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.

A county Republican Party leader is getting a lot of state and national attention for his decision to resign after watching President Trump’s press conference with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. But unlike Trump, he’s not walking back or changing what he said.

It’ll be at least a week before the state will release a full report it commissioned on how much it’s paying its pharmacy benefit managers compared to how much those PBMs are paying out to pharmacies for drugs for Medicaid recipients.

Republican Gov. John Kasich and the Democrat who wants to replace him have said Ohio needs to fight efforts to overturn the pre-existing conditions requirement for health insurers in the Affordable Care Act. Nearly five million Ohioans could be affected if that requirement were tossed out. The Republican running for governor has addressed the issue as well.

Gov. John Kasich is sounding off on the lack of movement on gun regulations that he’d proposed earlier this year, commenting on it in two separate public events.

The Republican candidate for governor says he’s had a plan to keep Medicaid expansion for all 700,000 Ohioans covered under it. His Democratic opponent calls that a major about-face. And it shows there’s been a lot of confusion surrounding this key state policy, and what either candidate will do with Medicaid expansion if he is elected.

For the first time, the Republican candidate for governor is stating clearly that he would keep Medicaid expansion for all 700,000 Ohioans covered under it.  Mike DeWine says he’s been supportive all along, but his opponent says that’s not true.

Gov. John Kasich has signed an executive order that could end up creating new regulations on fertilizer used by farms in the western basin of Lake Erie, which he says it will help stop toxic algae blooms from developing.

The candidates for governor appear to have different approaches on how they’d pay for infrastructure, with construction costs going up and gas tax revenue declining.

A national group that advocates for so-called “right to work” policies is threatening to sue Ohio if it doesn’t stop collecting dues from state workers who are not union members, following last month’s US Supreme Court decision on the issue. But the state’s largest public employee union says the threat is unnecessary – and went to the wrong agency anyway.

One of the leading figures in the state’s battle against the deadly opioid crisis is stepping down. The head of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, who’s leaving six months before the end of the term of her boss, Gov. John Kasich.

Democrats have been blasting Republican Attorney General and candidate for governor Mike DeWine for not doing more about the multi-million dollar scandal involving the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, the now-closed online charter school. But Republicans are pushing back.

It was a busy holiday for groups that want voters to approve two new constitutional amendments this fall. Both proposals got thousands of petition signatures, but they also both have their critics.

New regulations on so-called puppy mills will take effect in a few weeks, with Gov. John Kasich signing a bill into law on Friday. And that has animal rights activists who had been wanting to put a puppy mill crackdown before voters calling off their campaign.

This Independence Day, many fireworks retailers in Ohio have abandoned the form that buyers had been required to sign saying they’d take their purchases out of state to set them off. But the sponsor of a bipartisan fireworks bill hopes for a lot of changes by next year.

Ohioans are now navigating a new process to get their driver’s licenses. It’s mostly the same, but with a big difference.

Two Democratic women state representatives have asked Attorney General and Republican candidate for governor Mike DeWine to reopen an investigation into comments made by the Majority Floor Leader at a going-away party in January. They say they’re concerned not only about the alleged conduct of Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), but with a previous investigation that cleared him of wrongdoing.

On Sunday – the start of the state’s new fiscal year – the most complicated change the behavioral health system in Ohio has ever undergone officially kicks in. And some providers of addiction and mental illness treatment and counseling for low-income Ohioans are worried they won’t survive being moved into the Medicaid managed care system.

Gov. John Kasich has signed a bill that would continue $2.5 million in funding for a 40-year-old program providing wraparound services for at-risk kids with severe behavioral needs in Cuyahoga County. The program’s operator had said it was concerned that services would have to stop because of a dispute over who should pay for them.

The Republican candidate for governor has released what he says is a plan to invest in Ohio’s kids, families and future. But Democrats are saying his record shows he can’t be trusted on this.

A national group that says Ohio’s payday lending rates are the highest in the nation came out strongly against possible changes to a bill that would crack down on the industry.

A bill that two conservative Republican lawmakers say asserts a parent’s right to decide if their transgender child should undergo treatment is getting strong pushback from an LGBTQ rights group.

A new audit commissioned by Ohio’s Medicaid program shows that there’s a nearly 9 percent differential between what the state pays the two companies managing Medicaid pharmacy benefits and what those companies pay pharmacies for those drugs. The head of the office that manages Medicaid isn’t ready to say whether that’s appropriate or a rip-off.

Some major proposed changes are coming to a bill that passed the House overwhelmingly earlier this month cracking down on the payday lending industry in Ohio. Borrowers here pay an average of 591 percent annual interest, the highest in the nation. While one Republican Senator is hoping for a compromise, supporters of the original plan are furious.

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that the state can cut funding to certain communities using traffic cameras. But the ruling may not have much of an effect.

The former Speaker of the US House was honored yesterday at his former workplace, the Ohio Statehouse. John Boehner spoke after a resolution honoring his six years as a state representative in the 80s before he was elected to Congress.

The House has overwhelmingly passed a bill to adopt a model curriculum for schools to use to teach cursive handwriting to elementary school kids.

The so-called “Stand Your Ground” bill is likely to come to the floor of the House next week, just before lawmakers leave for an extended break. And that might not be the end of the road for that controversial measure.

The new Speaker of the Ohio House is citing a two-year-old study from a pro-charter school group slamming the performance of virtual charter schools. And there may be changes coming in the laws that govern those online schools following the ECOT scandal.

Democrats are saying thousands of voters could be affected by the US Supreme Court’s decision upholding the way Ohio deletes inactive registrations. But the Secretary of State, who’s also the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, says the law prevents voters from being removed before the fall election.

The controversial proposal to merge K-12, higher education and workforce development into one big cabinet level state agency won’t go forward any time soon. The plan was backed by some Republican lawmakers and Gov. John Kasich, but had lots of opposition.

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