Karen Kasler

Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.

Karen Kasler is a lifelong Ohioan. She grew up in Lancaster, attended Otterbein College in Westerville, and found her first professional break at WCBE-FM, Columbus. Karen was selected as a Fellow in the Kiplinger Program for Mid-Career Journalists at The Ohio State University in 1994. After earning her Master's Degree in that program, she worked at WBNS-TV in Columbus and then moved north to become the afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor for WTAM-AM, Cleveland. Karen followed the demolition and rebuilding of Cleveland Browns Stadium, produced award-winning series on identity theft and the Y2K panic, covered the Republican National Convention in 2000 and the blackout of 2003, and reported annually from the Cleveland National Air Show each year, often going upside down in an aerobatic plane to do it. In 1999, she was a media witness to the execution of Wilford Berry, at the time the first man put to death since Ohio re-instated capital punishment. Karen frequently reported for ABC Radio News, and also co-produced an award-winning nationally-distributed documentary on the one-year anniversary of September 11, 2001, which featured her interview with Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge from the West Wing of the White House.

Since returning to Columbus, she's covered major elections and the controversies surrounding them. Each year she anchors the Bureau's live coverage of the governor's State of the State. She was a moderator for US Senate debates in 2012 and 2010, participated in several debates in 2010, and has led debates over statewide issues. She's produced features for NPR and "Marketplace", and has been interviewed by NPR, the BBC, NBC and several local and regional stations around the country. She's a regular panelist on WCPN/ideastream's "The Sound of Ideas", a frequent guest on WOSU-TV’s “Columbus on the Record” and has appeared on WBNS-TV's "Face the State".

She's been honored by the Association of Capitol Editors and Reporters, the Cleveland Press Club/Society of Professional Journalists, the Ohio Educational Telecommunications Commission, and holds a National Headliner Award. She's won several awards from the Ohio AP, and is a four-time winner of the AP's Best Broadcast Writing award. She's a three-time Emmy nominee for "The State of Ohio". She's a past president of the Ohio Associated Press, and currently on the Board of Directors for the Central Ohio Society of Professional Journalists. Karen is also a former adjunct professor at Capital University in Columbus.

Karen, her husband and their son Jack live on Columbus' northeast side.

Gov. John Kasich talked about one of his favorite subjects – partnering with community colleges to develop workers’ high tech skills – as he opened the Midwestern Governors Association workforce summit Wednesday.  But he also talked about what he says won’t be changing when it comes to Ohio’s workforce.

Hundreds of mental health and addiction counselors could lose their jobs because the state is now requiring criminal background checks for people who provide Medicaid services. Some of those counselors and their employers who’d be affected by the new policy are asking state lawmakers to step in.

The Republican ticket for governor wants to bring together business and technology entrepreneurs to advise the state on creating high-tech jobs and improving state services. But right now that won’t help more than a million people who don’t have high speech internet in their homes.

The Republican candidate for governor says Ohio should be a leader in using technology to improve government services and the climate for business. And he wants his running mate to head up the effort to do that.

The term limited state treasurer has revealed what he may be planning as his next move. But though Josh Mandel filed paperwork that suggests he’ll run for the 11th Congressional district near Cleveland – that may not be the case.

A dozen high-tech ideas for fighting the opioid crisis have each been awarded $200,000 from Ohio’s Third Frontier fund. The winners were picked in a contest announced last year, and there’s still a final round of cash to come.

The term limited state treasurer has revealed what he may be planning as his next move.

Gov. John Kasich participated in a 9-11 ceremony at the Statehouse, joined by both Republicans and Democrats who stood on the west side of the Statehouse, overlooking a field of nearly 3,000 small flags.

The Ohio Department of Education will release report cards on the state’s more than 600 school districts this week. Meanwhile, a Republican lawmaker is still pushing his bill that would once again overhaul the report card system, saying those simple-to-understand letters are hiding essential information about schools.

Two months into the fiscal year, the state budget department says its forecast for tax revenues is close to on track.

