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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. His career in journalism began at the Valley News in New Hampshire.

Phone: (202) 306-4807


Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

  1. Florida Democrats mainly back Pelosi


    Florida Democrats this week helped protect Nancy Pelosi from a leadership challenge driven by the party's abysmal November.

    Pelosi on Wednesday was easily elected minority leader over Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, who said the party has lost touch with the working class. But as the Washington Post notes, Pelosi’s margin of victory, 134 votes to 63, "signaled a large degree of discontent with her leadership after 14 years atop the caucus and, more broadly, with the Democratic policy agenda that many lawmakers say has grown stale."...

  2. Rubio not involved in Capitol Hill effort to help Dreamers


    With concerns over the Trump administration stripping legal status from Dreamers, a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Sen. Lindsey Graham is working on legislation to provide that protection.

    The group does not include Sen. Marco Rubio, who had gained widespread attention years ago for proposing legislation aimed at young immigrants brought to the country illegally by their parents....

  3. Once the man to beat, Jeb Bush exhales in Trump's Washington

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — The reception was warm, but the standing ovation took a while to spread across the vast hotel conference room. Still, there was Jeb Bush back on stage Thursday before a crowd of more than 1,000.

    "I actually planned not to be here this year. I hoped to be pursuing a different type of public service," he said, breaking the ice about his failed presidential bid before settling into a speech opening a two-day summit put on by his Foundation for Excellence in Education....

  4. President Obama will visit MacDill AFB in Tampa on Tuesday


    WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will travel to Tampa on Tuesday for a visit to MacDill Air Force Base, where he will meet active duty service members and give remarks on his administration's counter-terrorism efforts, the White House announced moments ago.

    "While at the base, the President will have an opportunity to meet with uniformed leadership from both Commands as well as with some of the men and women stationed there," Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. "Among those the President will meet are members of our Special Operations community, who over the past 8 years been a key element of our relentless pursuit of terrorists who would threaten the United States of America. The President will offer his personal gratitude--and that of the nation--for the professionalism, skill, and sacrifice of those American patriots."...

  5. Once the man to beat, Jeb Bush returns to Trump's Washington


    The last time Jeb Bush held an education summit in Washington, as he does today, scores of reporters and a big crowd showed up. The headline: Bush seeks balance on Common Core under 2016 glare.

    Two years ago, speculation raged over whether Bush would run for president. Finally, in June 2015, he jumped in with a big splash of money. The rest is well-known....

  6. Rubio: 'Building a wall is a phrase'


    Sen. Marco Rubio says he’s eager to get to work on Donald Trump’s agenda of ditching Obamacare and increasing border security, though Rubio implied that Trump’s wall was a rhetorical device.

    “Building a wall is a phrase that is about securing the border and enforcing our immigration laws. And I think that's something we need to move on first,” Rubio said Tuesday night in an interview with Sean Hannity. “I've -- I've said now for a long time that it is the key that unlocks the door to be able to do anything else on immigration.”...

  7. Nelson, Rubio praise decision to move hurricane planes to Lakeland


    Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio praised a decision that will keep the federal government’s “Hurricane Hunters” fleet in Florida, though MacDill lost out to Lakeland on a 10-year lease.

    “Keeping NOAA’s Hurricane Hunters and the nearly 100 employees who work with them here in the Tampa Bay area for at least the next decade is certainly good news for the entire region,” Nelson said. “Having these planes based in Florida keeps them closer to the storms they track and will help NOAA’s scientists better predict where and when a storm may hit.”...

  8. Trump adds Dennis Ross to his transition team


    Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, has been named to President-elect Donald Trump's transition team, joining a group that includes Attorney General Pam Bondi.

    Trump announced Ross and other additions in an email tonight:

    Vice Chairs: Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis, Kathleen Troia "KT" McFarland, Congressman Tom Reed and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and U.S. Senator Tim Scott. Also joining the Executive Committee are: Congressman Sean Duffy, Congressman Trey Gowdy, Congressman Dennis Ross, Pastor Darrell Scott and Kiron Skinner....

  9. John Mica passed over as Trump's transportation secretary


    Donald Trump is expected to announce his transportation secretary later today and it's not Florida's John Mica, the subject of a lot of early speculation.

    Elaine Chao, a former deputy transportation secretary who also ran the Labor Department, is going to get the nod, according to reports....

  10. Rubio: I'll make Cuba recommendations to Trump (w/ video)


    Sen. Marco Rubio affirmed Sunday that his goal is to reverse President Obama’s overtures toward Cuba but suggested he was for some change.

    Appearing on Meet the Press, the Florida Republican also said it was worth investigating possible Russian interference in elections, though was careful in his response.

    He also said questions about Donald Trump’s business ties are valid though trusts the guidance Trump will get from White House counsel....

  11. Castro's death triggers strong and varying reactions among U.S. political leaders

    State Roundup

    Responses by top U.S. officials to the death of Fidel Castro varied far and wide Saturday, exposing a partisan divide in how to approach future dealings with the island nation.

    President Barack Obama, who normalized relations between the United States and Cuba, struck a hopeful note by offering "a hand of friendship to the Cuban people" and the promise of not dwelling on the mistakes of the past....

  12. Donald Trump: 'Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator'


    President-elect Donald Trump'a statement on Castro noticeably lacks a call to roll back the changes that happened under Barack Obama, though he says his administration will do "all it can" to ensure freedom.

    Trump's stance on Cuba has varied, and people on both sides will be watching closely as his administration gets under way.

    "Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.
    "While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve....

  13. Obama: 'We extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people'


    President Obama issued a measured response to the death of Fidel Castro, focusing on diplomatic advances rather than the oppressive era Castro ushered in.

    "At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans - in Cuba and in the United States - with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him. ...

  14. Rubio, Nelson react to Castro death


    Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson: 

    Rubio: “Fidel Castro seized power promising to bring freedom and prosperity to Cuba, but his communist regime turned it into an impoverished island prison. Over six decades, millions of Cubans were forced to flee their own country, and those accused of opposing the regime were routinely jailed and even killed.
    “Sadly, Fidel Castro's death does not mean freedom for the Cuban people or justice for the democratic activists, religious leaders, and political opponents he and his brother have jailed and persecuted. The dictator has died, but the dictatorship has not. And one thing is clear, history will not absolve Fidel Castro; it will remember him as an evil, murderous dictator who inflicted misery and suffering on his own people.
    “The future of Cuba ultimately remains in the hands of the Cuban people, and now more than ever Congress and the new administration must stand with them against their brutal rulers and support their struggle for freedom and basic human rights.”...

  15. Gov. Scott talks Castro with Trump


    Gov. Rick Scott says he spoke this morning with President-elect Donald Trump about the death of Fidel Castro.

    "I join join Cuban-Americans and Floridians across the country who are incredibly hopeful for the future of Cuba," Scott wrote in a statement. "After decades of oppression, the Cuban people deserve freedom, peace and democracy. I have met so many Cubans who have come to Florida to flee the tyranny, brutality, and communism of the Castro brothers’ oppressive regime and now is the time to look at policy changes that will demand democracy in Cuba. Today’s news should usher in an era of freedom, peace and human dignity for everyone in Cuba and the State of Florida stands ready to assist in that mission. I spoke to President-elect Trump this morning to let him know that the State of Florida will help his administration in any way to support a pro-democracy movement in Cuba.”...