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.

The Ohio Supreme Court has struck down the property-tax based funding method four times in the last 22 years. Now two lawmakers say they think they’ve finally fixed it with a new school funding formula they say is stable, customizable and transparent.

Ohio’s top elections official says it’s time for a change to the stickers that are handed out at early vote centers and at the polls on election day. And he wants people who in most cases can’t yet vote to play a role in designing them.

Gov. Mike DeWine is trying a last ditch effort to push lawmakers back toward the gas tax increase that he originally proposed – which they slashed dramatically. 

There have been tax cuts in nearly every state budget since 2005. But Gov. Mike DeWine has said now is the time to invest in Ohio, so there are no tax cuts in his budget. Some on the panel that makes changes to the budget are considering whether a tax cut can or should be included.

As of last Friday, the state has federal permission to require 20 hours of work per week for many non-disabled people on Medicaid expansion.  The state’s Medicaid director has put a number on how many people might be affected – and how much it might cost to put those requirements in place.

Senators have said they’re going to change the 10.7 cent gas tax increase that the House passed in the transportation budget. Gov. Mike DeWine says that’s too low, and the state needs an 18 cent hike. But one Republican senator has an idea that he says would eliminate the need for a tax increase.

Hundreds of crime survivors came to the Statehouse to tell their stories to lawmakers, who are considering changes to bail, sentencing laws and other elements of the criminal justice system.

Gov. Mike DeWine is standing behind the numbers used to create his budget, as Republican House Speaker Larry Householder suggests he’s leaning toward more conservative numbers from the legislature’s economic analysts. 

The state’s largest health system will be the official health care partner of the Ohio High School Athletic Association, providing services at tournaments and championship events for the next three years. And the partnership goes beyond sports-related injuries.

On the first day of hearings on Gov. Mike DeWine’s $69 billion operating budget, lawmakers are hearing about two sets of economic forecasts. And they’ll have to decide which estimates they’ll go with.

The federal government says Ohio can require non-disabled Medicaid expansion recipients to work 20 hours a week unless they’re caregiving, in job training or college or over 50. One state lawmaker is disappointed, because he wanted that age limit to be higher.

Attorney General Dave Yost has filed a lawsuit against a prescription drug middleman that was working with the state’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. He’s taken the action after an attempt at mediation failed.

Gov. Mike DeWine says he’ll pay for the spending in his $69 billion dollar budget with economic growth – not new taxes or fees. And he’s also not counting on a source of revenue several lawmakers have been hoping to secure since a big U.S. Supreme Court decision last year.

March 15 was the deadline for Gov. Mike DeWine to release his two-year budget. He’d already unveiled several proposals, but now more is known about his priorities in his $69 billion budget, and how he says he’ll pay for them.

The federal government says Ohio can join the eight other states that have been given permission to impose work requirements on people in Medicaid expansion.

Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed 18 cents gas tax increase was dropped to 10.7 cents by the House. Now the transportation budget is in the Senate, where it’s likely to get changed again.

The state school board has sent to lawmakers what they say is a resolution to the problem of changing requirements for getting a high school diploma in Ohio.

It’s been a few years, but state lawmakers are trying again to put rules on local traffic cameras, which they’ve said communities are using to generate revenue rather than improve safety. The new regulations are part of the same budget that would raise the state’s gas tax.

Mass transit advocates in Ohio got a huge surprise in the House version of the transportation budget – funding for public transportation soared by 150% over Gov. Mike DeWine’s original proposal.  And they're hoping the Senate will go along with that too.

There are some big changes in the transportation budget passed by the House compared to the proposal from Gov. Mike DeWine, who has said an 18 cent gas tax hike is needed to maintain and repair Ohio’s roads.

Pages