Patty Wight

News Producer

Patty is a graduate of the University of Vermont and a multiple award-winning reporter for Maine Public Radio. Her specialty is health coverage: from policy stories to patient stories, physical health to mental health and anything in between. Patty joined Maine Public Radio in 2012 after producing stories as a freelancer for NPR programs such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She got hooked on radio at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine, and hasn’t looked back ever since.

Ways to Connect

Brian Bechard / Maine Public

More and more, people are working later in life. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that Americans age 65 and over have shown the most growth in employment in recent years - a trend that’s expected to continue.

Environmental and health advocates in Maine are urging lawmakers to support a bill that would require schools on public water systems to test for lead. Currently, only schools that draw water from nonpublic sources, such as wells, must test.

Schools on public water systems are exempt from the testing requirement because the municipalities already tests for lead. But that can be a problem, says Democratic state Sen. Rebecca Millett, because that won’t necessarily reveal when there’s a localized problem.

Hagerstown Community College / Flickr/Creative Commons

Maine is facing a nursing shortage, and a new forecast predicts that the state will be down more than 3,000 nurses by 2025.

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

In the early hours Friday morning, Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia was confirmed as the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The reaction among physicians and consumer groups in Maine is mixed, because Price, who is also an orthopedic surgeon, has supported making major changes to Medicaid, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Most Americans don’t get enough exercise, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. And those over the age of 65 are the least likely to get with the program.

Mike Groll / Associated Press

Nationally, about 14 percent of the population is considered to be “food insecure,” and the numbers are on the decline. But not so in Maine, where nearly 16 percent of households lack reliable access to food.

A new study commissioned by the Preble Street Maine Hunger Initiative and Good Shepherd Food Bank finds that recent policy changes have deepened hunger in the state.

Elton Thornhill say he’s always hungry.

“Yesterday, I only had pasta and sauce, That was it,” he says. “One big meal, just some pasta and sauce. That was it.”

Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine is demanding answers from Kaleo Pharmaceuticals on why the company has drastically hiked the price of naloxone, the life-saving medication used to treat opioid overdoses.

King signed on to a letter Wednesday with more than 30 Democratic and independent Senate colleagues, asking Kaleo why the price of its naloxone injector has soared from about $700 dollars in 2014 to its current cost of about $4,500.

In the letter, lawmakers say the hike “threatens to price-out families and communities that depend on naloxone to save lives.”

Tom Porter / Maine Public

PORTLAND, Maine - The head of the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, Chris Hall, is stepping down. 

Hall says in his 10 years of working at the chamber, including the past four as CEO, membership has remained stable, while advocacy has grown.   

"Evidence of that was our victory in 2015, when we stepped up to oppose that $15 an hour minimum wage, which was just too far, too fast," he says.

The Maine Education Association is vowing to push back against newly confirmed U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, concerned that DeVos will weaken public schools.

MEA president Lois Kilby-Chesley says the confirmation of Betsy DeVos poses a direct threat to public schools because the new education secretary favors charter schools.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

For many Americans, the pay-off to a life of hard work is retirement, which historically has started at around age 65.  But as our population lives longer, those retirement years can now span decades.

Evan Vucci / Associated Press

About 300 health providers in Maine are publishing an open letter on Friday to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, asking her not to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a full replacement. 

Dr. Connie Adler, a family physician in Farmington, says rural Mainers especially are in danger of losing health care, "because there are a lot of rural Mainers who are self-employed, or work part time, or seasonally, who don't qualify for employer-paid health care."

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

Maine’s two U.S. senators say they'll wait and see what the hearing process reveals before making a decision on President Trump’s nomination of federal Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

The Maine Education Association and others opposed to President Trump’s choice for education secretary delivered about 12,000 signatures to Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ Portland office Monday.

Opponents of Betsy DeVos say she’ll destroy public schools in favor of charter schools. But some elected officials in Maine think DeVos will improve education by allowing more choice.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree is highlighting the importance of President Donald Trump's impending Supreme Court nominee, in light of his executive orders to repeal the Affordable Care Act, ban refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, and other actions.

"While there are a few judicial orders slowing down the president's actions, many of these critical questions could be driven to the United States Supreme Court, making this new appointment more vital than ever," the 1st District Democrat said at a news conference in Portland Monday morning.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

PORTLAND, Maine - Hundreds of people rallied in front of Portland City Hall Sunday morning to ask Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, to stand up to President Trump.   

Sarah Daignault of Portland said she's alarmed by Trump's cabinet nominees, and that his executive order to ban Muslim refugees goes too far.  

"It goes against everything I've ever believed that this country stood for," Daignault said. "Read the Pledge of Allegiance: Indivisible with justice and liberty for all.  We're not doing that."