About

Welcome to Maryland Matters, the premier site for news about Maryland government and politics.

Maryland Matters is an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan news site. We are not the arm of a profit-seeking corporation. Nor do we have a paywall — we want to keep our work open to as many people as possible. So we rely on the generosity of individuals and foundations to fund our work.

Years ago, healthy competition for news out of Annapolis and across the state produced robust coverage. But the media landscape has changed. Newspapers have closed. Suburban bureaus have shut down. Reporting staffs have shrunk. Coverage of state and local news has all but disappeared.

Maryland Matters seeks to fill the void with original reporting and commentary.

We are deeply grateful to the many kind donors who are supporting us. And with sustained support, we intend to continue our comprehensive coverage — from Ocean City to Oakland, from Capitol Hill to the State House to Baltimore City Hall.

We will cover all the important issues: education and transportation, poverty and health care, energy and the environment, the business community and organized labor, and of course, politics. Maryland citizens will have the news they need to hold their government and elected officials accountable.

Without independent news sites like Maryland Matters, many stories will never be told.

If you like what you read, please consider contributing to Maryland Matters. Your online contribution is secure and tax-deductible. Or you may mail a contribution check to Maryland Matters, P.O. Box 11121, Takoma Park, MD 20913.

Maryland Matters is a nonprofit entity, meaning we can solicit and accept tax-deductible contributions. Our tax ID is 83-0949175. We are members of the Institute for Nonprofit News, and an affiliate of States Newsroom, a consortium of nonprofit state-based news websites.

We welcome news tips, gossip, and all feedback.

Thank you for reading!

STAFF

Co-Founder + Editor
All posts by Josh Kurtz

Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and also spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics.For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.

Margaret Thale

Publisher

Margaret Thale is the founder of a direct-mail firm that, over two decades, raised money for advocacy organizations and campaigns. A former Capitol Hill aide, she was a reporter for The Milwaukee Journal and the La Crosse Tribune. Thale also was an editor of the acclaimed guide book, "Going Places with Children in Washington, D.C."

Deputy Editor
All posts by Danielle E. Gaines

Danielle Gaines covered government and politics for Maryland Matters for two years before moving into an editing position. Previously, she spent six years at The Frederick News-Post ― as the paper’s principal government and politics reporter for half that time, covering courts and legal affairs before that. She also reported for the now-defunct The Gazette of Politics and Business in Maryland and previously worked as a county government and education reporter at The Merced Sun-Star in California’s Central Valley.

Managing Editor
All posts by Angela Breck

Managing Editor Angela Breck is best known for her 17 years as editor of the Maryland Independent in Charles County. She also has been an editor of local editions of The Gazette newspapers in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. She is currently a contributor to The Lexington Park Leader in St. Mary’s County, and to Southern Maryland — This Is Living.

Margie Hyslop

Associate Editor

Margie Hyslop has covered government and politics in Maryland, Virginia and the national capital region for decades, working for The Gazette of Politics and Business, The Washington Times and The Montgomery Journal. She began that career on her native Eastern Shore. Her work has also appeared in The Daily Record and The Frederick News-Post.

Reporter
All posts by Bruce DePuyt

Bruce DePuyt spent nearly three decades on local television, including 14 years as executive producer and host of News Talk on NewsChannel 8 in the Washington, D.C., area. He has served as reporter, anchor and producer/host of 21 This Week in Montgomery County and as reporter/anchor at NBC affiliate WVIR-TV in Charlottesville, Va. He’s a regular contributor to WTOP (103.5 FM) and frequently moderates community and political events.

Reporter
All posts by Hannah Gaskill

Hannah Gaskill received her master’s of journalism degree in December 2019 from the University of Maryland. She previously worked on the print layout design team at The Diamondback, reported on criminal justice in Maryland for Capital News Service and served as a production assistant for The Confluence — the daily news magazine on 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR member station. Gaskill has had bylines in The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune, among other publications. Before pursuing journalism, she received her bachelor’s of fine art degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2016. She grew up in Ocean City.

