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.

Ohio’s U.S. Senators appear to be split on the latest attempt to repeal and replace the federal Affordable Care Act.  Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown has been against it, but now we know more about how the state’s Republican Sen. feels.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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