Jennifer Rooks

Public Affairs Host & Producer

As public affairs host at MPBN, Jennifer's been involved in numerous projects on both television and radio. She currently co-hosts and helps produce Maine Calling, MPBN's statewide daily (M-TH) radio call-in program. Previously, Jennifer was host and executive producer of Maine Watch with Jennifer Rooks. She has moderated more than twenty broadcast debates between candidates for statewide office. And, at MPBN, she has produced three television documentaries. Broken Trust: Elder Abuse in Maine, Winds of Change - both Maine Watch Special Reports - and A Matter of Duty: The Continuing War Against PTSD. Co-produced with Charlie Stuart, A Matter of Duty was shown on PBS television stations throughout the U.S. and in multiple screenings, including at the National Sheriff's Association national conference.

Jennifer joined MPBN in June of 2007 after spending more than 13 years at WCSH-TV in Portland, where she worked as a general assignment reporter and weekend news anchor. Since 1994, Jennifer has covered a broad number of Maine issues in every corner of the state. She has twice won an Edward R. Murrow award: in 1998, for coverage of Maine National Guard and Reserve soldiers deployed in Bosnia and Hungary, and in 2003, for the documentary Citizen King, about then-Governor (and former Maine Watch host) Angus King.

Jennifer grew up outside Atlanta, Georgia. She earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia (where she started her broadcast career in college radio) and her Master’s in Journalism from the University of California at Berkeley. She worked at television stations in San Francisco and Monterey, California, before coming to Maine. She and her husband Mike have two children.

Ways To Connect

Relations between Maine's Indian tribes and Governor LePage have grown tense since the governor rescinded an executive order promoting state cooperation with the tribes. We'll discuss why there's a disagreement and might happen next.

Guests:  Passamaquoddy Chief Fred Moore

Kirk Francis, Chief of Penobscot Nation

Stuart Kestenbaum, the long-time director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, joins us to talk about the world renowned school and what's next for him as he steps down as director later this month.

Guest: Stuart Kestenbaum grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey, and received a B.A. degree from Hamilton College. He has lived in Maine for many years and since 1988 has been the director of the Haystack Mountain School of Art and Crafts in Deer Isle.  He is also a poet.  His latest book of poetry is titled "Only Now."

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is twice that of those not disabled.  Learn why employing people with disabilities is a win - win for the employee - and the employer. 

Guests:  Jesus Larualez, director  of Work Opportunities Unlimited in Portland, Augusta and Brunswick.
Betsy Hopkins, Director, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Maine's Department of Labor
Lisa Sturtevant, Employment Services Specialist with DHHS's Office of Aging and Disability Services

How bad will the ticks be this season and what can you do to prevent being bitten?

Guests:  Chuck Lubelczyk, Field Biologist, Maine Medical Center Research Institute

Dr. Robert Smith, Principal Investigator, Maine Medical Center Research Institute

Jim Dill, Pest Management Specialist, UMaine

Senator George Mitchell has a new book out - "The Negotiator"  - a memoir in which he reflects on his life, from Maine to U.S. Senate Majority Leader... to the Baseball Commission... the Northern Ireland Peace Talks and peace efforts in the Middle East. Joins us for a conversation with Senator George Mitchell.

Guest:  George Mitchell served as a United States Senator from Maine from 1980 to 1995 and as Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995.