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.

One of the nation’s largest health insurers says it will stop offering policies in the Ohio marketplace set up under the Affordable Care Act.

Senators are preparing to put out their version of the state budget, in which they need to trim hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure it’s balanced. And now the state budget office is reporting another big loss in tax collections for the current fiscal year.

Nearly all of Ohio’s public school students are taking tests online. But one state lawmaker wants to preserve the pencil and paper option. The state school superintendent appeared on "The State of Ohio" this weekend, and said he's not impressed with that idea.

Some 47,000 of Ohio’s high school juniors are in danger of not meeting a set of tough new graduation standards for next year. And the state school superintendent says he’s pleased that the Senate version of the budget will likely include an alternative for those students.

A Republican state lawmaker says companies have left Ohio because of a lack of access to air travel. He says Ohio can bring back jobs and more flights by building two new regional hub airports, one in the southwest and one in the northeast. 

A group of advocates is pushing for more gun control legislation, even as state lawmakers are debating several pro-gun bills. And the Ohio Coalition for Common Sense brought in a notable name for their launch.

The state wants to change to the way mental health and addiction services are billed and coded, to align with national standards. But providers of those services, which are already stressed because of the opioid crisis, are very concerned.

The Democratic ticket for next fall’s ballot continues to fill up. A candidate who’s expressed interest in the attorney general’s office has officially announced he’s running.

A bill that could limit a coroner’s power over death certificates is under debate at the Statehouse.

Among the observances of Memorial Day around the state was the annual Governor’s Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Statehouse.  

Federal stats show nearly 14,000 jobs at call centers in Ohio have been lost in the last decade. Now Senate Democrats have proposed a bill that seeks to protect 170,000 workers still at call centers in Ohio.

In his State of the State speech last month, Gov. John Kasich announced he wants the state’s Third Frontier commission to spend $20 million toward high-tech solutions to the deadly opioid crisis. The panel has taken the first step toward doing that.

Political figures past and present were on hand in the Statehouse rotunda to honor seven former Speakers of the House, going back 50 years. The leaders, along with their families, friends and colleagues, were  there for the unveiling of their portraits.

Next year’s graduating high school senior must get a good score over seven different final tests or on a college entrance exam, or earn an industry credential. As many as 47,000 high school juniors are potentially on track to fail to meet those standards. An amendment that may be attached to the budget in the Senate seeks to help those students.

The jobless rate fell last month, but the state also lost jobs. That doesn't seem to make sense, but the state says there's positive news here.

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