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Now displaying: 2017
Nov 15, 2017

In 2016, a victory at the polls for a substantial minimum wage hike was a small bright spot for progressives in what was an otherwise devastating election. Now, some of the same people behind that referendum were able to pass a Medicaid expansion law over vocal opposition from Gov. LePage. Hallweaver is the legislative director for the MPA and she discusses these policy successes, progressive politics in general and the organization’s next big goal— a state-wide referendum on a universal long-term-care benefit for seniors who want to stay in their homes.

Host's note: This is our last episode of the opinion podcast for a little while. After a year of trying out a new medium, we are taking a hiatus to figure out what worked, what didn't, what we liked, and what we want to hear more of. What did you enjoy most about this podcast since you have been listening? What types of audio conversations and stories would you like to hear more of from the Press Herald? Please email us your thoughts at

Nov 7, 2017

After a more tense than usual municipal and state election season, host Greg Kesich and assistant editorial page editor Sarah Collins answer questions from readers about how the Press Herald Editorial Board makes endorsements of issues and candidates. Then, co-host Bill Nemitz unpacks his Sunday column that decried misleading use of the Press Herald logo in a candidate’s mailer. He feels it represents a trend of hard-edged political tactics in and around City Hall.

Oct 31, 2017

At 12 years old, Sarah Perry woke up to a fight in her home. When she got the courage to leave her room, she found her mother brutally murdered—and would have to wait more than twenty years until the killer was found. She spoke with reporter Kelley Bouchard about After the Eclipse, her memoir about life before and after the crime. Bouchard reveals the difficult responsibility of covering both brutal violence and personal stories. Also in this episode, Kesich and Nemitz take a few moments to untangle the case of the missing Waterville pit bulls, who allegedly escaped from the shelter the same hour they were ordered to be put down.

Oct 24, 2017

A huge school construction bond along with ballot questions that could block future rent increases, no-cause evictions and some developments have created divisions that are playing out  in a three-way race for an at-large city council seat. Violette, a West End resident, observes how a liberal city can get mired in infighting if there are no Republicans around to take advantage. Violette also shares why he voted for Trump, despite never loving his personality. 

Oct 17, 2017

With Sen. Collins choosing to remain in the Senate, host Greg Kesich, columnist Cynthia Dill and marketing project manager Molly Adams talk about the influence a moderate politician can have in such a politically divided time. They also break down allegations against Harvey Weinstein and discuss why it has shocked us into a new national conversation about sex, gender and power.

Finally, Greg talks with Megan Doyle, lead reporter for “From Away: Stories of Immigration in Maine,” who shares insider info about the editorial process in granting anonymity, finding sources and the decision to remove comments from the series. Read the complete series about Maine immigrants and the paths they traveled here.

Oct 10, 2017

Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich and columnist Bill Nemitz sit down with Roy Lenardson, a longtime Republican strategist. He has worked with conservative candidates and causes for more than two decades, and is currently sharpening the message for gubernatorial candidate Mary Mayhew and the anti-casino Vote No on 1 campaign. Lenardson explains his theories about why elections in Maine have become less predictable and pulls back the curtain on how he frames the issues that that will resonate with voters.

Oct 3, 2017

This week on the Podcast, politics reporter Scott Thistle joins Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich and columnist Bill Nemitz to talk about the political dynamics in a race where no one really knows how the votes will be counted. And  ranked-choice voting is just one of the, “multiple messes on multiple fronts,” the state government will confront in the months ahead.

Related stories:

LePage was to meet with Trump today in Washington

Lucas St. Clair enters race for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat

Sep 26, 2017

What are the issues that bring Democrats together and what are the ones that drive them apart? What are the lessons learned from election losses in 2010, 2014 and 2016? Will the enthusiasm of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign show itself in Maine politics? Bill Nemitz and Greg Kesich spend some time with Ben Grant to dig into those issues as the state gears up for the next gubernatorial election.


Sep 19, 2017

Hillary Clinton’s new book “What Happened” is her reflection on the 2016 election, but critical reception suggests some people wish she would keep her analysis to herself. Dill and Nemitz try to define the ideological division within the Democratic Party without using the names “Hillary” or “Bernie,” and discuss whether Trump’s immigration deal with Democrats is a new negotiating tactic or more of his predictably unpredictable political style.

Related stories:

Trump crosses aisle to Republicans dismay

Hillary Clinton: 'I am done with being a candidate'

Sanders rolls out plan for federally run health insurance

Sep 12, 2017

In November, Portland residents will vote on two ballot questions driven by citizen initiatives. One would allow resident input during the re-zoning process for new construction. The other would create a number of new rules for the city and its landlords with the goal of stabilizing rising rents. Randy Billings has been covering both issues. Host Greg Kesich and columnist Bill Nemitz discuss different political philosophies within the Republican party, both in the Maine governor’s race and in Washington.

