Erik Gunn

House Speaker Paul Ryan is in his 20th year in Congress with a seemingly indomitable record at the ballot box. But ironworker Randy Bryce is unlike anyone who has ever challenged him. more

Sep 28, 2017 5:00 AM Isthmus Cover Stories 4 Comments

It’s conventional wisdom that prison populations have swelled because of get-tough-on crime laws that have forced judges’ hands. But in a new book, Marquette law professor Michael O’Hear argues that judges are also part of the problem. more

Feb 16, 2017 5:00 AM News


Rataj Berard

With his new group, Blue Jean Nation, Mike McCabe has an audacious goal: to remake American politics into a game everyone can play. Although he admits it won’t be easy, he’s already enlisted some folks to test his theories. more

Feb 4, 2016 5:00 AM News


Linda Zastrow

On an overcast April afternoon, Mark Pocan fields questions in the council chambers of Reedsburg's city hall. The group is small, barely more than a dozen. It skews decidedly older, with most easily over 60. It makes sense: Today's listening session for Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District is at 1 p.m., when retirees are about the only voting-age people who don't have somewhere else to be. more

May 29, 2014 2:00 PM People

"We are in a time when some people are rethinking the whole system of the Christian faith, from soup to nuts," says Brian McLaren, a former evangelical pastor and a prolific and popular author on the topic of Christianity's past, present and future. more

Mar 10, 2014 7:17 PM A & E

Is Obamacare the destruction of the American healthcare system or baby steps toward making it better for everyone? Hospitals are getting ready. Insurers and employers are, too. To help the rest of us prepare, here are 15 things you need to know come Oct. 1. more

Sep 26, 2013 2:00 PM News

Last week, the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee voted 12-4 on party lines to reject federal money to expand health insurance for the poor. As a result Wisconsin lawmakers saddled the state with a bigger price tag in return for less health coverage. more

Jun 13, 2013 2:00 PM News


David Michael Miller

Sometimes procrastination gets rewarded. That's how my wife and I discovered Mineral Point. Each summer, about the time of our wedding anniversary, we book a weekend of plays at American Players Theatre in Spring Green. The play tickets we buy early (thanks to the early-bird discount), but somehow we never get around to reserving a place to stay until much later. By then there's no room at any of Spring Green's inns. more

May 23, 2013 2:00 PM Isthmus Summertimes

Gov. Scott Walker's 2011 law stripping government employees of union rights was only a few months old when workers who build cranes in Manitowoc learned their company was making a stringent new demand in their own union contract. In negotiations with the International Association of Machinists, Manitowoc Cranes management was insisting that the union drop its so-called union security clause from the contract -- language that required every employee who was represented by the union to either join the union or at least pay union dues. more

Feb 28, 2013 3:00 PM News

Now comes the heavy lifting. While Gov. Scott Walker's administration continues to give Obamacare the cold shoulder, groups outside of state government are stepping in to work with federal officials implementing the law in Wisconsin. more

Dec 13, 2012 3:00 PM News

In nearly 14 years of representing Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District, Republican Paul Ryan has had no significant opposition for reelection. But this year, as Ryan pursues his eighth term in office and a vice presidential bid as Mitt Romney's running mate, he faces what many consider his first serious challenger in Rob Zerban. more

Oct 25, 2012 2:00 PM News

Current polling suggests that whoever wins the 2012 race for Wisconsin's open Senate seat -- Republican Tommy Thompson or Democrat Tammy Baldwin -- it will probably be by a narrow margin. That alone will mark a significant change from the person who's held the seat for nearly a quarter-century. more

Oct 4, 2012 2:00 PM News

Even after Dana Hurda moved from Madison to Evansville, she continued to go to the UW Health West Clinic in Madison, a 35-minute drive from her home. The reason? Midwives. Hurda has come to depend on the specially trained nurse midwives who work out of UW and provide hospital-based midwifery services for women in childbirth. Even now that she's no longer focusing on childbearing, Hurda has relied on the UW clinic's midwifery program for her primary gynecological care. more

Sep 13, 2012 2:00 PM News

Will Eric Hovde turn out to be the second coming of Ron Johnson? In 2010, Johnson, the owner and CEO of a plastics manufacturing company in Oshkosh, burst out of nowhere and into the U.S. Senate. With a self-funded campaign, Johnson swamped two little-known Republicans in the primary, garnering 85% of the vote. He then went on to unseat three-term Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, 52% to 47%. more

Aug 2, 2012 2:00 PM News


Vlad Alvarez

It was a rainy spring Friday afternoon, and Lisa Graves was feeling a little loopy. The day before she'd been in Washington, D.C., part of a coalition rallying outside the offices of the American Legislative Exchange Council protesting the conservative organization's role in passing Florida's Stand Your Ground law, now in the spotlight after the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin. more

May 10, 2012 2:00 PM News

Monroe physician John Frantz has had some extra cash over the years to donate to politicians. But as the cost of election campaigns has skyrocketed, Dr. Frantz found donating more and more troubling. Political candidates "have become unnaturally dependent on people like me," he says. more

Mar 22, 2012 2:00 PM News


Steve Weigl

Tommy Thompson was holding forth for an audience of journalists in Milwaukee last month when asked about the high-speed rail line from Milwaukee to Madison that Gov. Scott Walker effectively killed even before taking office. Would Thompson have also more

Feb 16, 2012 3:00 PM News

Tommy Thompson is vying with two other hopefuls for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat that Herb Kohl will vacate after this year. A third, state Sen. Frank Lasee, announced in late January that he was dropping out of the race. more

Feb 16, 2012 3:00 PM News

The fate of federal health care reform now hangs on the U.S. Supreme Court, which will rule next year on whether the measure can take effect. But even if the 2010 law aimed at making health insurance available to all is upheld, how it will get implem more

Dec 8, 2011 3:00 PM News


Doug Boehm

For as long as anyone can remember, the League of Wisconsin Municipalities has butted heads with other lobbying groups representing powerful interests. "We not only don't see eye to eye, we fight tooth and nail," says Dan Thompson, the league's executive director. But since 2007, Thompson's group and five others have been seeking common ground: a path out of the state's corrosive fiscal and ideological gridlock. more

Mar 4, 2010 3:00 PM News