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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Marti Mikkelson

About 200 people packed into the Municipal Building in downtown Milwaukee Thursday night to give input on the 2020 city budget. Mayor Tom Barrett told the crowd the spending plan for next year poses some unique challenges.

He says 83% of the resources in 2020 will go to the police, public works and fire departments. Departments like libraries, neighborhoods and health will make up less than 10%.

maayan silver

Talk of gun control surfaced in the State Capitol last week after mass shootings occurred in Texas and Ohio. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers called on the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass a bill that would require universal background checks for gun purchases. He also called for a "red flag" law to make it easier to remove guns from people believed to be a danger to themselves or others.  

maayan silver

Some Republican state lawmakers are suing Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul, saying he's not complying with laws passed during a lame-duck session late last year. The laws were designed to limit Kaul's powers, along with those of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. The GOP has asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case directly, bypassing the lower courts.  

In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, JR Ross of tells WUWM's Marti Mikkelson that both sides are commenting on the case.

Marti Mikkelson

Plans to expand some Milwaukee streetcar routes have been delayed again. A Common Council Committee decided Tuesday to put the plans on hold while it gathers more public input. Mayor Tom Barrett had pushed for the expansions, especially one that would extend the streetcar to Wisconsin Avenue in time for the Democratic National Convention (DNC) next summer.

maayan silver

Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker has accepted a full time job, running a national conservative youth organization. He begins the job in 2021, and says he won't run for office in 2022. He had been considering a run for governor or U.S. Senate.  

So, which prominent Republicans might be interested in challenging Democrat Tony Evers?  WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of in this week's Capitol Notes conversation.

Marti Mikkelson

What would you do if you're at a place of worship or a public institution and it's attacked? Would you be prepared?

Members of Milwaukee’s faith communities participated in training this week to know how to respond in the wake of a violent incident. The exercises were held at the Jewish Community Center in Whitefish Bay in response to recent armed attacks against religious and public institutions in the U.S.

Members of churches, mosques and other faith-based communities were invited to participate. The training was conducted by emergency medical workers from Israel.

Maayan Silver

Wisconsin saw a whirlwind of political activity last week, and it was all focused on Milwaukee. President Trump visited Derco Aerospace on the city's northwest side, and urged support of his U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. He also attended a fundraiser.

At the same time, the Latino civil rights group LULAC sponsored a town hall in downtown Milwaukee that featured several Democratic presidential candidates. Members of LULAC marched through the streets of downtown Milwaukee during the president's visit.  

Marti Mikkelson

Talking about death and dying can be hard. But an ongoing event in West Milwaukee aims to change that.

It’s called the “death cafe.” It's been held once a month on Sundays for about a year — and the conversations are candid. 

In a basement of a community center in West Milwaukee called the Womb Room, about nine women met for a recent meeting. After grabbing refreshments, they lounge on couches and arm chairs. Some have never been to one of these sessions. So, the host and founder of the gathering, Shantell Riley, explains the premise. 

State Capitol/Adobe stock

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that it's not the place of the federal courts to decide whether states use gerrymandering practices to redraw political district boundaries every 10 years. Because of the ruling, involving two other states, it looks like Wisconsin's redistricting trial this month will be canceled. A handful of Democratic voters sued in 2015, alleging the boundaries that Republicans drew in 2011 unfairly diluted their vote.  

In this week's Capitol Notes, WUWM's Marti MIkkelson asked JR Ross, of, what happens next.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Community leaders and activists will gather at the federal courthouse in downtown Milwaukee Tuesday to protest President Donald Trump’s containment of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Thousands of asylum-seekers have been held.

Critics accuse the Republican president of separating families and keeping children housed in deplorable conditions. The protesters will participate in a “National Day of Action,” demanding the closure of the facilities.

The Republican-crafted state budget is in the hands of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.  Both houses of the Legislature approved the two-year spending plan this week, after the GOP stripped Evers' major policy proposals, and made other big changes.  

Evers can sign the GOP budget, veto it or alter it with his "line-item" veto power.  The office of Wisconsin governor is said to have one of the most powerful veto pens in the country.  That power has survived court challenges.  


Republicans who control the Wisconsin Senate approved a two-year spending plan Wednesday, with just a one vote majority. The Assembly passed the budget earlier this week.

The budget now goes to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who could make some big changes. The office of the Wisconsin governor is known for having “the most powerful veto pen in the country.” Senate Democrats spent much of Wednesday blasting the Republican plan.

The Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee's version of the state budget is scheduled to go to the Republican-controlled Legislature this week. The plan would cut taxes by more than $300 million over two years, while raising title and vehicle registration fees to help pay for roads.  

The state Assembly is expected to approve the budget on Tuesday. But it could run into trouble in the Senate, which Republicans control by five seats. Two GOP senators say they'll vote against it and if a third flips, the budget could die in the Senate.  

Chuck Quirmbach

Work on the Foxconn complex in Racine County is well underway, and people who live in the area still have strong feelings about it. The Taiwanese electronics giant is building a massive LCD screen factory in Mount Pleasant, and has promised up to 13,000 jobs.

The plant is expected to open next year. But the size and other plans for the project have changed, causing some people to doubt the jobs promise – and to question the huge taxpayer investment.

The Joint Finance committee wrapped up its work on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' proposed budget last week. The panel finished by approving $500 million in tax cuts. It's expected to go to the floor of the Legislature next week. 

In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of whether the document will sail through both Republican-controlled houses.