Melissa Caen got her first inkling of politics in kindergarten. Her beloved teacher, Lillian, was married to Georgia Congressman George “Buddy” Darden.
As if that weren’t reason enough to spark an interest, she was raised in Newt Gingrich’s district of Marietta, Georgia.
“He was this larger-than-life congressman who broke all the rules and who was making all the headlines so I couldn’t help but notice politics,” she recalls. “It suddenly became too interesting to ignore.”
At a young age, she enjoyed acting and performing and attended the Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts at Pebblebrook High School.
Voted most likely to be a politician during her senior year, Melissa was involved with the debate team, mock trial and Model United Nations.
She majored in Political Science at Mount Holyoke College in western Massachusetts.
Early on, she knew she wanted to go to law school and was part of a historic graduating class at Cornell University – the first to have an equal number of men and women.
After law school, Melissa took a series of jobs as a litigator.
“I loved researching, arguing and advocating so it appealed to my super nerdy desire to find the footnote,” she says.
In April 2004, she moved to San Francisco and in 2007 she went to a nearby bookstore, bought a book about blogging and started a website focused on local legislative analysis.
“I dipped my toes into writing and was able to do all the things I loved.”
In October 2008, The San Francisco Examiner asked her to write a weekly political column. During her four-year stint there, KPIX 5 invited her to deliver commentary and analysis on the morning news.
Melissa joined KPIX 5 as a full-time reporter in 2016.
Armed with her smart phone, the tenacious reporter traveled to Philadelphia and Cleveland to cover the Democratic and Republican conventions.
“Every once in a while someone on the street will come up to me and say ‘I read something you wrote, I saw your report and it’s motivated me to take action’ and those are among the best days of my life.”
In addition to her work with KPIX 5, Caen has written for publications like San Francisco Magazine, where she profiled billionaire activist Tom Steyer and covered the first congressional race between Mike Honda and Ro Khanna.
She frequently moderates debates and is active with events at the Commonwealth Club, including the “Week to Week,” political roundtable series.
Melissa is always listening to podcasts and can survive for days on Wild Berry Skittles.
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As BART continues to deal with growing concerns over rider safety, one of the victims of a mob attack on a train last spring on Tuesday called for the release of surveillance video that captured the incident.