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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Environmental scorecard
5:58 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Maine Conservation Group Releases Annual 'Grades' for State Lawmakers

AUGUSTA, Maine - Nearly two-thirds of the Maine Legislature received a grade of 75 percent or higher from one of the state's leading conservation advocacy groups. Maine Conservation Voters released its environmental scorecard today, which highlights bipartisan efforts to protect Maine's water quality and invest in clean energy technology. Of the 13 bills cited by the group, lawmakers enacted a dozen, only to lose six to vetoes from Gov. Paul LePage.

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Your Vote 2014
5:54 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Cutler Unveils Welfare Reform Plan

Independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler today unveiled a welfare reform plan that would require some former recipients with jobs to pay back part of their income.  Cutler's plan also creates a tiered system so that benefits are reduced over time after someone finds a job, instead of being immediately cut off. The plan is already drawing fire from his opponents.

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Your Vote 2014
5:49 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Michaud Unveils Plan to Boost Maine Agriculture and Fishing

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud at a campaign event in November.
Credit Ed Morin / MPBN

Building on his comprehensive "Maine Made" plan outlined earlier this year, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud says he wants the state to become the food basket of New England through a series of new initiatives aimed at revitalizing the state's farming and fishing industries.

Bonds and grants to provide the capital for farmland and waterfront acquisitions are part of Michaud's plan. But Michaud also hopes to persuade state and municipal institutions to purchase more of their food from Maine producers.

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Welfare overhaul
5:34 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Clashing Views at Hearing on Maine Welfare Drug Testing Plan

AUGUSTA, Maine - The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine says a plan to require some welfare recipients to submit to drug testing is unconstitutional.  Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew says Maine has an obligation to ensure the program's cash benefits are not being used to subsidize drug habits. The department took testimony on the plan today.

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Your Vote 2014
5:44 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Maine Candidates for Governor Battle it Out Over the Airwaves

The three major candidates for governor have new television ads on the air with messages as diverse as the candidates themselves. Democratic nominee Mike Michaud is pitching his personal background, while an ad for Republican Gov. Paul LePage emphasizes that his actions are more important than his words. Meanwhile, independent Eliot Cutler released two ads this week, one on job creation and another that called out his opponents for limiting the number of statewide debates.

 

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Your Vote 2014
5:44 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

GOP Attacks Michaud Over 12-Year-Old Vote for Unanimously-Passed Measure

Democratic candidate Mike Michaud with supporters in Millinocket in 2012.
Credit Nick Woodward / MPBN

Maine Democrats are asking the Republican Party to retract campaign mailers that they say falsely accuse Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud of sponsoring a bill 12 years ago that laid the groundwork for the loss of jobs at Great Northern Paper. The GOP's position is complicated by the fact that the party's current chairman, Rick Bennett, was the president of the Senate when the unanimous vote was taken.

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Aging at home
5:39 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Maine House Speaker Unveils Plan for Helping Seniors Age at Home

Maine House Speaker Mark Eves unveils his "KeepMe Home" plan.
Credit A.J. Higgins / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - House Speaker Mark Eves says the state must do more to ensure that senior citizens can remain in their homes as they age. To that end, he rolled out his so-called "KeepMe Home" initiative today, which would send a $65 million bond package to the voters for the construction of new housing units, among other things.

Every day, about 50 Mainers turn 65. And Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves says their living options for the distant future are, at best, uncertain. But what many of them really want, Eves says, is what is own 91-year-old father wants.

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Maine
4:29 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Maine Lawmakers Grill Riverview Superintendent

The new sign at what's now the Riverview Psychiatric Recovery Center.
Credit Mal Leary / MPBN

A violent assault over the weekend at the Riverview Psychiatric Center couldn't have come at a worse time for the troubled hospital, which is trying to win re-accreditation and recover $20 million in federal funding. And some members of a legislative oversight committee today grilled Riverview's superintendent about the sudden appearance of a new sign in front of the hospital, suggesting administrators are more focused on image than on fixing the problems that plague what is now called "Riverview Psychiatric Recovery Center."

 

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Your Vote 2014
5:43 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

King Endorses Fellow Independent Eliot Cutler For Governor

U.S. Sen. Angus King, left, endorses independent candidate for governor Eliot Cutler at an event in Portland.
Credit Courtesy Cutler for Maine campaign

PORTLAND, Maine - Independent candidate for governor Eliot Cutler got a boost today in the form of an endorsement from Sen. Angus King. King, who also backed Cutler four years ago, cites the candidate's centrist political philosophy and business background that he says will serve Maine at a time of serious economic challenges. One political analyst says the King endorsement will provide a much needed shot in the arm for the Cutler campaign, which has been flagging in the polls.  

 

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Politics
5:29 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Maine Candidates Continue Debate on Appearing in Debates

The statewide debate over statewide debates entered its second day Thursday with the Poliquin for Congress campaign denying that it had declined an invitation to appear with his two 2nd Congressional District challengers on MPBN television this fall. Meanwhile, a short-lived alliance between conservative independent Blaine Richardson and Democrat Emily Cain fell apart after Richardson backed out of a joint pledge to boycott any debate that did not include all three candidates. A.J. Higgins has the latest developments in this ongoing story.

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