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.

One of Ohio’s 18 electors who will cast their votes for Donald Trump today is the target of a lawsuit announced over the weekend. But the situation described in the lawsuit is not new in Ohio.

State lawmakers are unlikely to come back to do any business before their next session starts next year. And the Republican who leads the House Education Committee says he wants to start a House Education Committee chair says he wants to start talking about school funding now – with a plan to overhaul of Ohio’s way of funding its public schools.

The Ohio Supreme Court says a state law capping damages in certain cases is constitutional. That means a 15-year-old Delaware County girl raped by her pastor in 2008 will get a quarter of a million dollars – not the $3.5 million the jury awarded her family.

Dozens of the more than a thousand bills proposed in the House and Senate this year passed in the lame duck session in the last two weeks. The rest all died. But there was one that didn’t make it, and it was a surprise to no one.

About 50 activists demonstrated around the Statehouse yesterday, hoping to send a message to Gov. John Kasich about two newly passed abortion bans.

A Netflix series exploring hostage situations premiered this weekend with an episode telling the story of the deadly prison riot at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville in 1993.

Tributes have pouring in from people who knew, worked with and admired Ohio’s John Glenn – the first American to orbit the earth, the oldest person ever to fly in space and the state’s only four term US Senator.

The state parole board has voted 10-2 to recommend to Gov. Kasich that Ronald Phillips of Akron be put to death on schedule next month for the rape and murder of his girlfriend’s toddler daughter in 1993.

Among the flood of bills that passed this week in the lame duck legislature is a controversial proposal that would require state agencies to be abolished unless lawmakers approve their continued existence. 

Fighter pilot, astronaut and former US Senator John Glenn has passed away.

Treasurer Josh Mandel has announced he wants a rematch against Democratic US Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2018 – though Mandel may have to survive a Republican primary this time around. And he plans to take a page from the President-elect’s playbook.

Gov. John Kasich made a surprise appearance on the floor of the Ohio House yesterday, to tell lawmakers to expect a tough budget because Ohio is on “the verge of a recession”. But a report from his budget office doesn’t back up that claim.

The head of the Ohio Republican Party is likely to have a challenger to his re-election to that position next month.

The first man scheduled to be put to death in Ohio since a problematic execution almost three years ago is asking for life without parole.  But the state parole board's recommendation may not even matter right away.

Nearly 5.5 million Ohioans cast ballots in the November presidential election, making the turnout in 2016 slightly higher than it was four years ago. And there are other highlights in the election results just made official by the Secretary of State.

Gov. John Kasich is following up on the cautionary statements his budget director has made about challenges coming in the next budget.

It hasn’t even been a month since the 2016 vote, but the speculation has been going for months on who will be running in 2018 for the top five statewide offices, which will all be open. But one Democrat says he’s making the moves to run for governor.

Among the things lawmakers are dealing with in this lame duck session is whether the Senate will confirm a Democratic lawyer from Columbus to the commission that hears utility rate cases.

Route 33 could become a technology superhighway, if a project launched by the state goes as planned.

More than two hundred singers – nearly all of them amateurs – will crowd the stage at the historic Ohio Theatre in downtown Columbus tonight, for a sold out performance that they’ll do only once. But there’s more to this group than just the music.

It turns out Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton may have won one more county in Ohio than originally reported.

Now that the election is over, lawmakers will be coming back to work at the Statehouse for the lame duck session. But the presidential race is likely to come up in what they discuss.

All the statewide races on this month’s ballot were decided by fairly big margins, except one. But the contest between Ohio Supreme Court justice between Republican appeals court judge Pat Fischer of Cincinnati and Democratic Cuyahoga County Common pleas judge John O’Donnell is now over.

This election has emboldened supporters of Donald Trump, and left Hillary Clinton’s backers devastated. But it’s also brought up big questions for those who align themselves with the major political parties. Two former party chairs took time recently to talk about what the results of this election mean for the future.

A documentary filmmaker opened a pop-up chicken restaurant in Columbus this weekend that claims to feature “fast food with integrity”. It’ll be open for two more days, to get customer feedback. But it’s unclear whether it is what it seems.

Mayors from Ohio’s 30 largest cities have formed a coalition to discuss state policy and lobby lawmakers about the issues their communities are facing.

Youngstown-area Rep. Tim Ryan says he’ll challenge Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for the job of leading Democrats in Congress. And the idea is going over well with one Democratic leader.

The state takes in $1.7 billion from out of state online retailers paying the commercial activity tax, or CAT. Now the state’s highest court says internet retailers which have no offices or employees in Ohio but sell products to Ohio residents still have to pay the CAT, which nearly all Ohio businesses pay.

For the second time in as many years, Ohio plans to change the way it puts condemned killers to death, because the state has been unable to find the lethal injection drug it had wanted to use.

A panel of state lawmakers delayed a new process by which charter school sponsors would be evaluated under a law passed last year. But the state department of education says it’s determined to go forward with those evaluations next month, using an old process it says will be just as tough.

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