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.

» Contact WUWM News

Ann Althouse

Two new groups will begin administering Wisconsin’s elections and ethics laws this new year. 

Gov. Walker recently signed a bill that will dismantle the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board and replace it with two panels of partisan appointees, an elections commission and an ethics panel, by June 30, 2016. Republican leaders insist the Board was not responsive to their concerns.

Outgoing GAB Director Kevin Kennedy says he will assist in the transition.

Marti Mikkelson

Each year, WUWM profiles the unsung heroes in Milwaukee. Today, we feature Carmen Pitre, executive director of the Sojourner Family Peace Center. It shelters and aids victims of domestic violence.

Carmen Pitre sits at a conference table in the new shelter for battered women that she’s envisioned for years. It’s a huge brick building covering a square block of Milwaukee’s central city and actually won’t open until February.

Getty Images

Politics in Wisconsin took a wild ride in 2015. Perhaps the highlight was Gov. Walker’s short-lived presidential campaign.  He virtually began stumping for the White House at the beginning of the year, making stops in early primary states. He billed himself as a fresh face and his policies seemed to appeal to conservatives. 

Marti Mikkelson

Federal investigators assured concerned Milwaukeeans on Thursday that significant reforms will be forthcoming in the police department. 

The feds are going to review practices within the MPD and recommend how it can improve.

The move happens in light of Dontre Hamilton’s death. An officer shot and killed him during a scuffle in 2014 in a downtown park where Hamilton was resting.

flickr.com

    

Wisconsin could soon assign a watchdog to each state agency. The person’s job would be to guard against government waste and fraud.

Some Republican lawmakers are pushing a bill that would set up an Office of Inspector General. It would employ more than a dozen new hires who would fan out among departments. The proposal is divisive.

Marti Mikkelson

Milwaukee’s Latino voters may find themselves being courted next year. A national conservative-leaning group, The Libre Initiative, plans to open a field office in town.

Backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, the initiative is designed to sway Latino voters in battleground states.

The group won’t be the only one reaching out to Latinos here in 2016, but it will be the newcomer and a competitor.

flickr.com

    

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan on Thursday delivered his first big political speech as House Speaker. He called on Republicans to offer voters a comprehensive alternative to Democrats’ agenda.

Among the changes Ryan is recommending, is altering the country’s safety net programs. Wisconsin has been heading in that direction since Republicans took control of state government in 2011.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to revisit its ruling, to shut down the John Doe investigation into Gov. Walker's recall campaigns.  Justices ruled 4-1.  

The court also concluded that the appointment of Francis Schmitz as special prosecutor was improper.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm launched the investigation  in 2012, to look into whether the governor's campaign illegally coordinated with outside conservative groups on issue ads.  

The Supreme Court halted the investigation this past July, ruling such coordination was legal.

Justin Hofmann, flickr

We will soon learn how many people are interested in serving on the Milwaukee County Board – now that it’s becoming a part-time job. Candidates can begin circulating nomination papers today, Dec. 1.

The state has imposed structural changes on the board. The one that will kick in, following April’s election, is that the job of supervisor will become half-time – in terms of salary and benefits.

Rafael Ben-Ari, Fotolia

Which bathrooms should transgender students use? That question drew scores of people to Wisconsin's State Capitol on Thursday.

They testified on a bill that would forbid transgender students from using the bathroom for the gender with which they identify. The same would hold for locker rooms.

nrcgov, flickr

There’s talk in Wisconsin of resurrecting nuclear power. Right now, there’s only one working plant here, the Point Beach facility along Lake Michigan. 

The state imposed a ban on new nuclear plants in 1983 after a few scares elsewhere.

On Wednesday, dozens of people packed into a hearing at the State Capitol to testify on a bill that would lift Wisconsin’s moratorium. Most who weighed in say they favor the change.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday regarding who ultimately administers public education – the state superintendent or the governor.

The court is considering whether to overturn its own ruling from 20 years ago. It stopped then-Gov. Tommy Thompson from taking control of the Department of Public Instruction. Current state leaders have considered doing the same.

justin w kern

Wisconsin’s state government is pretty lean, compared with other states, but Gov. Walker believes it probably can find more ways to slim down, so he’s created a panel to offer ideas.

Walker’s Commission on Government Reform, Efficiency and Performance recently held its first meeting. Members have a range of places they’d like to look.

Marti Mikkelson

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and his new commissioner of failing MPS schools say they don’t intend to step on any toes. 

On Thursday, Abele introduced the person he’s selected for the job – Dr. Demond Means, superintendent of the Mequon-Thiensville district.

State law now tasks him with taking control of the lowest performing MPS schools and boosting their student achievement. Means can restructure up to three schools in each of the next two years, and up to five, afterward.

Marti Mikkelson

    

Hundreds of supporters came from all over southeastern Wisconsin to get a glimpse of their favorite presidential candidates in Milwaukee Tuesday night. Fox Business and the Wall Street Journal hosted the fourth Republican debate at the Milwaukee Theatre.

Many people attending the debate were dressed in suits and business attire as they walked through metal detectors and filed into the theater. After two hours, the crowd poured out of the place, brimming with excitement. Lauren Remsik lives in Milwaukee and says after seeing four debates, she’s still undecided.

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