A.J. Higgins

State House Bureau Chief

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.

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Environment
5:03 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Plymouth Residents Raise Stink over Sewage Processing Facility

Ken Fredette (left) and Plymouth resident Linda Seavey.
A.J. Higgins MPBN

PLYMOUTH, Maine — For nearly 15 years, residents in this sleepy central Maine community have been engaged in a battle with a sludge processor. The issue is odor, as the company transforms sewage into organic nonfood crop fertilizers. And now a new proposed state regulation could further intensify that dispute.

  When Joe Mousseau and his wife were visiting the Plymouth area from Arizona a few years ago, they decided they liked it so much, they would retire there. But then one summer day, Mousseau sensed there was something in the wind — something bad.

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Judicial nominees
5:53 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

LePage's Top Judicial Nominees Win Panel's Unanimous Approval

Deputy Attorney General William Stokes, whose nomination to the Superior Court bench was approved today by a legislative panel.
Credit Mal Leary

A Maine legislative panel today took up Gov. Paul LePage's nominees for top judicial appointments. The governor has frequently turned to Republican ideologues or like-minded business conservatives when searching for people to fill a variety of posts in Maine state government. But the chief executive deviates from that practice when it comes to judicial nominees.

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Your Vote 2014
6:11 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Viability of Cutler Campaign Questioned in Wake of Finance Reports

Independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler, who is trailing in the fundraising battle in the race for the Blaine House.
Credit File photo

According to campaign finance reports submitted last night, Democratic candidate Mike Michaud has more than $1 million in cash on hand, and is closely followed by Republican Gov. Paul LePage. Independent candidate Eliot Cutler trails, with just over a half-million - and that includes a large sum that he personally contributed to his campaign. One Maine political scientist says it may be time for Cutler to rethink his candidacy.

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Your Vote 2014
4:08 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Michaud Campaign Intern Suspended After Twitter Rants

An unpaid intern volunteering at the Michaud for Governor campaign has been suspended after posting a collection of expletive-laden rants on his personal Twitter account.

Michaud's campaign manager, Matt McTighe, says the remarks posted by Ben Gagnon "cannot be defended and do not represent the views of the campaign." McTighe also was critical of Republican Party spokesman David Sorensen for making Gagnon the focus of a press release that alerted the media to the profane tweets.

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New Brunswick agreement
5:51 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Maine Seeks to Strengthen Economic Ties with New Brunswick

Gov. Paul LePage hopes to encourage expanded economic ties with the province of New Brunswick through a memorandum of understanding signed today with Premier David Alward. The governor's office says the agreement is designed to strengthen relations between both regions by identifying areas for future job creation and cooperation in trade development and tourism. 

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Medicaid cuts
5:01 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

MaineCare Cuts Leave Mentally Ill Adrift and at Risk

When Maine made deep cuts to its Medicaid program last January, 25,000 parents and childless adults lost their health care coverage. More than six months later, staffers at the Maine chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness say they are overwhelmed by calls.

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Nursing home funds
5:37 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

LePage Taps State and Federal Funds to Shore up Maine Nursing Homes

Gov. Paul LePage explains his nursing home funding fix as Maine DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew looks on.
Credit A.J. Higgins

The LePage administration says it has found nearly $5 million to help Maine's 106 nursing homes meet rising operating costs. Together with federal matching funds and a legislative initiative approved earlier this year, the state's nursing homes will receive a $25 million boost over the next year. 

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Nursing home funds
5:17 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Partisan Sparks Fly in Wake of Pittsfield Nursing Home Closure

The recent announcement that a Pittsfield nursing home will have to close because of low MaineCare reimbursement rates is re-igniting a political fight at the State House.

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Hate site
5:28 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Online Hate Site Attracting Relatively High Proportion of Mainers

An international Web site with more than a half-million members around the world has a comparatively high following in Maine, according to a study undertaken by a Harvard economist.

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Amtrak Downeaster
5:29 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Rail Authority Sticks to Brunswick Layover Plans, Despite Opposition

The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority appears to be unswayed by opposition to a planned $16 million layover facility in Brunswick. Opponents, including state lawmakers and local residents, say the facilility will generate noise, and say Brunswick is not the best site.

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