Marti Mikkelson

News Reporter

Marti, a Waukesha native, joined the WUWM news team in February of 1999. She is also host of WUWM's weekly political podcast, Capitol Notes.

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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Zach Gibson / Getty Images

A new Marquette Law School Poll out Wednesday touched on a hot-button issue of late – public opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court. The poll usually surveys people across Wisconsin on state issues, but this one surveyed more than 1,500 people nationwide. More than 1,300 were likely voters.


 Updated Wednesday at 9:35 a.m. CT

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett would reduce the city's police force by 120 positions in his proposed 2021 budget. Barrett is presenting the $1.5 billion budget to the Common Council Tuesday.

The police positions would be reduced through attrition. The mayor's budget cuts about $430,000 from the police department's current funding level.

The proposal follows the loss of 60 sworn police jobs in this year's budget, which cut the department to about 1,800 officers.


Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has essentially fired Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman. It happened amid a huge backlog of unprocessed unemployment claims that had piled up since the state shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Evers called for Frostman’s departure on Friday and he resigned shortly thereafter.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

At least two major party candidates are heading to Wisconsin again this week. Republican President Donald Trump and his running mate, Vice President Mike Pence, will make stops here  — after both visited within the last two weeks. Pence will be in Janesville Monday, while Trump will hold a rally Friday night in Mosinee. 

Political observers have highlighted Wisconsin’s importance in this year’s presidential race. Even so, it’s unusual to get two visits from both the president and vice president in such a short period of time.


Thursday was World Suicide Prevention Day. Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley marked the date by unveiling an expansion of a program designed to prevent deaths from suicide. He says the numbers are growing at an “unsettling” rate.

“The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office stated that current trends show we will likely surpass last year’s numbers for suicides, stating that there were 23 suicides last month alone," he says.

Pool / Alex Wong / Getty Images

The latest Marquette Law School Poll shows the race between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is tightening.

The poll surveyed about 800 registered voters and nearly 700 likely voters over a three-day period toward the beginning of September. It shows Biden leading Trump among likely voters by four percentage points, 47-43, which is within the margin of error of about plus or minus four percentage points. That’s a bit tighter than the August poll, which showed Biden ahead by five points at 49-44.

Maayan Silver

Last week saw historic visits to Wisconsin from President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Both candidates went to Kenosha in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Trump surveyed the damage that happened following looting and burning of businesses, and then held a roundtable with business leaders and law enforcement officials. Then, Biden visited Kenosha two days later and met with the family of Jacob Blake. He also called for the officer who shot Blake to be charged.

Marti Mikkelson

President Trump visited Kenosha on Tuesday and surveyed the damage to businesses that resulted in unrest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Trump also held a roundtable discussion with business leaders and law enforcement officials and said the federal government will help the community recover. Trump says his administration will provide $1 million to local law enforcement and $4 million to small businesses.  

Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office

Milwaukee police Officer Michael Mattioli will stand trial in the strangulation death of Joel Acevedo, who was attending a party at the officer’s house in April. Mattioli was off duty at the time. He's accused of putting Acevedo in a headlock, which turned out to be fatal.

Mattioli was bound over for trial following a preliminary hearing on Monday. He is charged with first-degree reckless homicide in the death of Acevedo. He’s currently suspended from the Milwaukee police force.


President Trump is expected to visit Kenosha Tuesday, nine days after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.  Trump's appearance happens among pleas from Gov. Tony Evers and Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian not to come to the city.


The mostly virtual Democratic National Convention is behind us now. Even though it wasn’t actually held in Milwaukee because of the coronavirus, the convention did have a bit of a Wisconsin flavor to it each night. Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Gov. Tony Evers and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin all spoke. Now, we turn to the Republican National Convention, which begins Monday in North Carolina and runs through Thursday. Republicans have also planned a mostly virtual event, and it will have a Wisconsin presence, too — as former Gov.

Marti Mikkelson / WUWM

Several hundred people gathered in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee Thursday on the final night of the mostly virtual Democratic National Convention. Originally, it was going to be held in person in Milwaukee. The protesters rallied and then marched through the streets near the Wisconsin Center, as former Vice President Joe Biden got ready to deliver his acceptance speech from his home state of Delaware.

Marti Mikkelson

Republican President Donald Trump held a rally in Oshkosh Monday as the Democratic National Convention was beginning in Milwaukee. He made remarks at a hangar at Wittman Regional Airport. About 1,000 people attended the event. They sat close together and only about half wore masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. Many wore “Make America Great Again” hats and waved signs that read “Trump 2020.”


Monday marks the start of the long-awaited Democratic National Convention. The four-day event when it was announced a year ago was originally going to take place in Milwaukee, dropping $200 million into the regional economy and attracting 50,000 visitors. But now, it’s mostly virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic. Joe Biden will accept his party’s nomination from his home state, Delaware. Most other speeches will occur in other places, too, although a few will be broadcast from Milwaukee.

Maayan Silver

The largely scaled-back Democratic National Convention begins in Milwaukee on Monday, against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.

