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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State lawmakers are holding a flurry of committee hearings this month, as they wrap up much of their work in this two-year legislative session.  Then, they'll largely turn their attention to the elections this fall. 

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says his party will be "very aggressive" in passing welfare reform measures.  But why is that a subject GOP lawmakers want to leave on voters' minds?  WUWM's Marti Mikkelson posed that question to JR Ross of wispolitics.com for this week's Capitol Notes conversation.

It appears Gov. Walker’s proposal to close two troubled juvenile prisons in northern Wisconsin is on a fast track. He says he wants the Republican-controlled legislature to approve his plan this year, after saying earlier this month that lawmakers could take it up next year. Legislative leaders plan to meet Wednesday to discuss the feasibility.

Marti Mikkelson

House Speaker Paul Ryan chastised President Trump Friday, calling his slur about African countries "very unfortunate" and "unhelpful."  Ryan spoke to a room full of Wisconsin lawmakers, business executives and education leaders at a forum in downtown Milwaukee, sponsored by Wispolitics.  He was referring to Trump's asking, during an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers, why the U.S. should admit more immigrants from "shithole countries" in Africa.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is the latest hopeful to join the crowded field of Democrats who want to challenge Gov. Walker this November. This brings the number to 17 Democrats who’ve either formally announced their bids or are considering a run.

As of Friday, January 12, here's who have formally announced their campaigns:

Marti Mikkelson

The chair of the Milwaukee Common Council’s Public Safety committee didn’t mince words Tuesday, when he outlined the qualities he would like to see in the next police chief. Ald. Bob Donovan has been a longtime critic of Chief Edward Flynn, who announced he’ll be retiring next month. 

Donovan gave what he called the “State of Public Safety in the City” address at City Hall on Tuesday. It included what he wants to see in the next police chief, and also a broader plan for reducing crime.

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State corrections officials are busy working on plans for shuttering two troubled juvenile prisons, after Gov. Scott Walker announced the closures late last week.  The announcement came as a surprise to many.  Despite lengthy probes into alleged mistreatment of inmates -- and inmate attacks on staff -- Walker had been defending the corrections department and the facilities.

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Some Republican lawmakers want the federal government to lift the mandate for selling reformulated gas in southeastern Wisconsin under a bill making its way through the state Legislature. Sales of the cleaner-burning fuel were required for six counties in 1996 as part of the federal Clean Air Act.

At the time, the corridor between Milwaukee and Chicago was considered a high ozone area, and state lawmakers felt it was necessary for drivers here to use reformulated gas. Supporters of scrapping “RFG” think the requirement is obsolete, but Democrats disagree.

For this edition of Capitol Notes, we look ahead to the big Wisconsin political stories of 2018.  JR Ross, of wispolitics.com, predicts Foxconn will top the headlines in this new year.  The state provided $3 billion in incentives for the Taiwanese company to locate here.  

WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked him if he thinks it'll be smooth sailing, now that the state and the company have signed a contract.

Ross also predicts that the governor's race, the Wisconsin U.S. Senate race and the future of House Speaker Paul Ryan will make big news in 2018. 

For our Capitol Notes conversation today -- we examine the year in politics.  One of the biggest Wisconsin stories of 2017 was Foxconn, and the state's $3 billion incentives package for the Taiwanese company to locate here.  

Gov. Walker championed the deal, saying the huge LCD screen manufacturing plant in Racine County will transform the state's economy.  But, Democrats were skeptical and blasted the plan during the debate.

WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com, why the governor pushed so hard to land Foxconn.

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The year is winding down, and so is activity at the State Capitol.  Lawmakers will cease much of their work there in the next couple months, before turning their attention to the fall elections.  

WUWM's Marti Mikkelson wondered whether legislators will pass any significant bills before going their separate ways, such as a measure that would ban fetal tissue research on UW campuses or allowing the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit.

She asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com for his thoughts, as part of our Capitol Notes conversation.

Marti Mikkelson

Plans are beginning to take shape for Foxconn in Racine County. The Department of Transportation recently held an open house to answer questions about road construction in order to make way for the Taiwanese firm’s huge LCD screen factory. One piece of the puzzle yet to fall into place is how to get many potential workers to the jobs.

Last week, dozens of people packed into a couple of rooms at the Mount Pleasant Village Hall to look over road construction plans. The DOT is making changes along I-94, while also improving access roads around Foxconn's manufacturing campus.

Marti Mikkelson

Dozens of women involved in the sex trade have been able to get much needed services and some peace of mind, after a safe place opened for them on Milwaukee’s near south side nearly a year ago.

Sisters Program South, located in Hope House on S. 2nd and W. Orchard Streets, aims to help women eventually get out of the trade.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A lot of people are wondering about House Speaker Paul Ryan's future, after reports surfaced last week that he may leave Congress next year.  In this week's "Capitol Notes" conversation, Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com what he thinks of the scuttlebutt.  He says there are some logical explanations as to why Ryan might be eyeing the exits, but there are also reasons to question the reports.

Marti Mikkelson

Many African-American men in Milwaukee face a number of challenges, including unemployment, poverty and mass incarceration. But, a two-day summit that’s underway is helping black teens and boys overcome some of those barriers. Several young people we spoke with talked about the hurdles they face.

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Sexual harassment claims became public last week, regarding Democratic state Rep. Josh Zepnick.  Two women allege Zepnick kissed them against their will.  In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com whether he expects to learn about more harassment complaints in Madison.

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