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.

Using three quarters of a billion dollars in cuts and some reserve cash and federal Medicaid funding, the state of Ohio has staved off a budget deficit for the fiscal year that ends on June 30. But there’s a huge shortfall ahead for the year that begins on July 1.

More than 50 people were signed up to speak out at the first hearing in the Ohio Senate for a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis. They were some of the more than 130 people and groups who provided written testimony in support of the proposal backed by eight Senate Democrats and one Republican.

The state has paid out more than $3.8 billion in unemployment benefits to over 683,000 Ohioans since mid-March, more than it’s ever paid out in a full year. And the state has paid $1.4 billion in federally funded pandemic unemployment assistance nearly 200,000 people who wouldn’t normally qualify for unemployment.

A resolution introduced last week to declare racism a public health crisis is getting its first hearing in the Republican-dominated Ohio Senate, where one member of the GOP has joined eight Democrats in sponsoring the measure.

A fast tracked bill that would make some changes in election law for the November vote passed the Ohio House along party lines Thursday. The bill was a much different proposal than the original plan that voter groups opposed, but it still failed to get any Democratic votes.

Cedar Point and Kings Island weren’t included in the list of entertainment venues that can reopen on June 10. The parks have filed a lawsuit in Warren County, demanding to be allowed to open as well.  The Kalahari Resort and water park is also part of the lawsuit.

As more than a hundred protestors chanted and demonstrated outside the Statehouse, the Ohio House held a voting session that concluded with some passionate comments about the killing of George Floyd and the bigger issues that’s raised.

As protests continue across Ohio and the country, the state’s Republican U.S. Senator says President Trump could be doing more to help those demonstrations from spiraling into violence.

rob portman
Alex Brandon / AP

As protests continue across Ohio and the country, the state's Republican U.S. Senator says President Trump could be doing more to help those demonstrations from spiraling into violence.

A proposal from the Ohio House that would require people with COVID-19 give consent to contact tracing in writing has been rejected by the Senate. That sends the bill to a conference committee.

Gov. Mike DeWine says he's meeting with state lawmakers to address racial disparities and injustice as demonstrators around the state protest the death of George Floyd, who died under police custody in Minnesota and the former officer now charged with murder. DeWine says it's time for government officials to turn the words of the protesters into action.

Ohio’s state budget office estimates $2.5 billion in spending will have to be cut to balance the budget for the fiscal year that starts in July.  And that means Ohio’s more than 51,000 state workers will take some hits.

As local health departments try to contain the spread of coronavirus by tracking down those who might have been exposed to people with COVID-19, the Ohio House passed a bill requiring health officials to get written permission from people before beginning the contact tracing process.

UPDATE: Gov. Mike DeWine will hold a press conference to speak about "the events yesterday and this morning at the Ohio Statehouse and downtown Columbus" at 2pm Friday. It'll air live on the Ohio Channel.

A protest that started at an intersection near the Ohio Statehouse spilled over onto the grounds last night, resulting in damage to the 159-year old building - which has been the site of many demonstrations and public events over the years.

The House has overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill allowing sports gambling, under control of the Ohio Lottery Commission. But there could be a long road ahead before betting on sports would be legal in Ohio.

A Democratic state lawmaker is angry that an Ohio House colleague is claiming a bill she’s proposed would do things it wouldn’t do.

An investigation is ongoing into threats targeting two sitting Democratic state lawmakers, a well-known senator from Akron who’s served in both chambers and his daughter, who leads the minority in the Ohio House. And some state leaders are speaking out.

A Republican-backed bill to prohibit communities from banning plastic bags and other disposable containers passed the Senate on a mostly party line vote, after a significant change related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With most of Ohio’s businesses allowed to open up, experts who’ve worked with the state on the modeling it used to create its COVID-19 policies are evaluating their predictions for what’s ahead.

1.2 million Ohioans have filed jobless claims since mid-March. And as Ohio’s businesses reopen, workers are concerned about the availability of child care, the cleanliness of their workplaces and the safety of vulnerable family members as they go back to work. And the agency processing claims has seen that concern too.

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