Karen Kasler

Bureau Chief

Credit Kristen Kasler Peters

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.

Daniel Konik/OGT

With around 50 days to go till the November election and no major statewide candidates this year, that’s leaving plenty of space for opponents and supporters of a drug price issue on the ballot to hit the airwaves with millions of dollars in ads. But the main spokespeople for both sides have a lot to say that goes beyond those commercials.

Dan Konik

After several months of holding steady, the state’s jobless rate has climbed to its highest level in nearly three years.

Karen Kasler

Ohio’s school report cards are out, and the state says its 1.7 million school kids are doing better academically across all subjects, and across different economic and racial groups.  But there are mixed grades for Ohio’s public school districts, and mostly bad ones for charter schools.

ohiodems.org

There are nearly seven months till the primary for governor next year. But the four announced Democratic candidates for governor proceeded as if the race is well underway as they met for their first debate last night in Martin’s Ferry on the West Virginia border.

Daniel Konik

Ohio’s second execution in two months is set to proceed on Wednesday, when Gary Otte of Indiana is scheduled to be executed for two murders in Parma near Cleveland in 1992. But those opposed to capital punishment says they’re not done fighting.

Ohio Secretary of State

Gov. John Kasich is backing a U.S. Supreme Court challenge to a state legislative district map from Wisconsin, saying gerrymandering creates polarization and division.  Voters changed Ohio’s statehouse map-drawing process in 2015. Those who now want to change Congressional district maps are carefully watching this case – and noting Kasich’s support for it.

Karen Kasler

Dozens of volunteers have started the job of placing 2,977 flags on the West Lawn of the Statehouse for its annual 9-11 memorial.

Karen Kasler

For the second month in a row, the state collected more income taxes than forecasts suggested it would. That’s quite a turnaround from last year, when the new state budget had to be trimmed as income taxes fell short nearly $850 million.

Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board/Capitol Square Foundation

Democrats around the state are mourning the loss of a longtime party leader, known for his deep knowledge, his political savvy and his sharp tongue.

Policy Matters Ohio

An annual review of conditions for Ohio’s workers shows signs of improvement in some areas. But the report from the progressive group Policy Matters Ohio says there are still plenty of problem areas.

Ohio Department Rehabilitation and Correction

Ohio’s next execution appears to be on schedule for next week, now that Gov. John Kasich has denied clemency to the condemned killer.

Ohio House

Ohio tax law still has a “marriage penalty” – when married couples file jointly and pay more in state income taxes than they paid separately when they were single. And the issue has resulted in a union of an unlikely pair of sponsors.

Zack Space for Ohio

There are four Democrats running for governor next year, but there’s still the chance that former Attorney General Richard Cordray might leave his position at the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and join the race as early as this weekend. Meanwhile, another Democrat has joined next year’s ticket, running for state auditor.

Ron Corby

Ohio has more execution dates set than any other state. And a new report from Harvard Law School shows most of those condemned inmates have serious mental and intellectual impairments. And the group suggests that could pose a constitutional problem.

Sunday was another day of work for Gov. John Kasich, who once again appeared on a network TV news show to discuss national issues – and say again that he’s not running for president. That’s becoming increasingly hard to believe for some people. And it’s also drawing criticism from those who say the governor should spend more time at his “day job”.

NBC's "Meet the Press"

Gov. John Kasich was back on Sunday morning TV, talking about working with Colorado’s Democratic governor on a deal on health insurance. And that work has brought up questions about whether Kasich may be looking at a bipartisan presidential run with John Hickenlooper.

ema.ohio.gov

A bipartisan coalition of mayors from 30 Ohio cities are asking Gov. John Kasich to take a major step in fighting opioids. They want an emergency-level statewide clearinghouse to monitor the opioid crisis.

ohio.gov/colorado.gov

For months, Republican Gov. John Kasich has been talking about his work with Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on health insurance reform. A proposal from the governors may be close, but it won’t touch one of the most expensive and controversial points of the federal health care law.

Twitter

Another clash may be coming between Republican state lawmakers and Gov. John Kasich. And it’s about a bill on nuclear power plants, but the issue may be more about money.

rosscountyhistoricalsociety.tumblr.com

One of the two statues representing Ohio in Congress’ Statuary Hall was removed last year because of its subject’s views on slavery. With the current focus on the removal of Confederate statues, there are some questions about what happens to it now.

Karen Kasler

60% of Ohio public school students living in poverty scored below proficient on required statewide tests, and the districts that have the lowest test scores have the highest percentages of poor students. That’s based on data from the Ohio Department of Education.  State lawmakers are now studying the connection between education and poverty.

Daniel Konik/OGT

Senators are expected to come back to the Statehouse on Tuesday and vote on at least one overrides that the House approved last month on 11 of Gov. John Kasich’s 47 budget vetoes. And as Republicans consider how and what they'll vote on, Senate Democrats are trying to figure out their strategy.

Subodh Chandra/Muslim Advocates

The central Ohio man who’s behind the white nationalist website "The Daily Stormer" has gotten a lot of attention since this weekend’s violence in Virginia. He’s now getting hit with a defamation lawsuit filed in Columbus by a well-known Muslim comedian, columnist and radio host.

Karen Kasler

It’s not unusual for pharmaceutical companies to offer payments to doctors – for speaking fees, for travel expenses, for lunches and for gifts. But a new study shows one in five family doctors in America have received a payment involving an opioid medication – and Ohio is among the top states in the country in terms of dollars involved in those payments.

Karen Kasler

*Editor's note (8/15/17): The Senate has now announced the voting session will happen on August 22, and the session on August 23 has been cancelled.

Last month, state representatives voted to override a budget veto for the first time in 40 years. They actually overrode 11 of Gov. John Kasich’s 47 vetoes. Senators are now deciding which of those overrides to vote on, and that they may ask the House to consider overriding more vetoes.

Karen Kasler

At one point, four in ten incoming freshmen on Ohio’s public colleges and university campuses needed refresher courses on things they should have learned in high school. That number is falling, but officials are still concerned about the number of kids needing remedial work – which can be costly.

Karen Kasler

There were a lot of cuts in this new state budget, largely because tax revenues were off nearly $850 million dollars for the last fiscal year. There’s one budget cut that’s small, but some worry it could have a huge impact on people who really need that money.

yesonissue2.com/deceptiverxissue.org

The November election is more than three months away. But there is action ongoing with the issue that’s likely to be the most expensive ballot question in state history – a proposed law that would force the state to only buy drugs at a discounted price.

Karen Kasler

After years of big numbers, attendance at this year’s Ohio State Fair plummeted to its lowest number in 13 years.

Karen Kasler

The sale of prize winning livestock raised by Junior Fair exhibitors raised $284,000 and the price of the reserve grand champion market barrow broke a four year old record. Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels said individual exhibitor earnings from the sale are capped, with the excess going into a shared fund. “We’ve helped over 300,000 kids and youth through the sale by kind of spreading that prize money around a little bit,” Daniels said.

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