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

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order disbanding the commission he created to investigate what he claimed was millions of fraudulent votes in the 2016 election. But Ohio’s chief elections officer wasn’t a fan of the Election Integrity Commission to begin with.

Karen Kasler

A final end to the legal battle involving the state and its largest online charter school is coming closer. The Ohio Supreme Court has set a date to hear arguments in the case filed by the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow.

Joe Schiavoni for Governor

The first Democrat to join the race for his party’s nomination for governor has become the first to announce a running mate. Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) has picked state Board of Education member Stephanie Dodd as his potential lieutenant governor.

Daniel Konik

2017 ends with some big decisions coming out of the Ohio Supreme Court. But there are key rulings ahead on abortion clinics in Toledo and Cleveland. And there are still big questions about the future of the state’s largest online charter school, and about the future of one of the Court’s own members.

Karen Kasler

2018 is expected to be a record year for road construction, with the Ohio Department of Transportation planning to spend $2.4 billion maintaining and building roads and bridges. But the agency’s director is worried about funding for ODOT down the road.

Karen Kasler

On the same day that the federal government released stats showing Ohio has the second-highest opioid death rate in the nation, the state’s children services’ agencies are saying their system is straining under the pressure of the deadly crisis.

Statehouse News Bureau

In recent Sunday morning TV appearances and in a nationally-distributed op-ed, Gov. John Kasich has advocated bringing both sides together to find common ground on guns. The leaders of the Ohio House talked about the issue on "The State of Ohio".

Office of Gov. John Kasich

Gov. John Kasich has delivered his last six State of the State speeches in cities around Ohio – and not in the Statehouse. He now says he wants to give his final address to a joint session of the General Assembly March 6 in Westerville, 15 miles north of the Capitol.  And some legislators have been concerned about the move of the annual address.

Daniel Konik/OGT

After more than a year of negotiations, a fix to shore up the fund that Ohio uses to pay benefits to jobless workers is no closer to reality.

Daniel Konik

Gov. John Kasich has made a rare move regarding his last State of the State speech - he’s already picked the date and location months before it’ll happen.

Facebook

The only Democrat on the Ohio Supreme Court announced in October that he intends to run for governor next year, but Bill O’Neill now says he won’t leave the bench until January 26. But state lawmakers may try to force him out sooner.

Karen Kasler

Two-thirds of the members of the Ohio House have sponsored a bipartisan bill that would ban photos, videos and digital media of victims of sexually oriented offenses from being released as public records. But not everyone is on board with the bill.

Data from Ohio Office of Budget and Management, Ohio Department of Health

There are as many as 170,000 Ohioans who abuse or are addicted to opioids, according to a recent study from the Ohio State University’s Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy. Abuse of and addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin costs thousands of those people their families, their jobs, their homes and – in the case of nearly 11 people a day last year – their lives. The study put a dollar value on all those losses - $8.8 billion.

Data from Ohio Office of Budget and Management

There’s almost universal agreement more treatment needs to be made available to help Ohio overcome the opioid crisis that killed nearly 11 people a day last year. But a study from Ohio State University says there simply isn’t enough capacity to help the 170,000 Ohioans who are battling opioid addiction. And experts have ideas on what Ohio needs to focus on now.

Karen Kasler

State tax revenue came in very close to estimates in November. That’s the second month in a row that forecasts have nearly right on target.

Statehouse News Bureau

Two Republicans who were running against each other for governor have decided to team up instead.

Daniel Konik

A bill to legalize fantasy sports gaming in Ohio will soon be on its way to Gov. John Kasich after passing the Senate by a big margin.

Karen Kasler

This month’s ballot brought out fewer than three in 10 registered voters. But it also brought forward the most expensive ballot issue in Ohio history.  But while money seemed to be a big factor in Issue 2’s defeat, there have been other times when the side with the most money didn’t get the most votes.

After a controversial Facebook post Friday mentioning sexual liaisons with 50 women, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill has taken down that post and apologized for what he wrote. But he said he won't resign, though some have said he should.

Jo ingles

A Facebook post from the only Democratic justice on the Ohio Supreme Court is raising eyebrows today. But in an interview, Bill O’Neill, the only Democrat holding state-level statewide elected office, says he stands by it.

Daniel Konik

Ohio could soon become the third state in the country to ban abortion after a diagnosis of Down syndrome. A bill to do that has passed the Senate.

Andy Chow

After months of speculation, it appears a shake-up in the Democratic race for governor next year is starting. A potential candidate who is likely to be a front runner in that contest has made a big move.

Karen Kasler

The Treasury Secretary came to Columbus to promote Republican lawmakers’ $1.5 trillion tax reform plan, which they say will grow the economy, make the tax code simpler and create a middle-class tax cut. But not everyone agrees.

Karen Kasler

Gov. John Kasich still won’t say whether he’ll be on the ballot again, but he did have some thoughts about how Democrats and his fellow Republicans fared in Tuesday’s election results.

Statehouse News Bureau

If Issue 2 had passed on Tuesday night, it would have been only the fourth time in Ohio history that a law brought to the ballot by an individual or a group was approved by voters. There’s a new effort to make changes in that process.

Karen Kasler

Though there were two statewide issues, several big mayoral and local elections and more than 1500 levies and other issues on ballots across Ohio, Election Night 2017 didn’t bring out voters in big numbers.

jfs.ohio.gov

The Ohio House has also passed a pair of bills requiring more checks for those who administer the state’s food stamp programs. Representatives considered requiring photos on electronic benefit cards and checks on recipients for other sources of income.

Karen Kasler

Two weeks after the resignation of a Republican state senator because of sexual harassment claims, other reports have surfaced of inappropriate and concerning behavior by some other state lawmakers.

Screenshot: youtube.com

Next week’s statewide ballot is topped off by a question about crime and the rights of victims. Issue 2 is well behind the big money involved in the drug price question that is Issue 2. But Marsy’s Law, which would put certain victims’ rights in the state Constitution, still has supporters and opponents with varying concerns about what it would do.

(More on Issue 1 on "The State of Ohio".)

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