Alex Leary, Times Washington Bureau Chief

Alex Leary

Alex Leary is the Washington bureau chief for the Tampa Bay Times. He previously worked in the Times' state capital bureau, and before that covered local politics, environmental issues and law enforcement.

Alex is a graduate of Ithaca College (journalism/anthropology) and began his career at the Valley News in New Hampshire. Alex was born in La Crosse, Wis., and raised in upstate New York along with six brothers and sisters. He lives in Washington.

Phone: (202) 306-4807

Email: leary@tampabay.com

Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

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  1. Jeff Miller helps strike VA deal

    Blog

    Florida Rep. Jeff Miller today announced a $17 billion legislative package aimed at fixing problems at Veterans Affairs hospitals. Now he has to sell it to fellow House members, while Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., has that job in his chamber.

    From the Associated Press:

    The agreement includes $10 billion in emergency spending to make it easier for veterans who can’t get prompt appointments with Veterans Affairs doctors to obtain outside care; $5 billion to hire doctors, nurses and other medical staff; and about $1.5 billion to lease 27 new clinics across the country, the chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees said. The bill also would expand a scholarship program for veterans to include surviving spouses of military members who died in the line of duty, allow all veterans to qualify for in-state college tuition, and grant the VA secretary authority to immediately fire senior executives, while providing employees with streamlined appeal rights.

    The compromise measure would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to pay private doctors to treat qualifying veterans who can’t get prompt appointments at the VA’s nearly 1,000 hospitals and outpatient clinics, or those who live at least 40 miles from one of them. The bill would limit the number of veterans who can get outside care by restricting it to those who are enrolled as of Aug. 1.
    ...

  2. Gwen Graham highlights father's 'workdays' in new ads

    Blog

    Gwen Graham has two new TV ads that feature her father and his famous "workdays."

    "Workdays keep you in touch with the people most affected by what you do," Bob Graham, the former governor and U.S. senator, says in one of the ads.

    The spots will run in Tallahassee and Panama City markets, her campaign said, and come as she and her father and other family members begin an eight-day, 14-county trip through the 2nd Congressional District....

  3. Widespread support for medical marijuana in Florida, poll shows

    Blog

    Eighty-eight percent of Florida voters support medical marijuana, a new Quinnipiac poll finds.

    From a news release:

    Florida voters support legalized marijuana for medical use 88 – 10 percent, with support ranging from 83 – 14 percent among voters over 65 years old to 95 – 5 percent among voters 18 to 29 years old, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today....

  4. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

    Blog

    Winner of the week

    Adrian Wyllie. The Libertarian gubernatorial candidate from Palm Harbor has nearly zero chance of being elected governor in November, but now it looks like he won't be ignored either. A Quinnipiac University poll last week showed Wyllie emerging as a potential spoiler, pulling 9 percent support and helping Gov. Rick Scott narrow Charlie Crist's lead to a virtual dead heat....

  5. Why is Bob Buckhorn so subdued about Charlie Crist's campaign?

    State Roundup

    How boring: Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is poised to skate into a second term next March without a serious challenge. So let's forget about 2015 and consider instead what 2018 means for Mayor Bob.

    Barring a giant surprise over the next few months, either Rick Scott at that point will be winding down his second term as governor or Democrat Gov. Charlie Crist will be preparing to run for re-election. Which scenario would the ambitious Buckhorn prefer? If he harbors any ambitions to be governor, he clearly is better off if Crist loses this year....

    Curt Clawson addresses the crowd at his election party at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, Fla., after officially winning the special election in the Congressional District 19 Republican primary, on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Naples Daily News, Scott McIntyre)  FORT MYERS OUT FLNAP203
  6. Another Florida judge rules against gay marriage ban

    Blog

    By Steve Rothaus, Miami Herald

    MIAMI — For the second time in eight days, a South Florida circuit judge has declared the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional and ordered that same-sex couples be allowed to marry.
    Late Friday afternoon, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel ordered that six same-sex couples who sued Miami-Dade County Clerk Harvey Ruvin for marriage licenses in January should be allowed to wed....

  7. Curt Clawson's 'intensely awkward' Capitol Hill debut

    Blog

    Rookie Florida Rep. Curt Clawson made a major faux pas at a Foreign Affairs hearing on Thursday, mistaking two U.S. government officials for Indian government representatives.

    Foreign Policy called it "intensely awkward." From the FP blog:...