A reduced in-person version of the gathering will be held at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee, with city and state leaders addressing the convention from the Wisconsin Center each night. Other than that, it will be a mostly virtual event after presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden and other speakers canceled their travel plans.

Marti Mikkelson

Gov. Tony Evers called up the Wisconsin National Guard last week to help staff the polls for Tuesday’s fall partisan primaries. Municipal clerks across the state reported they were short about 900 election workers, including in some areas of Milwaukee County. But in the city of Milwaukee, officials say they won’t need the Guard and they don’t expect a repeat of problems from the April election.

UbjsP /

Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to cast ballots for the August partisan primaries. In this special edition of Capitol Notes, we look at some of the more interesting races. One that’s received a lot of attention in the Milwaukee area is a two-way Republican primary for retiring GOP Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner’s seat. The district covers areas north and west of Milwaukee. Longtime state Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald announced a year ago that he was running for the seat, but he faces a challenge from Republican business owner Cliff DeTemple.

Screenshot / WisconsinEye

Embattled Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales talked about his future at a panel discussion on Tuesday before the Milwaukee Press Club. The Fire and Police Commission has issued a number of directives to the chief, with a caveat that he could be fired if he doesn’t meet them.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask requirement took effect over the weekend as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Wisconsin — and Republicans who control the Legislature are threatening to block it. Evers declared a public health emergency in order to issue the mandate, which applies to anyone over 4 for all indoor spaces except a person’s home. It also applies to bars and restaurants with outdoor seating areas.

Maayan Silver

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has directed state agencies to slash $250 million from their budgets in the coming months to make up for revenue losses incurred by the coronavirus pandemic.  The cuts would serve as a blueprint for when Evers and the Legislature craft a new state budget early next year. The cuts are in addition to the $70 million the governor ordered a few months ago, which took effect July 1. 

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence was in the battleground state of Wisconsin last week, campaigning for another four years of him and President Donald Trump. Pence made a couple of stops, including one in Ripon, the birthplace of the Republican Party. Trump narrowly won Wisconsin in 2016 and is trailing former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the polls.

OceanProd /

Updated Tuesday at 1:29 p.m. CT

The Milwaukee Common Council voted unanimously Monday to institute a citywide mandatory mask requirement.

Under the ordinance, anybody age 3 and older would have to wear a face-covering in buildings open to the public, as well as any outdoor public space when it’s not possible to stay 6 feet away from people who aren’t in the same household. There are exceptions for medical conditions or religious reasons.

The Milwaukee Health Department, not the police, would be in charge of enforcing the ordinance.

Chuck Quirmbach

The Wisconsin Republican Party held its annual state convention over the weekend in Green Bay.  About 300 people attended the two-day in-person event in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.  Masks were available, but few people wore them, and participants sat close to each other.  The GOP took the opposite approach of state Democrats, who held an all-virtual convention last month.

Maayan Silver

A federal appeals court panel has upheld some voting restrictions in Wisconsin just four months before the November presidential election. They include limits on in-person early voting hours to two weeks before an election -- and a return to requiring people to live in a district for 28 days, not 10, before they can vote.

In this week’s Capitol Notes conversation, JR Ross of discusses the winners and losers of the ruling with WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson. He also describes what the November presidential election might look like if the ruling stands.  

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence made separate stops in Wisconsin last week, while surrogates for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden held a virtual event here. Both sides took swipes at each other during their appearances.

In this week’s Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson asked Jeff Mayers of if all the attention signals Wisconsin’s importance in the November election.

Maayan Silver

Former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson is back in the public eye. The Board of Regents announced late last week that Thompson will be the interim UW System president while the search continues for a permanent replacement for Ray Cross, who is retiring. Thompson will assume the job on July 1, after the lone finalist for the position took himself out of the running.

In this week’s Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asks JR Ross of what he thinks an interim Thompson presidency will look like.  He says it won't be easy.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

Wisconsin's unemployment rate dropped from 13.6% in April to 12% in May, a “nice surprise” that reflects just the very beginning of the state's reopening after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the governor's stay-at-home order.

Katie Wheeler / flickr

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin held its annual state convention on Friday night, virtually instead of in-person because of the coronavirus. Elected officials gave speeches, and then it was time for the headliner – presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

He talked about the death of George Floyd while in police custody, and said the country needs to confront systemic racism. In a swipe at Republican President Donald Trump, Biden said he’ll restore “real leadership” to the White House.

Marti Mikkelson

Milwaukee has often been referred to as the “city of festivals” and a “city of immigrants.” Those two nicknames come to life every summer, when thousands of people flock to the lakefront to take in ethnic festivals. 

Each one is held on a separate weekend at the Henry Maier Festival Park, also known as the Summerfest grounds.

>>First Time in 53-Year History, Summerfest Canceled

Chuck Quirmbach

Protests continue across much of Wisconsin, after George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has asked the Republican-controlled Legislature to immediately pass a bill designed to reform use of force policies in Wisconsin

In this week’s Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of what the chances are of a bill being passed.