Related stories:

West End residents file paperwork to block cold-storage warehouse on waterfront

Portland council puts rezoning process, rent increase initiatives on November ballot

Meet the candidates for Maine's 2018 governor's race

Aug 30, 2017

Host and editorial page editor Greg Kesich is joined by health care reporter Joe Lawlor and columnist Bill Nemitz to talk about Republican Susan Collins's position on health care policy that put her in the middle of the ACA debate and on the edge of her party.

Related stories:

Sen. Collins likely to be at center of Obamacare fixes

Susan Collins withstood intense pressure, ultimately voted against health care repeal

Bill Nemitz: Whine about insurance? For many Mainers it's really about surviving

Aug 22, 2017

Host Greg Kesich is joined by columnists Bill Nemitz and Alan Caron to discuss the history statues teach, Gov. LePage's propensity for penning personal notes and to analyze a presidency that is like no other. Plus, Nemitz previews his upcoming column on a class-action lawsuit against Poland Spring.

Related links:

Bowdoin relocates Confederate plaque

LePage pens notes to those critical of his stance on Charlottesville

Lawsuit says Poland Spring water is mislabeled because it really isn’t spring water

Aug 16, 2017

A few days after the violence in Charlottesville receded, our panel gathered to discuss the waves of social change and unrest in recent American history, including the arms-length relationship political parties have long-held with racist voting blocs. Then, as the more and more candidates throw down for the Governor's race, Alan Caron takes a stand and asks Susan Collins to stay in Washington.


Related links:

Alan Caron: The nation needs Susan Collins

Lewiston-born white supremacist leader was radicalized in prison, grandmother says

Trump says it again: There’s blame ‘on both sides’ in Charlottesville


Aug 8, 2017

In this episode, our columnists discuss a viral moment of sportsmanship at the 2017 Beach to Beacon 10K; Cynthia Dill argues that our good feelings were misplaced. Also: Bill Nemitz shares a behind-the-scenes story from Secretary of State Matt Dunlap’s involvement with President Trump’s voter fraud commission, and our panel sounds off on using handheld cellphones while driving.

B2B Maine winner collapses shy of finish, then ‘I felt someone pick me up’

Maine regularly sells voter data it denied to feds

As session ends, Legislature overrides LePage veto, raising legal age for tobacco to 21


Aug 1, 2017

Since Maine voters approved the legalization of marijuana for recreational use last fall, there have been a lot of changes and updates to exactly how the state will regulate recreational marijuana industry and business. Reporter Penelope Overton gives a play-by-play of recent rule-making in the legislature and explains how the laws will apply to home and commercial growers when they are implemented sometime next year.

And our columnists have projected and predicted plenty around Senator Susan Collins's political future possibly playing out in Augusta, but after this week, they are starting to think she may prefer her powerful spot on the Senate floor. After the collapse of Republican attempts to repeal, replace, or repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Bill Nemitz and Cynthia Dill weigh in on exactly how complicated the healthcare system can be with some economic analysis.

Related stories

Lawmakers propose 20% tax on recreational marijuana

Susan Collins withstood intense pressure, ultimately voted against health care repeal

Former Yarmouth teacher finds a new calling in the mashed potato business


Jul 25, 2017

As the latest session of the legislature closed this year, reporter Eric Russell was watching how lawmakers would respond to the opioid addiction and overdose crisis. Last year, 376 Mainers died after taking some form of prescription or street-bought painkiller: things like OxyContin, fentanyl, heroin, or a combination of drugs. Russell was the lead writer for Portland Press Herald's Lost, a chronicle of how addiction and death impacts communities as a whole, and thought the urgency of the issue would result in legal changes and ... it didn't. 

In this episode, Russell explains to social media editor Jim Patrick how ongoing narcotic addiction spread into the mainstream and they discuss how framing the issue as a moral crisis is impeding meaningful change.

Related Stories

Lost: Heroin's Killer Grip on Maine People

As Maine’s opioid crisis worsens, 128th Legislature largely does nothing

Mainers will soon be able to get Narcan over the counter

Jul 18, 2017

Editorial page editors Greg Kesich and Sarah Collins dug into the mailbags to crown Kathleen Mikulka as June's Letter Writer of the Month. In this episode, Mikulka joins us to share more about her teaching experience and why she is concerned about creating education policy based on test scores. We also hear from social media czar Jim Patrick, who makes the argument that while Facebook maintains its reputation for impulsive, ad hominem comments, the Press Herald has also attracted engaged, informed readers that will tempt you to defy the Internet principle of "Don't read the comments!"

