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 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 Supporters of scrapping “RFG” think the requirement is obsolete, but Democrats disagree.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, 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, why the governor pushed so hard to land Foxconn.


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 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.

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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 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.


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 whether he expects to learn about more harassment complaints in Madison.

Tracy Symonds-Keogh

A federal appeals court on Friday overturned a ruling that could have freed a Wisconsin inmate featured in the Netflix series "Making a Murderer."  The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that police properly obtained Brendan Dassey's confession, and he should remain in prison. 

The judges were sharply divided, voting 4-3 that authorities did not cajole Dassey into admitting his crimes.  Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007, after he told detectives that he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill photographer Teresa Halbach. 

Leaders in the state Assembly -- from both parties -- stated last week that they won't release records related to claims of sexual harassment within the chamber, in order to protect victims' privacy.  WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of how the decision might sit with constituents.

Ross also talks about the likelihood of the state Legislature approving Gov. Walker's request for $7 million to launch a massive ad campaign to attract Foxconn workers -- and we discuss whether the governor will appoint a conservative candidate for Milwaukee County Sheriff.

Several dozen people shared their ideas Thursday night, on how to build better relations between Milwaukee police and the community. The group, African American Roundtable held a town hall meeting on the north side. We stopped by the gathering and asked people about their concerns.

Sheila Hills lives in Milwaukee’s Metcalfe Park neighborhood. She says the area is struggling, and there are issues that contribute to crime.

“I see a lot of unemployment there and that idles people. It stagnates the neighborhood and I see a lot of boarded up houses.”

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The 2018 governor's race continues to take shape.  Democrats are still entering -- or considering getting into -- the race.  And, Republican incumbent Scott Walker has officially launched his re-election bid.  For a look at where things stand today, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson checked in with JR Ross of

Ross says Democrats Tony Evers, Dana Wachs and Andy Gronik appear to be top-tier candidates at this stage of the game.

The biggest issues in the race will likely be Foxconn, Gov. Walker's jobs promise, transportation and education.

John Moore/Getty Images

Milwaukee County is taking some big steps in its effort to combat opioid addiction. The county has received grants totaling more than $2.5 million to help boost two programs that help people addicted to opiates get back on their feet.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announced the new grants at the Juvenile Justice Center in Wauwatosa. He told the group that gathered that opioid addiction has reached epidemic proportions. Abele says the number of deaths is staggering, and it dwarfs just about anything else in history.