A.J. Higgins

A.J. came to MPBN in August 2007 after a recent stint as a staff writer for Blethen Maine Newspapers, where his work for the Kennebec Journal in Augusta also appeared in the Waterville Morning Sentinel, the Portland Press Herald and the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Prior to joining the Kennebec Journal, Higgins served for 13 years as Political Editor and State House Bureau Chief for the Bangor Daily News.

He began working for the BDN in 1972 while still a senior at Bangor High School when his first job was casting the lead plates for the printing presses in the paper’s stereotype department. In the ensuing 34 years, Higgins moved up to the Editorial Department where he quickly immersed himself in nearly every facet of news reporting, editing and photography.

In addition to his extensive coverage in the greater Bangor area, he also worked in the paper’s Presque Isle Bureau and was named bureau chief of the paper’s Hancock County operations in Ellsworth in 1988. He was assigned to the State House in 1993.

A.J. resides in Manchester with his wife, Diane.

Maine tourism officials say the state is poised to match and likely surpass last year’s record-breaking tourist season, which produced more than $5.5 billion in revenue. This, following a summer that was short on rain and long on savings at the gas pump.

As the LePage administration prepares a new two-year budget, tourism groups are releasing a series of new ads detailing the industry’s broad effect on Maine’s economy.

The Penobscot County Metro Treatment Center is moving forward with its lawsuit against the city of Bangor after a federal judge ruled Tuesday that a city ordinance regulating methadone clinics is discriminatory.

The court did not grant the center’s request for injunctive relief, meaning, pending a favorable court ruling, the clinic’s client base will remain at no more than 300 patients.

Donald Trump roared into Bangor Wednesday afternoon into the collective embrace of about 5,000 loyal supporters at the Cross Center. The audience applauded the presumptive Republican nominee’s promises of great trade deals, expanded job opportunities and a no-exceptions immigration policy that he says will make America safe.

All of the campaign hoopla played well in the heart of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, where large numbers of conservative voters could hand Trump one Electoral College vote if he carries the region in November.

More than 1,000 people packed an Orono meeting Monday evening to offer their opinions on the possible creation of a North Woods national monument.

U.S. Sen. Angus King, who served as moderator, said the event at the University of Maine and a smaller one earlier in the day in East Millinocket were set up as a chance for National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis to hear how Maine people feel about a 90,000-acre national park in the shadow of Mount Katahdin. He heard plenty from both sides.

A bill that would use federal Medicaid dollars to expand access to drug addiction treatment and mental health services passed narrowly in the Senate Wednesday and was approved almost entirely along party lines in the House.

Rep. Charlotte Warren, a Hallowell Democrat, told her seat mates they should listen to Maine’s law enforcement community who say the bill would provide financial assistance to the state’s cash-strapped county jails.

During a speech to the Orono-area business community, Gov. Paul LePage lashed out Tuesday night at independent U.S. Sen. Angus King, accusing the former governor of using Maine politics as a stepping stone to increasing his personal wealth through investments in wind energy.

The Maine House has joined the Senate in endorsing a bill that would put Maine on the path to holding presidential primaries in 2020.

The move comes in the aftermath of this year’s caucuses, which resulted in voters waiting in long lines to attend the forums.

Republicans and Democrats in the Maine House gave overwhelming support to the bill that would establish a March presidential primary in Maine while charging the secretary of state with submitting a bill next year to address its costs and logistics.

Lawmakers in the Maine House and Senate worked into the evening Thursday to resolve nearly three-dozen calendar items that included numerous bills in which House and Senate votes conflicted with one another.

Several bills prompted brief debates, including one committee report requiring state government to purchase Maine-made products and contract services from Maine businesses whenever possible.

Voters could get a chance to weigh in on whether foods produced from genetically modified organisms should be labeled for consumers.

Chief Justice Leigh Saufley says Maine needs more alternatives to incarceration if the state wants to stem the rising numbers of drug prosecutions that are clogging courtrooms.

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Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

AUGUSTA, Maine - The day started out pretty well for Gov. LePage. He greeted nearly 100 supporters at the State House during an impromptu rally praising his budget priorities and "get tough" approach with legislators.

AUGUSTA, Maine - On the Maine Legislature's opening day, partisan lines were drawn in the Republican-led Senate, which rejected a demand from Democrats that would have effectively left the voters of southern Maine's District 25 without a state senator.