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.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes addresses the approximately 165 members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team headquarters, during an Oct. 2019 sendoff ceremony at Volk Field, Wis. Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs photo by Vaughn R. Larson CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Barnes joins 2022 race for U.S. Senate

By: - July 20, 2021

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, 34, announced Tuesday morning he is running for U.S. Senate for the seat held by Republican Ron Johnson in an increasingly crowded field.  “The current system isn’t working for the people of Wisconsin,” Barnes, a Democrat, said in an email to his supporters. “Hard work just isn’t paying off like it […]

Line of books from the side with library shelves of books behind them

Madison is the 5th most educated city in America — but with a gap  

By: - July 20, 2021

Madison came in fifth place out of the largest 150 metropolitan areas in WalletHub’s 2021 statistics ranking the most educated cities in the country, which were released on Monday.  The personal finance website staff decided to measure these statistics as educators have been reporting some learning loss from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to WalletHub.  “Cities […]

Father James Altman giving a welcome prayer at CPAC on July 11 |YouTube

Booted from role in the Catholic Church straight to the CPAC stage

By: - July 16, 2021

Getting the boot from higher-ups in the Catholic church for inflammatory rhetoric didn’t stop a La Crosse priest from joining a bevy of like-minded speakers at a right-wing convention last weekend. On July 10, the La Crosse Catholic Diocese announced that it was removing controversial pastor Father James Altman from serving as the pastor at […]

Arizona audit floor. Photo by Courtney Pedroza | Getty Images/pool photo

Experts warn against ‘sham audits’ movement

By: and - July 16, 2021

Experts for three different organizations came together this week to discuss the latest in the undermining democracy trend: illegitimate election recounts. They warned that conspiracy theories, disinformation and outright lies can spread through more than just social media, undermining legitimate elections. Those spreading the disinformation also prey upon people who may not be familiar with […]

Firefighters and trucks and helicopter putting out a gasoline fire with firefighting foam flooding the lot

U.S. House moves to expand PFAS regulation, state bill moves backward

By: and - July 15, 2021

WASHINGTON—Members of Congress and Biden administration officials at a conference on Wednesday outlined how they’re attempting to regulate toxic chemicals found in drinking water—including an upcoming vote in the U.S. House. EPA Administrator Michael Regan, a former top environmental official in North Carolina, said the agency is currently in the process of regulating two of […]

Twitter logo bird on cloth

Wisconsin GOP bill goes after social media ‘Silicon Valley elites’

By: - July 13, 2021

Freshman state senator Julian Bradley (R-Franklin) is joining former President Donald Trump in his crusade against private social media companies, AKA “Silicon Valley elites.” On Monday, he unveiled a bill taking on “Big Tech” with six-figure fines for allegedly censoring and stifling “the free exchange of ideas.” “Free expression is one of the most vital […]

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul speaking

Kaul’s campaign kickoff

By: - July 12, 2021

It was hardly a secret to insiders that Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, is planning to run for re-election in 2022. Before he made it official on Saturday with an announcement via Twitter, he was fundraising and putting together campaign staff.  His smallish, private kickoff for his campaign at Warner Park on Saturday […]

Two men with a baby in a stroller

Law changes proposed to reflect same-sex marriages and families

By: - July 6, 2021

A bill circulating in the Wisconsin Legislature seeks to change language in the statutes to recognize same-sex couples and parents. The memo summarizing the bill begins with these quotes by Justice Anthony Kennedy from the landmark decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, that legalized same-sex marriage in 2015. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it […]

Which party’s vision will be imprinted on the ‘unprecedented’ state budget?

By: - July 2, 2021

For legislative Republicans, the biennial budget passed by the Legislature this week represents an “historic investment,” while Democrats repeatedly called it a “missed opportunity.” Both sides agreed that the flood of more than $5.3 billion flowing into state coffers this year was a surprise and “unprecedented,” a description that came from the longtime guru of […]

Sen. Chris Kapenga chairing a committee before becoming Senate President

Eyes on Sen. Kapenga: “a valuable master class in the art of Trump sycophancy”

By: - July 1, 2021

Wisconsin Senate President Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) may be on his way to becoming a household name. Few outside Wisconsin — or even inside — had heard much about him even after he took the leadership position presiding over the state Senate this session. Kapenga has also acknowledged openly that he is considering a run for […]

Cadet in mask and gloves sanitizes a polling voter booth

First GOP election ‘reform’ bill vetoed by Evers

By: - June 30, 2021

A pack of election bills authored by legislative Republicans — who have been holding public hearings, hiring investigators, taking field trips to Arizona to watch its audit and calling into question the validity of the election process — have passed through the Legislature over objections from Democrats. A week ago, Gov. Tony Evers called for […]

Empty Assembly chambers taken from the back of the room facing the dais

What Democrats want versus what Republicans got in the budget

By: - June 30, 2021

Republicans’ large advantage in the Legislature — courtesy of their gerrymandered district maps — means that the focus of legislative action is generally all on the GOP. Their leaders control which bills get considered in committee, which gets a public hearing, which comes to the floor and which gets sent to the governor’s desk. If […]