Wedge Issues

Wedge Issues
Join Cap Times political reporter Jessie Opoien as she catches up with power players in Wisconsin politics about everything from their favorite beers to their policy ideals.

Lizz Winstead on abortion, satire and Plaza burgers
Jul 12 • 30 min
This week, Jessie hops on the phone with the famous satirist and Daily Show creator Lizz Winstead about the activism and art at the crux of her organization, the Abortion Access Front.
The Legislature passed a budget — now what?
Jun 28 • 25 min
Cap Times political reporter Briana Reilly joins Jessie to break down the state budget process, what’s in the Legislature’s spending plan and what Gov. Tony Evers might do next.
Patrick Testin
Jun 21 • 43 min
State Sen. Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point, joins Jessie to talk about the bills he’s working on, the importance of bipartisanship and how he got into politics.
Sarah Godlewski
Jun 14 • 49 min
Sarah Godlewksi joins Jessie this week to talk about why she fought to save Wisconsin’s state treasurer office, and how she views her role as the state’s “fiscal watchdog.”
A chat with Amy Klobuchar
Jun 7 • 62 min
On today’s episode, we’re bringing you a recording of Jessie’s interview with Sen. Amy Klobuchar from the 2017 Cap Times Idea Fest.
Mark Pocan
May 31 • 48 min
U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan visits Jessie to talk about the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Wisconsin’s budget fights, the Democratic presidential field and, of course, impeachment.
Ray Cross
May 24 • 40 min
Jessie talks with the president of the University of Wisconsin System, Ray Cross, about what he learned from military service, the importance of a university education in 2019, and his hopes for the UW System’s budget.
Andrew Hitt
May 17 • 40 min
Newly elected Republican Party of Wisconsin chairman Andrew Hitt talks with Jessie about what the party learned from the 2018 election and what it plans to do in 2020.
Reporting on sexual assault in the Wisconsin National Guard
May 10 • 32 min
Cap Times reporter Katelyn Ferral joins Jessie this week to talk about her recent investigation into the Wisconsin Army National Guard and its treatment of soldiers who are sexually abused in its service.
The Politics of Resentment
May 3 • 59 min
Jessie’s taking a break this week, so we’re bringing you an interview she did at the High Noon Saloon with the political scientist Kathy Cramer from last year instead.
Jason Stein on Wisconsin’s budget, economy and unemployment
Apr 26 • 34 min
Wisconsin Policy Forum research director Jason Stein shares some of the organization’s research on the state budget, the dairy and manufacturing industries and the state’s unemployment fund.
David Bowen
Apr 19 • 47 min
State Rep. David Bowen, D-Milwaukee, learned as a young activist how gratifying it can be to push for change in government and politics.
A brief update from Jessie
Apr 5 • 1 min
Wedge Issues host Jessie Opoien has a brief update for listeners. We’ll be back with new episodes starting April 19.
Ben Wikler
Mar 22 • 38 min
MoveOn senior adviser Ben Wikler talks with Jessie about why he’s running to serve as chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, how he got his start in activism and what foods go best with cheddar cheese (spoiler: all of them).
Milwaukee lands the 2020 Democratic National Convention
Mar 15 • 23 min
Democrats are holding their 2020 national convention in Milwaukee, and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporters Molly Beck and Patrick Marley are here to talk to Jessie about what it all means.
How is launching a soccer team like running a political campaign?
Mar 8 • 51 min
This week, Jessie changes things up a bit, talking to Forward Madison FC managing director Peter Wilt, FMFC social media producer Jason Klein and Mingo, the team’s plastic flamingo.
What’s in Tony Evers’ first budget?
Mar 1 • 27 min
Cap Times reporters Jessie Opoien and Erik Lorenzsonn go over some major components of Gov. Tony Evers’ first budget proposal and talk about what happens next for the spending plan.
Attorney General Josh Kaul
Feb 22 • 32 min
Attorney General Josh Kaul talks with Jessie about his first month in office and what he’s requesting for the 2019-21 state budget.
Why did legislators clash over Black History Month?