Lastly, we dig into the funniest, smartest, most indignant messages from, featuring yarmouth1, bowdoin 81, elvisisdead, 3midcoastg8tor, and a special appearance by columnist Jim Fossell

Related Stories

Letter to the Editor: Raising the diploma bar slams doors

Our View: Indifference at State House prolongs Maine's opioid crisis

Kesich: If we let people die when it's time, health care may cost a lot less

Letter to the editor: Don’t let Congress discard lifesaving benefits of ACA

Jul 11, 2017

Press Herald columnists Alan Caron, and Bill Nemitz dive into the feast of political news from the past week with Editorial Editor Greg Kesich. From the short shutdown, to the Governor's intentionally misleading statements to lawmakers, the media, and citizens, from new fissures in the Democrat and Republican parties to the legislatures failure to pass significant policy changes in the afce of the opioid crisis. And bonus for the political science fans: on the day AG Janet Mills announced her gubernatorial candidacy, they spin a little game theory on how ranked choice voting will play out in primaries.

Related stories:

As Maine's opioid crisis worsens, 128th legislature largely does nothing

Voicemail debunks LePage’s claim he didn’t threaten to leave Maine during shutdown

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills enters 2018 race for governor

Jul 3, 2017

Our columnists Alan Caron, Cynthia Dill, and Bill Nemitz joined host Greg Kesich in our One City Center offices to discuss how we became and how long we will be one of a few states without a budget. Are there political lessons to be learned from the 1991 shutdown? Then Greg makes a call to our more conservative columnist Jim Fossel to get into the nitty gritty of the negotiations and what both sides of the aisle are trying to accomplish.

Our analysis is evergreen, but news can move fast and our facts were fresh as of Monday at 1:30 pm.

Related Stories:

Protestors greet budget negotiators as state shutdown enters third day

House vote again falls short in budget shutdown saga

LePage says he's going on vacation, as shutdown and budget talks continue

Jun 27, 2017

If the state shutdown is the inevitaility that the Governor assumes it to be, Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich and columnist Bill Nemitz project the financial and political fallout from the closure of state services and halting of payroll. They also examine the purpose of the American Health Care Act and how Susan Collins's public opposition could effect negotiations.  (Since we recorded, Susan Collins officially announced her dissatisfaction with the bill and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has delayed the vote until after the July 4 recess.)

Also in this episode, reader Victoria Hugo-Vidal joins Greg to talk about her letter explaining Millennial economics and personal finance. Her frank and funny personal writing earned her the May Letter Writer of the Month crown, which now comes with the offer of a podcast appearance.

Related Stories:

LePage says he believes the government will shut down Friday

Maine Voices: Senate health care bill will put older Mainers, cancer patients at risk

Letter to the editor: Forget avocado toast—many millennials barely surviving

Jun 20, 2017

They say "don't read the comments," but here at the newspaper, we can't help ourselves because the comments come from you, our beloved readers and subscribers.

So this week editorial page editor Greg Kesich and assistant editor Sarah Collins grab their favorite heartfelt, skeptical, whiny, funny, and outrageous comments off of our website. Kesich and Collins may get the final word on this podcast, but if you send us a note the conversation can continue.

Related Stories:

MaineVoices: One graduate missing on the Portland stage

Commentary: Studies show women marginalized in meetings and conversations

Greg Kesich: For Portland residents, a source of real fake news right in our backyard

Mainland parking near ferry, vital to island life, drying up in Portland

Jun 19, 2017

Medicaid is the country's largest public healthcare system. It made up 17% of the federal budget last year. The program subsidizes healthcare costs for people with low incomes, people with disabilities, and families with children. While Medicaid is mainly funded by the US government, states provide funding too. That means enrollment criteria and costs change from state to state and from year to year depending on state policy.

So sometimes it gets a little confusing. Health and human services reporter Joe Lawlor sat down with editorial page editor Greg Kesich to untangle the  overlapping systems and detail the recent and upcoming changes to MaineCare, the state's name for its Medicaid administration program.

Related stories:

Mainers to vote on whether to expand access to Medicaid under ACA

Maine would be among first states to impose work requirements, premiums on Medicaid recipients

Sen. Collins says Indiana's plan to expand Medicaid could be model for Maine

Jun 13, 2017

Portland Press Herald Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich along with columnists Alan Caron and Bill Nemitz discuss who needs to compromise with who in order to get the state budget passed, do some speculating on how Maine's undefined political soul could lead gubernatorial candidates to switch parties as they try to get through the primaries, take a teeny, little sip from the nips controversy, and admire Angus King's litigation skills on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Related stories:

Paul LePage ashamed to be part of 'this government'

LePage moves to end sales of 'nips' mini liquor bottles

Sens. Collins, King question Comey in high-stakes hearing

Jun 6, 2017

Portland Press Herald Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich and columnist Alan Caron discuss Susan Collins's prominent role on the Senate Intelligence Committee (and speculate about her ambitions to govern the state of Maine), the difficulties of uniting "the resistance" around focused issues and the Democratic party's lackluster response to the energy, and whether the legislature will be able to find a budget compromise to avoid a state government shutdown. 

May 23, 2017

Portland Press Herald Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich, and columnists Bill Nemitz, Alan Caron and Cynthia Dill discuss how conflict over the voter-approved surcharge on high-income earners could lead to a state shutdown. Then they weigh in on why some think it's unlikely that President Donald Trump will be impeached.

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