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.
The family of a California college student who died in the 2015 Paris terror attacks wants justice, claiming Bay Area tech companies helped kill her.
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.
BART is backpedaling on its explanation for why it is refusing to release surveillance video.
Sexual assault survivors gathered at the state capitol Tuesday to promote three pending bills in the legislature that aim to reduce rape kit backlog in the state.
Senator Dianne Feinstein says the Republican Senate health care bill may not be revived.
Mariska Hargitay said, “These are not kits sitting on the shelf, these are people’s lives sitting on the shelf.”
State senator Josh Newman, from Orange County, voted for the new gas tax and now voters might throw him out of office.
An alarming amount of chemicals spewed into the air from Benicia’s Valero refinery during two weeks of flaring that followed a power outage in May 2017.
The California Sheriff’s Association is opposing a plan that could help reduce the number of un-tested rape kits in the state.
Parents are fighting back against plans to build a new high school in Dublin, just blocks away from the Santa Rita Jail.
When it comes to spending the tobacco tax approved on the state ballot last November, Governor Jerry Brown seems to have a somewhat creative interpretation of what voters approved.
A Bay Area lawmaker is leading the charge to protect young women from underage marriages.
University of California President Janet Napolitano is apologizing for the way her office handled an audit that found UC administrators hid $175 million from the public while tuition increased.
Ann Coulter spoke in Modesto on Friday evening after cancelling her public speech in Berkeley.
UC Berkeley is bracing for Ann Coulter.
There’s a growing push among Congressional Democrats to sue President Donald Trump.
A new report presented to Marin County officials Tuesday highlights hundreds of buildings at risk of flooding in the next 15 years and beyond due to rising sea levels.
Officials in San Francisco on Tuesday considered a law that would ban employers from asking about an applicant’s salary history.
As California Governor Jerry Brown on Monday pushed for his new bill that would raise gas taxes and vehicle registration fees to fix the state’s broken roads, some Bay Area lawmakers were asking why they should rush to pass it.
President Trump announced that in an effort help automakers, he is canceling Obama’s executive order requiring vehicles be fuel efficient.
The city of San Francisco renewed its fight against President Donald Trump Wednesday, asking a judge to stop an executive order that strips funding from sanctuary cities.
A housing hearing in San Francisco got heated Friday over a plan that would make it much easier for residents to find a rent-controlled place in California.
An exclusive new Survey USA poll offered a stunning snapshot of where the Bay Area stands on immigration Monday, with the new numbers revealing that more local residents are backing President Trump’s policies than you might think.
If the U.S. Treasury Secretary doesn’t release funds to Caltrain by March 1, the electrification project is effectively over.
Neil Gorsuch, if confirmed as a Supreme Court judge, could mean significant setbacks for several high profile cases in California.
The state of California is studying ways to suspend financial transfers to Washington after the Trump Administration threatened to withhold federal money from sanctuary cities, KPIX 5 has learned.
President Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigration is forcing Bay Area leaders to make tough choices.
While Trump was basking in his big moment on the eve of his inauguration, people across the U.S. were preparing for a weekend of protests.
As California braces for the reality of a Trump administration, on Thursday KPIX 5 political reporter Melissa Caen spoke with new Senator Kamala Harris, who said she is ready to take up the fight.
Trump versus Clinton: While friends have been taking sides on Facebook, some women in California and Alabama are engaged in a real dialogue.
California Democratic Party Chair John Burton weighs in on Donald Trump and how his party dropped the ball in the election.
President Barack Obama told Russian diplomats in San Francisco and elsewhere in the U.S. to go home.
California ridesharing companies are facing stricter background checks in 2017.
The surging stock market is doing wonders for 401k plans, but a pension fund that millions of Californians count on has been losing an enormous amount of money.
There were many protesters but few faithless electors as Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote Monday — ensuring that the billionaire will become America’s 45th president.
The city of Pacifica intends to demolish a vacant apartment building on the edge of an unstable coastal cliff, with or without the blessing of its owner.
Democrats gained supermajorities in the California legislature, allowing them to override a governor’s veto, pass emergency laws and raise taxes.
A California Republican Party official echoes Trump with allegations of voter fraud in California.
City College of San Francisco is set to be free, but enrollment is down and the college is bracing for layoffs.
A major housing project in San Francisco was rejected this week, not because of complaints about traffic or noise, but rather the type of people it could bring to the neighborhood.