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.

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor continues to call for a debate with Attorney General Mike DeWine – saying her opponent in the Republican primary for governor has been unclear and even flip flopped on Medicaid expansion. But it appears Taylor also has made a major change on that issue.

Medicaid expansion is one of Republican Gov. John Kasich’s signature accomplishments, but it’s unlikely to remain if either his lieutenant governor or the attorney general is elected to replace him. And that would create a crisis for some 700,000 Ohioans in Medicaid expansion, most of whom are chronically ill or drug addicted.

This weekend brought huge protests over gun laws and another appearance by Gov. John Kasich on a Sunday morning national TV news show, talking about his recent and public change of heart on gun laws. But it’s still unclear whether recently discussed gun law changes will move forward with state lawmakers.

Individual stories can be found here.

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Several cities are considering legislation on guns if state lawmakers don’t pass gun law reforms – though a state law from a decade ago prevents them from passing stricter laws. The Democrat who argued for that law is now running for governor, and is being asked about that.

mary taylor john kasich
Karen Kasler / Ohio Statehouse News Bureau

For years, it seemed Mary Taylor and her boss John Kasich were a tight team. But in the last few months, as Taylor has been running an increasingly aggressive campaign to succeed Kasich as governor, she seems to be pushing away from him.

There may not be any debates in the Republican primary for governor. So the two candidates are now going back and forth in TV ads instead.

For years, it seemed Mary Taylor and her boss John Kasich were a tight team. But in the last few months, as Taylor has been running an increasingly aggressive campaign to succeed Kasich as governor, she seems to be pushing away from him.

Advocates are pushing for the state program that would regulate medical marijuana to be ready to go as scheduled this fall, even though there are lawsuits and concerns over how the companies that won licenses to grow medical pot were selected.

The Ohio Democratic Party will soon announce its fifth debate with its four major candidates for governor. But it’s starting to look like there won’t be one between the Republican candidates for that office.

Gov. John Kasich’s final State of the State speech last week has been praised and criticized for what it included and what was left out. But there was one bit of news – the announcement of a new state park that could become Ohio’s largest.

Amid the debate over whether teachers should be armed in schools, a Dayton-area lawmaker says he believes some students could carry weapons as well.

A billionaire Democratic fundraiser who’s been running a TV and online campaign to impeach President Trump has launched what he says will be a series of at least 30 town hall meetings around the country, and he kicked it off in Columbus. He'll go to Cincinnati next.

A federal judge has ruled a new state law that would ban abortion after a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome is unconstitutional, and has blocked it a little more than a week before it was to go into effect.

The largest business group in the state has put together a free online toolkit for any employer who’s dealing with opioid problems in the workplace – showing just how serious the epidemic is to businesses in Ohio.

State lawmakers want more information about the billing practices of companies that handle prescription drug benefits for millions of Medicaid recipients in Ohio. That's because they’re being accused of using the pharmacies they operate to drive smaller pharmacies out of business.

The state school board has voted to oppose a controversial bill that would give the governor more authority over a new education and workforce agency. And there are questions about the relationship the state’s education leader has with Gov. John Kasich.

Gov. John Kasich is sounding off about a report over the weekend saying that his job creation record for the last two years is only slightly better than that of his Democratic predecessor, Ted Strickland.

The state’s jobless rate has fallen to 4.7 percent, its lowest level since last March.

The four major candidates in the Democratic primary for governor met for their first debate of the year last night at a high school in Toledo – and it was the first meeting for this group of contenders. And the event got heated a few times.

The issue of guns and gun violence has energized some Republicans such as Gov. John Kasich. But it’s sparked real interest among Democrats, whose views on guns can run the gamut. And the issue is becoming a huge one for the four major candidates in the Democratic race for governor, who will meet in their first debate together on Wednesday.

Among Republican Gov. John Kasich’s new proposals on gun laws are a ban on accelerators called bump stocks” and a so-called “red flag” bill, which would allow law enforcement to seize guns of people deemed to be dangerous. But these ideas have already been proposed by minority Democrats in the Republican dominated legislature.

Republican state lawmakers say they have a plan to give Ohio’s 88 counties millions of dollars to replace thousands of voting machines that were bought more than a decade ago. And they could be ready in time for the 2020 presidential election.

The leader of Republicans in the Senate says he thinks a “stand your ground” bill that Gov. John Kasich said he wouldn’t sign will pass anyway.

A Cleveland doctor whose paperwork to run for governor was rejected has filed a challenge in the Ohio Supreme Court. He’s hoping to get back into what is officially a six-way race for the Democratic nomination.

Some big changes are coming for Ohio drivers’ licenses this summer. Ohio will be one of 42 states that will be mailing drivers’ licenses and state ID cards instead of printing them at the state’s 180 deputy registrars’ offices.

The state auditor says he wants Medicaid providers to insure that they’ll do the work the state is paying them for by putting up some money to prove it. He’s backing a bill that he says will help the state recover money spent on fraudulent payments.

Ohio has joined communities around the state, along with cities, counties and some other states in suing four companies that distributed prescription painkillers that they say helped fuel the deadly opioid crisis. And two of the targets of the suit are Ohio-based.

Gov. John Kasich has gotten even more direct in his statements suggesting his views on gun regulations have changed. Though he’s signed every law expanding gun rights he’s been presented with as governor, he says he won’t sign a controversial bill currently under consideration

Democratic state lawmakers are trying again to pass an assault weapons ban in Ohio, and say they think an apparent change of heart by Gov. John Kasich announced over the weekend might help the bill this time.

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