progressive dealmaker against a blue-collar firebrand

By Mario Moretto on May 29, 2014, at 2:11 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — When Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud announced he’d run for governor, a lot of Democrats toyed with making a run to represent Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. Now the dust has settled, and there are two candidates: Emily Cain of Orono and Troy Jackson of Allagash, vying for …
Marc Mutty, campaign chair of Stand for Marriage Maine, speaks to supporters as they await results in the tight race on Question 1 on Nov. 3, 2009, in Portland, Maine.

Ethics Commission hits anti-gay marriage group with record fine, orders disclosure of donors from ’09 campaign

By Mario Moretto on May 28, 2014, at 9:46 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — After a five-year investigation, the Maine Ethics Commission on Wednesday ruled that a national anti-gay marriage group violated campaign finance law during the 2009 marriage referendum and imposed on the group the largest fine in its history. After a nearly three-hour-long and sometimes fiery hearing, the commission …
Brig. Gen. James Campbell, adjutant general of the Maine Army National Guard, speaks with reporters Tuesday at the State House in Augusta.

‘We’re going to do what we have to’: Maine National Guard chief breaks silence on 133rd Engineer Battalion

By Mario Moretto on May 27, 2014, at 1:52 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Army National Guard’s top official said Tuesday that a controversial proposal to convert the storied 133rd Engineer Battalion into infantry units is likely the best possible way to adapt to shifting military priorities. But that doesn’t mean he loves the idea. “If the federal government …

LePage says National Guard plans changing ‘as fast as most people change underwear’

on May 23, 2014, at 5:40 p.m.
In an impromptu meeting with reporters Friday, Gov. Paul LePage said contingency plans about how to deal with a potential reduction in Maine Army National Guard forces are “changing as fast as most people change their underwear,” but reiterated his commitment to fight any reduction to Maine’s guard forces. As has …
Gary Alexander

LePage stops payment to Alexander Group amid plagiarism scandal, says contract may be canceled

By Mario Moretto on May 23, 2014, at 4:03 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Concerned about accusations of plagiarism by the controversial Alexander Group, Republican Gov. Paul LePage said Friday he would take immediate action against the company, if warranted, after getting a full report of the facts. LePage said in an interview Friday that payments had already been suspended to …
The 133rd Engineer Battalion marched from the University of Southern Maine campus to the Exposition Building in this August 2013 file photo.

In email, top National Guard official in Maine said losing 133rd Engineer Battalion ‘highly likely’

By Mario Moretto on May 22, 2014, at 2:51 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Contradicting recent efforts to downplay a controversial plan to replace the Maine Army National Guard’s 133rd Engineer Battalion with an infantry unit, the state’s top Guard official advocated for the plan in an email last month. Brig. Gen. James Campbell, adjutant general of the Maine Guard, said …
Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew

Pregnant employee stabbed by patient at Riverview says state should have protected her, files lawsuit

By Mario Moretto on May 20, 2014, at 4:16 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — A mental health worker who was stabbed repeatedly by a patient wielding a pen at Riverview Psychiatric Center last year is suing the Department of Health and Human Services, claiming the state failed to protect her from a man known to be violent. Jamie Hill-Spotswood was 18 …

Cain goes positive with first TV ad from Democratic congressional candidate

on May 20, 2014, at 2:39 p.m.
The ad introduces Cain to viewers and makes reference to Democratic Party catnip, such as increasing the minimum wage and protecting social security and Medicare -- and it makes no mention of Cain's primary opponent, Troy Jackson.
Brigadier General James D. Campbell, adjutant general of Maine

Maine’s top National Guard official tells soldiers: ‘There has been no decision’ to move 133rd Engineer Battalion’

By Mario Moretto on May 20, 2014, at 11:37 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — In an email to soldiers and their families Tuesday, the head of Maine’s Army National Guard attempted to quell concerns raised by reports that the state’s 133rd Engineer Battalion would be relocated and replaced with an infantry unit. “Let me be absolutely clear: There has been no …
Marc Mutty, campaign chair of Stand for Marriage Maine, speaks to supporters as they await results in the tight race on Question 1 on Nov. 3, 2009, in Portland, Maine.