Feb 15 • 29 min
Jessie and Erik chat about the news of the week, including a clash in the Capitol over a resolution recognizing Black History Month.
Fred Risser reflects on six decades in the Legislature
Feb 8 • 29 min
Fred Risser, a senator representing Madison in the state Legislature, reflects on his decades in public office on today’s episode.
Kalan Haywood
Feb 1 • 31 min
State Rep. Kalan Haywood, D-Milwaukee, talks with Jessie about what it’s like being the youngest legislator in Wisconsin — and maybe the country — why he ran for office, and what he listens to on the commute to the Capitol.
Jennifer Shilling
Jan 25 • 41 min
Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, joins Jessie this week to talk about the new era of divided government in Wisconsin, her favorite supper clubs and the best places to visit in her district.
The millennials of the Future Caucus
Jan 18 • 38 min
Reps. Amanda Stuck, D-Appleton, and Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee join Jessie this week to talk about the Wisconsin Future Caucus — a political home for the under-40 set in the state Capitol.
A very special crossover
Dec 14, 2018 • 34 min
Jessie isn’t hanging out with any politicians this week. Instead, she’s sampling some champagne and cheese with the Cap Times’ Lindsay Christians and Madison wine aficionado Bob Hemauer.
Rick Esenberg
Nov 23, 2018 • 45 min
Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, talks to Jessie about how the organization has changed over the years, what’s in its future and which movie he says has an answer for everything.
Live, from Brocach!
Nov 16, 2018 • 66 min
It’s our first live episode! In this episode recorded at Brocach on the Capitol Square, Jessie talks with strategists behind the Democratic and GOP gubernatorial campaigns for an election post-mortem.
Holy mackerel, let’s talk about the election
Nov 9, 2018 • 34 min
Cap Times news editor Jason Joyce joins Jessie this week to talk about Wisconsin’s elections, how she covered election night and what she’s watching in the next few weeks.
The final countdown (to Election Day)
Nov 5, 2018 • 35 min
WisPolitics reporter Briana Reilly joins Jessie to talk about the races they’ve been covering and look ahead to the days leading up to the election.
Bonus Episode: Dana Wachs on life after the campaign
Oct 30, 2018 • 20 min
Outgoing state Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire, stopped by to talk with Jessie about life after a gubernatorial campaign in this Wedge Issues bonus episode.
Leah Vukmir
Oct 29, 2018 • 41 min
State Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield, joins Jessie to discuss her campaign for U.S. Senate.
Tony Evers, Vol. 2
Oct 26, 2018 • 42 min
Democratic candidate for governor Tony Evers joins Jessie to talk about his campaign to unseat Gov. Scott Walker.
Rough roads in the 17th Senate District
Oct 22, 2018 • 19 min
Cap Times reporter Katelyn Ferral joins Jessie to talk about the role transportation issues could play in the Wisconsin’s 17th Senate District election.
Caleb Frostman
Oct 19, 2018 • 37 min
Democratic state Sen. Caleb Frostman, elected to represent Wisconsin’s 1st Senate District in the June 12 special election, talks with Jessie about his campaign to represent the district for a full, four-year term.
Scott Walker
Oct 12, 2018 • 31 min
On today’s episode, Jessie goes to Lambeau Field in Green Bay to talk with the gubernatorial incumbent, Gov. Scott Walker.
Bryan Steil
Oct 5, 2018 • 39 min
Bryan Steil, the Republican candidate for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, talks with Jessie Opoien about his campaign.
Rebecca Kleefisch
Sep 28, 2018 • 41 min
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch talks with Cap Times reporter Jessie Opoien about her re-election campaign and her career before politics.
Mandela Barnes
Sep 21, 2018 • 45 min
Former state Rep. Mandela Barnes, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in Wisconsin, talks with Jessie Opoien about his campaign, his policy goals and what he would choose if he could only eat one meal a day.
Josh Kaul
Sep 14, 2018 • 33 min
Josh Kaul, Wisconsin’s Democratic candidate for attorney general, talks about his campaign with Cap Times reporter Katelyn Ferral. Wedge Issues host Jessie Opoien catches up on the week’s news with news editor Jason Joyce.
