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

When a sports fan goes to a game and gets a free promotional item like a bobblehead, does the team have to pay taxes on that freebie? That was the question before the Ohio Supreme Court.

Karen Kasler

A task force of health insurers convened by the Attorney General’s office has come up with 15 recommendations on how they can help with the opioid crisis that’s killing an estimated 14 Ohioans a day.

Daniel Konik

The Secretary of State says no voters will be removed from the rolls before the November election, in spite of the US Supreme Court ruling upholding Ohio’s process of deleting inactive voters’ registrations.

Karen Kasler

In a little over two weeks, mental health and addiction services for low income Ohioans will be moved into Medicaid managed care. But many behavioral health and family services providers say this huge change is straining their finances. But the group that represents Ohio’s health insurers says the move can’t be delayed.

As the House was going through multiple rounds of voting to pick a new Speaker, the Senate passed a surprise amendment to expand the state auditor’s power to look into the workings of the privatized non-profit entity JobsOhio.

Karen Kasler

A progressive think tank says data from the Ohio Department of Education’s website shows not only how much state money went to the now-closed Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, but also how much traditional public school districts lost to what was the state’s largest online charter school.

Karen Kasler

For the second month in a row, the state has brought in more personal income tax revenue than it budgeted for, meaning its surplus is growing. 

Ohio House

A two-term African-American state lawmaker said she’s been talking for more than a year about being discriminated against by Statehouse security, even when she was wearing her security badge and the pin marking her as a legislator, and when colleagues who were with her were not stopped.

Karen Kasler

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that a city can’t be sued if a driver’s view of a stop or other traffic control sign is blocked by shrubs or plants, unless they’re actually growing on the sign.

Karen Kasler

After seven weeks without voting sessions, the full Ohio House will vote on Wednesday on a new Speaker, and because no candidate had 50 votes among the 65-member Republican caucus, votes from Democrats could be important. But most Democrats are saying they won’t help out any Republican candidate.

Renacci for Senate/YouTube

The Republican candidate for US Senate is firing back at an ad from the Democratic incumbent with an ad of his own. This campaign was expected to be expensive, and now it’s certain to be nasty as well.

ideastream

While the Speaker saga drags on, there are more than 150 bills that are awaiting action in the House. One is a measure that would preserve money for a program that serves more than 800 at risk kids with severe behavioral needs each year.

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

The Ohio Parole Board has voted 8-1 to recommend that Gov. John Kasich deny clemency to a Cincinnati killer who’s set to be executed on July 18.

Karen Kasler

A crackdown on payday lenders that lawmakers haven’t passed is a step closer to going before voters next year.

Daniel Konik

There is no official action scheduled in the Ohio House today. Over the holiday weekend there was talk, but little change in the saga over who will be the Speaker till the end of the year - with the acting Speaker saying he’s willing to stay on and the representative with the most votes saying no deal.

WOSU Public Media

The recent US Supreme Court ruling striking down a federal ban on sports betting means Pennsylvania can go forward with sports wagering through a law passed last year, in anticipation of the court’s decision. But there’s one anti-gambling activist who says he thinks Ohio will be open for sports gambling in a matter of weeks – or maybe days.

Karen Kasler

The state is moving mental health and addiction services for low income Ohioans into Medicaid managed care by July 1, but providers say this huge redesign is straining their finances and could shut them down. But a key lawmaker involved in legislation relating to this redesign says it’s unlikely to be delayed.

Andy Chow

As another attempt among Republicans to pick a Speaker of the Ohio House has stalled, there’s been some action in the hometown of the former Speaker. And it’s likely connected to reports of an FBI inquiry into Cliff Rosenberger’s travel with lobbyists connected to the payday lending industry. 

Mike Dawson

The latest school shooting in Texas has activists are calling on younger people to register to vote and cast ballots in the upcoming midterm elections. But historical stats show those calls may go ignored in Ohio. 

@MediumBuying, Twitter

(Editor's update: Politifact graded this ad "mostly false" on May 31.)

The tone of the US Senate race between incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Congressman Jim Renacci may have been set by the very first ad, which ends its short run on broadcast and cable TV around the state today.

Karen Kasler

1.3 million retired unionized workers are facing a growing crisis surrounding underfunded pensions. And with 60,000 of those in Ohio, it’s sure to be an issue in the campaign for US Senate. And the incumbent has a proposal he wants to see passed by the end of the year.

Facebook

Abortion rights advocates in Ohio are worried about the effect of what they call a “gag rule” that would ban family planning clinics that get federal funds from referring women for abortions or from sharing space with abortion providers.

Karen Kasler

Ohio’s unemployment rate has dropped again, to a level not seen in 16 years.

shutterstock.com

Lawmakers are considering the state’s options in the wake of a US Supreme Court ruling clearing the way for legalized sports betting throughout the country.

Earthobservatory.NASA.gov

Gov. John Kasich found himself in some hot water after saying in a recent speech that he doesn’t believe Lake Erie is impaired, contradicting a declaration from his own Environmental Protection Agency in March. Now Kasich is clarifying those comments.

Karen Kasler

Saying he’s frustrated with federal inaction on immigration, Gov. John Kasich has signed an executive order that he says will assist legal immigrants in getting work, finding help and integrating into Ohio.

Screenshot: youtube.com

Tuesday’s primary didn’t offer a lot of support for the theory that a Democratic “blue wave” is sweeping through Ohio this year. But there also didn’t seem to be a whole lot of evidence that Republicans have to be on the “Trump train” to win elections.

Karen Kasler

Republican candidates on this fall’s ballot are moving to distance themselves from the founder of what was the state’s largest online charter schoo, following a state audit that could result in criminal charges and reports of an FBI investigation for illegal campaign contributions.

Karen Kasler

Gov. John Kasich had a message for both his fellow Republican and the Democrat who were winners in yesterday’s primary for governor.

Karen Kasler

Gov. John Kasich has signed an executive order opening up any public road around the state for testing for driverless vehicles.

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