Marti Mikkelson

News Reporter

Marti, a Waukesha native, joined the WUWM news team in February of 1999. Previously, she was an anchor and reporter at WTMJ in Milwaukee, WIBA in Madison, and WLIP in Kenosha.

Marti’s work has been recognized by RTNDA, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, Associated Press, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, and the Milwaukee Press Club.

Marti earned a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. Marti currently lives on her favorite side of town – Milwaukee’s east side.

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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett raised many eyebrows last week when he said he's thinking of running for governor -- again.  It would be his fourth bid, and Gov. Walker has beaten him twice. 

Barrett would also be getting into a crowded Democratic field, as at least nine candidates are running active campaigns.

In this week's "Capitol Notes" conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com, about the likelihood of Barrett entering the race for governor this fall.

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People who shop at Boston Store could soon be seeing "Going Out of Business" sales -- and the loss of 2,200 jobs in Wisconsin.

A U.S. bankruptcy court Wednesday approved the sale of Boston Store's parent, Bob-Ton Stores, Inc. to a couple of liquidation companies.

Bon-Ton operates 260 stores in 24 states, including Boston Store and Younkers stores across Wisconsin.  The news is a blow to Milwaukee, including at the flagship Boston Store downtown, and the corporate offices in the same building.  

Marti Mikkelson

One of Gov. Walker’s erstwhile top lieutenants defended the Foxconn deal at a luncheon Tuesday in downtown Milwaukee. Former Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel spoke to a couple hundred people at the Rotary Club. While Neitzel assured the crowd of the Foxconn promise, some were skeptical.

Neitzel retired from the post last month, after helping to secure the agreement with Foxconn. He says he was honored to help the Taiwanese company build a huge LCD screen manufacturing plant in Racine County. Neitzel insists the deal will protect Wisconsin taxpayers.

Saul Loeb/Getty Images

Speculation is swirling over who'll run for Paul Ryan's seat -- now that the longtime Wisconsin congressman has said he is not seeking reelection this fall. 

Two Democrats, Randy Bryce and Cathy Myers, already were actively campaigning before the Republican's announcement last week. 

But, now that it's an open seat, more people from both parties are testing the waters.  In this week's "Capitol Notes" conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com, how he thinks the race will shape up, in coming weeks.

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Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan rocked the political world on Wednesday when the House Speaker announced he will not seek reelection in November. Ryan has held the seat that covers parts of southeastern Wisconsin for nearly 20 years and plans to finish out his term. He says he’s retiring with “no regrets.”

It means the race for the 1st congressional district is wide open this fall. Voters, elected officials and potential candidates weighed in on Ryan’s legacy – and what’s next.

Marti Mikkelson

Hundreds of people packed into a room at the MPS Administration building Tuesday night, as Milwaukee Public School Board members held their first discussions on next year’s budget. The district faces a $38 million deficit.

Superintendent Darienne Driver has proposed increasing employee health care contributions and raising co-pays for doctor visits as one way to save money. Emotions ran high, as scores of teachers and faculty members opposed the ideas.

Althouse

The U.S. Senate race between Republican state Sen. Leah Vukmir and Delafield businessman Kevin Nicholson heated up late last week.  The two will face each other in a GOP primary in August.  The winner will take on Democrat Tammy Baldwin in November.  

Nicholson released the results of internal polling, that shows he is 18 points ahead of Vukmir.  In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM's Marti MIkkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com, whether he thinks the Vukmir camp should be worried.

Courtesy of the Milwaukee Police Department

Update:

On Thursday, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission announced Alfonso Morales will serve as police chief through January 2020.

This is when former Police Chief Edward Flynn's term would have ended. Flynn retired in February and the commission then appointed Morales to serve as interim chief.

Original post, March 27:

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Some Wisconsin Republicans are reeling after this week's victory by Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet in the State Supreme Court election. Dallet easily defeated the conservative candidate, who had received the backing of Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

As returns came in Tuesday night, Walker got national attention for tweeting that he was worried about the "blue wave" taking over Wisconsin.

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet handily defeated Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock for a ten-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Dallet garnered 56 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election. The bitter battle featured support from political heavy hitters, as Dallet drew Democrats and Screnock attracted Republicans.

It was a wild week at the State Capitol, as Gov. Walker scrambled to get a court to overturn a Dane County judge's order that he call special elections to fill two vacant legislative seats. 

A second Dane County judge and a Wisconsin Appeals court refused to delay the order.  Walker was thinking about getting the state Supreme Court but in the end, decided not to, and went ahead and scheduled the elections. 

Marti Mikkelson

For nearly two decades, Milwaukee County’s Community Prosecution Program has been teaming up police with the District Attorney’s office to respond to citizen complaints. While it remains popular with residents, the program appears to be in jeopardy.

The federal government stopped funding the program last year. Only three of the seven Community Prosecution Units remain in operation in Milwaukee County, that is until they spend the last of the money allotted to them in previous years.

Whitney Curtis/Getty Images

Update:  Legislative leaders said Thursday that the extraordinary session scheduled for next Wednesday, to take up the bill that would have nullified the judge's order, has been canceled.    

Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday scheduled special elections to fill the seats vacated by Republican state Sen. Frank Lasee of De Pere and Republican state Rep. Keith Ripp of Lodi.  The governor issued an executive order, setting the elections for June 12.  Primaries for both seats will be held May 15, if needed.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Update: A Dane County judge Tuesday denied Gov. Walker’s request for a one week delay in having to call special elections for two vacant legislative seats. It means Walker has until Thursday to order the elections.

Meanwhile, the state Legislature is scheduled to vote on a bill next week that would change the law regarding special elections in Wisconsin.  

Marti Mikkelson

This week, we’re examining police-community relations, as part of our series Project Milwaukee: To Protect and Serve. The relationship is sometimes tense. But, there are examples of the police and community working together to solve problems.

I stopped at the monthly crime and safety meeting on Milwaukee's near south side last week. More than 100 people who live in the neighborhood filed in to the Mitchell Street Library to take their seats.

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