Charles Franklin
Sep 7, 2018 • 57 min
Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette University Law School poll, chats with Jessie Opoien about how he conducts the poll, why he likes it when other firms poll in Wisconsin and what pollsters missed in 2016.
When politics meets religion
Aug 31, 2018 • 33 min
Cap Times reporter Katelyn Ferral talks about her latest cover story, which features conversations with Christian voters in three different Wisconsin communities.
The kids are all right
Aug 24, 2018 • 24 min
To learn more about the political attitudes and beliefs of young voters, Jessie left the Madison bubble on a road trip to Oshkosh and Eau Claire.
A primary election recap
Aug 17, 2018 • 18 min
Primary election season has ended, but the race for the Nov. 6 elections has only just begun. Jessie talks with Erik about what happened last in the primaries, and the general election is already shaping up.
Tony Evers
Aug 10, 2018 • 38 min
It’s less than a week until the state primary election day. This week, Jessie talks to the Democratic frontrunner in the race for governor: Tony Evers, the state superintendent of public instruction.
Mike McCabe
Aug 3, 2018 • 32 min
Mike McCabe, the former head of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and founder of Blue Jean Nation, joins Jessie Opoien to talk about his campaign for governor.
Kathleen Vinehout
Jul 27, 2018 • 37 min
State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, joins us this week to discuss her campaign for governor.
Randy Bryce
Jul 20, 2018 • 30 min
On this episode we’re joined by Randy Bryce, also known as the Ironstache. Bryce is a Democrat and a union ironworker who’s running for Congress in Wisconsin’s 1st District.
Cathy Myers
Jul 13, 2018 • 31 min
On this episode we turn our attention to Janesville, where Democrat Cathy Myers, a teacher and school board representative, is mounting a congressional campaign in Paul Ryan’s old district.
Matt Flynn
Jul 6, 2018 • 30 min
Matt Flynn, a Milwaukee attorney and former head of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, discusses his campaign for governor with Jessie Opoien.
A tale of two Wisconsin operatives
Jun 29, 2018 • 29 min
Democratic operative Joe Zepecki and Republican operative Stephan Thompson talk to Jessie Opoien about winning, losing and bipartisanship.
Bonus Episode: Tammy Baldwin on her mother’s opioid addiction
Jun 27, 2018 • 26 min
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin speaks with Jessie Opoien about why she’s sharing the story of her mother’s struggle with addiction with voters.
Dana Wachs
Jun 22, 2018 • 30 min
State Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire, sat down with Jessie Opoien to discuss his campaign for governor on May 24. About a month later, on the day the interview was set to air, he ended his campaign and endorsed state Superintendent of Schools Tony Evers —…
Paul Soglin
Jun 15, 2018 • 29 min
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, 73, talks with Jessie Opoien about why he’s running for governor.
Here’s what happened at the state Democratic convention
Jun 8, 2018 • 19 min
From Kathleen Vinehout getting fired up to Paul Soglin going on a Twitter rant, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about from the 2018 state Democratic convention.
Andy Gronik
Jun 1, 2018 • 30 min
This week, Jessie speaks with yet another Democratic candidate for governor. This time, it’s Andy Gronik, a Milwaukee businessman who has mounted a campaign as a relative outsider to politics.
Kelda Roys
May 25, 2018 • 34 min
Kelda Roys, 38, the CEO and founder of the real estate tech company OpenHomes, talks with Jessie Opoien about why she’s in the race for governor.
So what happened at the state GOP convention?
May 18, 2018 • 19 min
The danger of a “blue wave” eroding a Republican majority in state government, the Democratic agenda, the Trump presidency, and garter snakes: These were the things on the minds of the Republican leaders who spoke at the 2018 state GOP convention last…
Mahlon Mitchell
May 11, 2018 • 30 min
On the first episode of the Cap Times’ 2018 election podcast, Jessie Opoien speaks with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mahlon Mitchell.