Reporter
All posts by Bennett Leckrone

Leckrone is a December 2019 graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. He has interned at The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Columbus Dispatch, PennLive.com, The Dayton Daily News and The Troy Daily News. Leckrone is a Report for America corps member.

Reporter
All posts by Elizabeth Shwe

Shwe covered California state politics during her internship at The Sacramento Bee. She is a 2020 graduate of Princeton University with a degree in political science. At Princeton she was a producer for WPRB 103.3 FM News & Culture section, the station’s only long form podcast-type program. Shwe also wrote for The Daily Princetonian, and tutored with the Petey Greene Program, which offers free tutoring to incarcerated people. Shwe is a Report for America corps member.

Senior Contributor
All posts by William F. Zorzi

Bill Zorzi was a Baltimore Sun reporter and editor for nearly 20 years, focusing on government and politics. An Annapolis bureau veteran, he wrote a weekly column, “The Political Game” for the paper. Zorzi and another former Sun reporter, David Simon, are longtime collaborators on acclaimed television projects, including the HBO series, “The Wire,” and the HBO miniseries “Show Me a Hero,” which dealt with an explosive housing desegregation case in Yonkers, NY.

Ariana Figueroa

Washington correspondent
All posts by Ariana Figueroa

Ariana covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance. Before joining States Newsroom, Ariana covered public health and chemical policy on Capitol Hill for E&E News. As a Florida native, she's worked for the Miami Herald and her hometown paper, the Tampa Bay Times. Her work has also appeared in the Chicago Tribune and NPR. She is a graduate of the University of Florida.

Senior Contributor
All posts by Allison Stevens

Allison Stevens reports through the Newsroom's Washington, D.C. Bureau. She has been a reporter and editor at The Hill, Congressional Quarterly, Women’s eNews, and for nonprofit groups.

Commentator
All posts by Frank A. DeFilippo

Frank A. DeFilippo is an award-winning political commentator who lives and writes in Baltimore. DeFilippo, who pens a weekly column for Maryland Matters, has been writing about the comic opera of politics for more than 50 years. He reported on the Maryland General Assembly for 10 years before joining the administration of former Gov. Marvin Mandel (D) as press secretary and speechwriter. Between times, he was a White House correspondent during the administration of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, and he has covered six national political conventions. DeFilippo is the author of “Hooked,” an alleged work of fiction, and an unpublished manuscript, “Shiksa: The Rise and Fall of Marvin Mandel.”

Commentator
All posts by Alanah Davis

Alanah Davis is a Baltimore-based artist, community advocate, social change and arts consultant. She is an M.A. candidate in Social Design at Maryland Institute College of Art.

Commentator
All posts by Maricé I. Morales

Maricé I. Morales writes a regular column for Maryland Matters. She is an attorney and former state legislator who represented Montgomery County in the House of Delegates.

Co-Founder
All posts by Louis Peck

Co-founder Louis Peck is the founding editor of National Journal’s Congress Daily, who, over nearly two decades, built the publication into essential reading for members of Congress and their staffs, along with lawyers, lobbyists, businesses, advocates and federal officials. He is now a contributing editor for Bethesda Magazine, providing comprehensive and sophisticated coverage of Montgomery County politics, and is a contributor to the Almanac of American Politics.

Editorial Intern
All posts by Samantha Hawkins

Samantha Hawkins is a current journalism masters student at the University of Maryland. She has previously reported for The Diamondback, covered the Oregon State Legislature for the The Statesman Journal, and covered the Maryland congressional delegation for Capital News Service.

In Memoriam

Keith Haller (1948-2018)

Co-Founder

Co-founder Keith Haller was a longtime communications and political professional who ran his own public affairs and polling company in Bethesda for 30 years after a career in government and politics. He offered independent analysis on Maryland elections and politics for the media, and his services and wisdom were regularly in demand by Fortune 500 companies, government leaders, political campaigns and nonprofit groups.

Keith was an integral part of the early planning and strategizing for Maryland Matters whose ideas and encouragement were invaluable. We miss him terribly.