    Curt Clawson celebrates along with a cheering crowd at his election party at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, Fla., after officially winning the special election in the Congressional District 19 Republican primary in April.
  8. Sen. Marco Rubio wants to 'wind down' program for immigrant youth

    National

    WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio on Thursday called for an end to President Barack Obama's program that grants legal status to immigrant youth brought to the United States by their parents.

    "The U.S. must also make clear that the Deferred Action program, or any law or policy for that matter, does not and will not apply to any recent arrivals," read a statement Rubio issued after a meeting with Central American presidents. "Furthermore, because the recent wave from Central America spiked after (Deferred Action) was announced, it is in our interest to wind down this program. If you are not currently in it, you should not be eligible for it. For President Obama to raise hopes it may actually be unilaterally expanded is irresponsible and threatens to make this problem even worse."...

    Sen. Marco Rubio is eyeing a run for president in 2016.
  9. Rubio wants to 'wind down' deferred action program for immigrant youth

    Blog

    WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio called Thursday for an end to President Barack Obama's deferred action program granting legal status to immigrant youth brought to the United States by their parents.

    "The U.S. must also make clear that the Deferred Action program, or any law or policy for that matter, does not and will not apply to any recent arrivals," read a statement Rubio issued after a meeting with Central American presidents. "Furthermore, because the recent wave from Central America spiked after (Deferred Action) was announced, it is in our interest to wind down this program. If you are not currently in it, you should not be eligible for it. For President Obama to raise hopes it may actually be unilaterally expanded is irresponsible and threatens to make this problem even worse."...

  10. New poll: Jeb Bush leads GOP presidential field in Florida; Hillary Clinton beats them all

    State Roundup

    Jeb Bush leads a field of prospective GOP presidential candidates in Florida, topping Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz and others. But Hillary Rodham Clinton beats them all in head-to-head matchups, according to a poll released Thursday.

    "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may be taking some criticism recently in the news media and among some liberal Democratic precincts, but nothing has changed among average voters in Florida where she remains queen of the political prom," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll....

  11. Jeb Bush's new 'act of love' - Send the border kids home

    Blog

    Jeb Bush, who had declined to a weigh in on the border situation, breaks his silence in an op/ed in the Wall Street Journal. Bush is still enduring heat for saying that many people who come to the U.S. illegally do so as "an act of love."

    His new remarks sound a lot tougher, emphasizing security, and he joins in Republican calls to change a 2008 law, signed by his brother, that has allowed children to remain longer and seek asylum. Yet Bush still urges Congress to act on broader reform before President Obama does alone....

  12. Q poll: Bush leads GOP field in Florida; Hillary beats them all

    Blog

    Jeb Bush leads a field of prospective GOP presidential candidates in Florida, topping Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz and others. But Hillary Clinton beats them all in head-to-head matchups, according to a poll released Thursday

    "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may be taking some criticism recently in the news media and among some liberal Democratic precincts, but nothing has changed among average voters in Florida where she remains queen of the political prom," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll....

  13. Jolly explains his position on gay marriage

    Blog

    Ripped by some for supporting same-sex marriage, Rep. David Jolly of Pinellas County has issued this letter to constituents:

    Dear Friend:

    Thank you for sharing with me your concerns regarding a recent statement I issued on marriage and the state’s recognition of marriage....

  14. Politics of gay marriage snare Marco Rubio, David Jolly

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — The increasingly delicate politics of gay marriage emerged Wednesday as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio defended "traditional" marriage while accommodating other views during a speech and U.S. Rep. David Jolly came under withering attack in Pinellas County for speaking out in support of same-sex couples' right to wed.

    Jolly, a Republican like Rubio, said this week that while he personally believes marriage should be between a man and woman, he thinks Florida should allow same-sex marriage....

    “Americans like myself who support keeping the traditional definition of marriage … have a right to work to keep the traditional definition of marriage in our laws,” Sen. Marco Rubio said in a speech Wednesday.
  15. Rubio remains opposed to gay marriage but seeks balance in his words

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio, who has not commented since a judge overturned Florida’s gay marriage ban, will address the issue during a speech at Catholic University today.

    “He will defend states’ right to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman,” according to an aide.

    That’s not new, but it does reflect the kind of nuance Rubio, sounding more like a presidential candidate, has sought on delicate issues. He’s not for gay marriage but he’s also not laying down a hard line. Rubio has previously said he does not support a federal constitutional ban....