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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. Obama executive order protects 5M undocumented immigrants

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Thursday announced the most dramatic changes to immigration policy in decades, protecting 5 million people — roughly 40 percent of the undocumented population in the United States — from deportation, arguing his actions were legal and not amnesty.

    Hundreds of miles away in Lakeland, a 29-year-old mother of three watched on television, joyful and relieved. "It makes me very happy," said Amalia Tamariz, who arrived in the country 14 years ago from Nicaragua and would qualify under Obama's executive order because her children are U.S. citizens....

    From left, Emiliana Ortiz, Benito Ortiz and their daughter Rosalba Ortiz, 19, react to President Obama’s announcement at the Mi Familia Vota Education Fund office in Tampa.
  2. Florida reaction to President Obama's immigration action

    Blog

    Florida reaction to President Obama's immigration action:

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R: “We need immigration reform. But the right way to do it is to first bring illegal immigration under control by securing the borders and enforcing the laws, then modernizing our legal immigration system. After we do these things, we will eventually have to deal with those here illegally in a reasonable but responsible way. The President’s actions now make all of this harder and are unfair to people in our immigration system who are doing things the right way.”...

  3. At education summit, Jeb Bush seeks balance on Common Core under 2016 glare

    Blog

    WASHINGTON — This town is lush with speculation about who will run for president so when Jeb Bush took the stage Thursday morning at his Foundation for Excellence in Education summit, there was great interest in what he had to say.

    The former Florida governor stuck to the wonky contours of education policy — it is why he is here, after all — but in doing so Bush also tried to finesse a major issue that would confront him if he decides to enter the hunt for the 2016 Republican nomination: Common Core....

  4. At education summit, Jeb Bush seeks balance on Common Core under 2016 glare

    National

    WASHINGTON — This town is rife with speculation about who will run for president, so when Jeb Bush took the stage Thursday morning at his Foundation for Excellence in Education summit, there was great interest in what he had to say.

    The former Florida governor stuck to the wonky contours of education policy — it is why he is here, after all — but in doing so Bush also tried to finesse a major issue that would confront him if he decides to enter the hunt for the 2016 Republican nomination: Common Core....

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush listens to a speaker before giving his keynote address at his Foundation for Excellence in Education summit in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
  5. Jeb Bush's opening address to National Summit on Education Reform

    Blog

    Governor Jeb Bush: 2014 Summit Keynote Address / Foundation for Excellence in Education’s National Summit on Education Reform / November 20, 2014

    Remarks Prepared for Delivery

    Thank you, Denisha, for that very kind introduction. You are the reason we are here. It’s a struggle to reform our schools. The unions fight us. The administrators often fight us. Sometimes we reformers fight amongst ourselves. But when I hear Denisha’s story... I know the struggle is worth it....

  6. Gwen Graham jumps for joy over new office

    Blog

    Rookie members of Congress today participated in a lottery for their offices and Florida Democrat Gwen Graham scored.

    Big.

    NPR, which covered the ritual, noted that new members tried "lucky dances, blowing on their hands. One member even had an aide's wife do the honors.But Graham had a secret weapon.Paul Woodward, the husband of Graham's campaign manager, did a backflip straight down the center of the aisle."...

    As newly elected House lawmakers take their chances at a lottery to determine who gets to go first in choosing their new office assignments, Rep-elect Gwen Graham, D-Fla., raises her arms in jubilation after picking a favorable number
  7. Obama to announce immigration action in national address Thursday night

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will announce steps tonight to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation, delivering on a long-anticipated promise while setting up a contentious fight with Republicans who question his authority.

    "Everybody agrees that our immigration system is broken," Obama said in a Facebook video Wednesday previewing the 8 p.m. speech from the White House. "Unfortunately Washington has allowed the problem to fester for too long."...

    An image taken from a video posted Wednesday to the White House's Facebook account. [Facebook.com]
  8. Obama to announce immigration action tomorrow

    Blog

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will announce steps Thursday night to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation, delivering on a long-anticipated promise while setting up a contentious fight with Republicans who question his authority.
    Everybody agrees that our immigration system is broken," Obama said in a Facebook video Wednesday previewing the 8 p.m. speech from the White House. "Unfortunately Washington has allowed the problem to fester for too long."...

  9. Ron Paul on Bush, Rubio: 'status quo, middle-of-the-roaders'

    Blog

    Ron Paul is Tampa tonight for a speech at USF. Reporter Rich Shopes caught up with him in advance and asked about the two Floridians considering running for president. Mind you that Paul's son, Rand, is an almost certain candidate.

    On Jeb Bush and Florida's U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. "I'd say they were pretty average, status quo, middle-of-the-roaders," Ron Paul said....

  10. Florida reps want Venezuelans included in Obama's immigration order

    Blog

    With President Obama set to finally announce his immigration action on Friday, in Las Vegas, two Florida Democrats want him to include Venezuelans who have fled their country and ended up in the Sunshine State.

    Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Joe Garcia urged Obama in a letter. "While conditions in Venezuela have been deteriorating for quite some time, this past year has seen an unprecedented amount of instability, violence, and human rights abuses," Garcia said in a news release. “The U.S. government should stand with those who have fled this oppressive regime.  They have formed an integral part of South Florida’s cultural fabric, and their inclusion in the President’s actions falls perfectly in line with the purpose of administrative relief: keeping families and communities together.”...

  11. Nelson, Rubio help defeat bill to curtail NSA data collection

    Blog

    Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio on Tuesday evening helped defeat a bill to rein in government data collection programs exposed by Edward Snowden.

    The bill failed because it did not get 60 votes needed to advance under Senate procedure. Nelson was the only Democrat to vote with Republicans....

  12. Nelson votes against Keystone pipeline; Rubio votes yes

    Blog

    UPDATE: The bill failed 59-41, failing to reach the 60 vote threshold.

    Florida's senators will split votes on the Keystone pipeline, an issue that is playing a starring role in Louisiana's contested U.S. Senate race.

    Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson told the Buzz moments ago that he remains opposed to the pipeline. Sen. Mary Landrieu, the Democrat from Louisiana fighting for her political life, has been in contact with Nelson as she scrambles for votes. But Nelson hasn't moved; he opposes a provision that would allow for oil exports....

  13. Rubio to campaign Saturday with Bill Cassidy

    Blog

    First Jeb Bush, now Marco Rubio:

    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will campaign with Republican Senate candidate Bill Cassidy on Saturday, as early voting opens for the Dec. 6 runoff.

    Cassidy's campaign announced Tuesday that Rubio will attend two rallies this weekend, in Gonzales and Kenner, to urge people to vote early and to cast those ballots against Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu....

  14. Unauthorized immigrant population grows in Florida

    Blog

    Florida is one of seven states which has seen a rise in unauthorized immigrants, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

    As of 2012, the estimated number in Florida is 925,000 up from 875,000 in 2009. The other states that saw an increase were Idaho, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Fourteen states saw population drops, mostly attributed to a slow down in migration from Mexico....

    Unauthorized immigrant populations
  15. Gwen Graham says she doesn't support Pelosi, despite Democrats' vote

    Blog

    Despite a reported unanimous voice vote, Rep.-elect Gwen Graham says she did not support Nancy Pelosi today for another term as Democratic leader. Graham has pledged during the campaign against Steve Southerland to oppose Pelosi, who became a central figure in TV ads in the race....