State ethics investigators recommend national anti-gay-marriage group be fined $50,250

By Mario Moretto on May 19, 2014, at 9:46 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine ethics investigators are recommending by far the largest campaign finance fine in state history be levied against a national anti-gay-marriage organization for failing to register and disclose its activities in Maine’s 2009 same-sex marriage referendum. The Maine Ethics Commission will consider whether to impose the $50,250 …
Sen. Susan Collins (left) and Sen. Angus King speak after a Friday press conference at the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan. King endorsed Collins' bid for re-election on Friday.

Sen. King endorses re-election of one-time foe Sen. Collins

By Mario Moretto on May 16, 2014, at 9:04 a.m.
SKOWHEGAN, Maine — Maine’s independent U.S. Sen. Angus King endorsed his one-time political opponent, Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, on Friday morning in Skowhegan. Collins, a three-term veteran of the Senate, is running against Democrat Shenna Bellows in this year’s election. During a Town Hall meeting at the Margaret Chase …
In this January 2014 file photo, Gary Alexander presents his Medicaid expansion feasibility study on Tuesday to lawmakers on the Health and Human Services Committee, including (from left) Reps. Carol McElwee, R-Caribou, and Ann Dorney, D-Norridgewock, and Sens. James Hamper, R-Oxford, and Colleen Lachowicz, D-Waterville.

LePage administration releases Alexander Group’s welfare study after months-long delay

By Mario Moretto on May 15, 2014, at 4:46 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday released a much-anticipated study by a controversial consultant, which presented analysis of and recommendations for the state’s welfare programs. The 228-page analysis was the result of months of work by the Rhode Island-based Alexander Group, which received …
Law enforcement officers from several agencies hold their hats for a moment of silence to honor Officer Stephen Arkell of Brentwood, New Hampshire, who was killed in action Monday. The officers were at the Maine Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Augusta for an annual remembrance ceremony.

LePage honors ‘superhero’ fallen officers at police memorial

By Mario Moretto on May 15, 2014, at 4:02 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Republican Gov. Paul LePage said Thursday that if he could sign legislation to guarantee no law enforcement officers would ever again lose their lives on the job, he would do so. Unfortunately, it would never work. That’s why it’s up to police officers, sheriff deputies, game wardens …

Actually, Democrats do support blocking EBT cards at bars, liquor stores, strip clubs

on May 14, 2014, at 4:41 p.m.
In his address, LePage talked about his recent move to block EBT transactions at ATMs located inside bars, liquor stores, strip clubs and casinos. He said, "As soon as they heard that we are now blocking ATMs, Democrats scrambled to find a reason to object to it." Except ... they didn't.
Rep. Mike Michaud

Michaud to lead LGBT Pride Parade in Portland

By Mario Moretto on May 14, 2014, at 3:34 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Democratic gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud will be among the grand marshals of this year’s Pride Parade in downtown Portland. The annual parade is a banner event for the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. On Nov. 4, 2013 — exactly one year before Maine’s …
Katie Mae Simpson, a Portland mother, speaks Wednesday to activists and reporters as the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine calls on the Maine DEP to regulate phthalates, potentially dangerous chemicals found in many household products.

Group calls on state to regulate toxic chemicals found in hundreds of plastic household products

By Mario Moretto on May 14, 2014, at 10:46 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — A group of doctors, parents and other activists is demanding the state require manufacturers to report the presence of potentially dangerous chemicals in products sold in Maine. The group, Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine, delivered more than 2,000 signatures to the Department of Environmental Protection …

Jackson cries foul over enviro-group’s planned $150k ad campaign against him

on May 13, 2014, at 5:05 p.m.
Jackson is peeved about being put on the environmental group's Dirty Dozen list, usually reserved for candidates with truly abysmal environmental records.
Bridget McKeen of Hogback Mountain Farm in New Montville pours a small cup of raw Jersey milk for supporters of former farmer Dan Brown outside the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday.

Farmer Brown goes to court: Justices hear oral arguments in unlicensed raw milk case

By Mario Moretto on May 13, 2014, at 5:04 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — The 3-year-old question of whether a Blue Hill farmer should be allowed to sell raw milk without a license now lies with the state’s highest court, which heard oral arguments in the case on Tuesday. Maine Supreme Judicial Court justices asked tough questions of both sides, making …
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