Author

Melanie Conklin

Melanie Conklin

Melanie Conklin is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications. She is excited to be back at the craft of journalism as Deputy Editor of the Wisconsin Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.

Wisconsin: First to kill the death penalty

By: - August 1, 2019

Attorney General William Barr announced last week that the federal government will begin executing prisoners in December after a 16-year hiatus. President Donald Trump, a longtime supporter of capital punishment, has called for its expansion to punish certain drug crimes and his Supreme Court appointments have moved the court to the right on this issue.  […]

Heated weekly radio addresses throw shade

By: - July 26, 2019

Mental health of farmers This week state Sen. Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire) stepped up to the Democratic plate for the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association’s Democratic weekly radio address — on a tense topic that had Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary-designee Brad Pfaff feuding this week. […]

Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban could come back in force

By: - July 24, 2019

Back in 1849, construction began on a railroad running westward from Milwaukee. That same year,  the state’s first telegram arrived. Wisconsin also passed a law in 1849 making it a felony to perform an abortion. In 2019, 170 years later, that law remains on the books. There have been attempts to get rid of it, […]

Sen. Baldwin and Slinger teen ensure ‘Lasting Smiles’

By: - July 23, 2019

Major birth defects affect around 3% of babies born in the United States and are a significant cause of infant mortality, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One of those children is 14-year-old Aidan Abbott from Slinger, Wis., who was born with Ectodermal Dysplasia and has needed extensive oral care and reconstructive […]

Some millionaires pay lower taxes than minimum wage earners in Wisconsin

By: - July 23, 2019

Thanks to a little-known big ‘MAC’ tax credit, a minimum wage worker serving Big Macs could pay more in state income taxes than a profitable corporation making millions in Wisconsin. Despite lots of talk by Democrats in the last election about eliminating or reducing this tax break, the recently signed state budget does nothing to […]

Assembly chambers (photo by Melanie Conklin)

Vos gives insight into state Assembly’s fall agenda 

By: - July 19, 2019

Democratic and Republican legislators do a Weekly Radio Address, addressing what they see as the “hot” issue each week. You won’t be surprised to learn from earlier coverage in the Wisconsin Examiner this week that the topic chosen by Rep. Robyn Vining (D-Wauwatosa) is “Fair Maps for a Fair Wisconsin.” The key example of the […]

Student debt earns Wisconsin a bad ranking

By: - July 18, 2019

Student debt is a hot topic in politics and campaigns, in no small part because after mortgages, it is the largest type of debt in the United States. This month the financial literacy site Wallet Hub ranked the states on “most to least” in student loan debt. Wisconsin placed as the 18th worst on the […]

Wisconsin dairy farmers’ struggle featured on PBS NewsHour

By: - July 16, 2019

In a PBS NewsHour story that aired Sunday, weekend anchor Hari Sreenivasa visited dairy farms in Clark County, Wisconsin, to tell the story of dairy farmers’ fight for survival in their struggling industry. He began the piece noting that 2,700 dairy farms went out of business last year and that one-third of those farms were […]

Appleton’s Rep. Stuck is running for Congress

By: - July 16, 2019

State Rep. Amanda Stuck doesn’t see a lot of people like herself in Congress. She notes that 16 years ago while a student at UW-Oshkosh working multiple jobs, she became pregnant. After her son was born, she recalls sitting in the hospital holding him, not sure where to go, uncertain if her family would welcome […]

Scott Walker’s latest career move follows a pattern

By: - July 16, 2019

After spending nearly his entire career in elected office before losing reelection last November, Scott Walker has refused to ride his Harley quietly into a Wisconsin sunset. His recent career moves make it clear the former governor is staying deeply involved in efforts funded by some of his wealthiest supporters to change the shape of […]