The top justice of the state’s highest court is speaking out on a constitutional amendment on the fall ballot, which would require low-level drug offenders be charged with misdemeanors, not felonies. Supporters say money could then go to treatment instead of crowded prisons. But Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor has concerns about Issue 1.

Ohio has been gaining jobs over the last few years, and its unemployment rate hit its lowest level in 17 years a few months ago. But there are other numbers in the state’s economic overview that raise concerns for a progressive group that reviews the economy each year on Labor Day.

With many Ohio students back in school, officials and lawmakers are hoping to prevent a possible crisis in education like the one that had them scrambling to find alternative graduation requirements for the state’s high school juniors and seniors for the last two years.

Secretary of State Jon Husted – who’s also the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor – has announced the official title for the only statewide issue that’s on the fall ballot.  Backers say the wording means they have work to do.

Ohio’s Democratic US Senator is weighing in on a state scandal – the one involving the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who is up for re-election this fall, is calling for federal money that went to that now-closed online charter school to be clawed back.

A lot more is coming out about what the FBI was looking for earlier this spring related to an investigation into former House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger’s travel. A search warrant and subpoena shows what the Ohio House turned over to investigators the day after the FBI raided Rosenberger’s home and a storage unit in Wilmington.

The Ohio Republican Party held the biggest annual fundraising dinner in the organization’s history on Friday – headlined by President Trump. The Trump factor will certainly be part of this fall’s midterm elections and Ohio’s major statewide races this fall, with some experts predicting big wins for Democrats. However, guests at the annual state dinner say they’re unified behind their party.

The same day that Republican Mike DeWine aired his first ad of this fall’s governor’s race, a group of Democratic governors launched their ad against him.

Experts say the decentralized, tamperproof digital ledger system known as blockchain has the potential to completely change commerce, culture, and communication – as the internet and smartphones have. And Republican state lawmakers say they want in on it.

The panel that decides the wording of statewide ballot issues has agreed on the language for the only one voters will see this fall.  It’s a resolution to a dispute over Issue 1, which supporters say will prioritize treatment over prison for drug offenders, but opponents say will make communities more dangerous.

Republican Mike DeWine has put out his first ad for this fall’s race for governor – and it’s a reminder that the two leading contenders in this contest have faced each other before.

Gov. John Kasich says he won’t be at the Ohio Republican Party’s biggest annual fundraising event, which this year will feature President Trump – who is both a Kasich critic and a frequent target of Kasich’s criticism.

Gov. John Kasich continues to be concerned about the future of Medicaid expansion after he’s out of office in five months.  He's defending the program he pushed past skeptical state lawmakers in 2013 through a new study and through people who are in it.

A report commissioned by Ohio’s three major public school groups shows that state funding for K-12 education hasn’t bridged the gap between rich and poor districts, and hasn't kept pace with inflation.  It’s the first comprehensive look at state and local aid for schools since a landmark Ohio Supreme Court ruling declaring the property tax based funding system unconstitutional.

Ohio Medicaid is telling its five managed care plans to sever their contracts with two pharmacy benefits managers, and to work up new deals by the beginning of the year.

Ohioans won’t vote this fall on a ballot issue capping how much clinics can charge for kidney dialysis. The Ohio Supreme Court says signatures were gathered for the Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Amendment without the proper paperwork.

The Republican candidate for governor has rolled out a workforce development and economic investment plan that he describes as cutting edge – focusing on public-private partnerships but also shutting down what he says are regulations that hurt businesses.

County commissioners are firing back at a proposal coming next week from a Republican state lawmaker that would restrict their legal power to raise county sales taxes.

The close contest in the 12th Congressional district and this fall’s battle for governor have gotten the attention of many political watchers in Ohio. But after regaining minor party status last month, the Libertarian Party of Ohio says it’s ready to be noticed. 

Victims of sexual assault may soon have a new way to find out the status and location of a key piece of evidence in their cases instantly and anonymously.

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