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 leads the nation in opiate overdose deaths, with an average of eight people dying each day last year. And thousands more are addicted, and in many cases, those addicts have families. On this week's "The State of Ohio", two children services directors share stories from the front lines of this crisis.

Six state senators and seven state representatives from Ohio will go to the inauguration, along with many state officeholders. They include Gov. John Kasich, who was the last candidate in the GOP presidential contest against Trump and publicly admitted he didn't vote for the President-Elect. But there will be many attending who aren’t elected officials, and aren’t even Republicans.

Ohio’s two members of the Congressional Black Caucus – both Democrats – are split over whether they’ll attend Friday’s inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump. 

Worries about hacking and cybercrime resulted in the federal Department of Homeland Security naming voting machines and elections systems around the country as “critical infrastructure”, and therefore eligible for more federal help to protect them. But Ohio’s secretary of state has some concerns.

The state’s annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. featured four students who were awarded for speeches they wrote praising Dr. King’s work. The students shared their winning essays from the pulpit of Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square in Columbus. Here are Columbus third grader Elena Earley, Columbus fifth grader Mackenzie Lewis, Columbus freshman Playon Patrick and sophomore Ivy Holley of Lima. The video of the ceremony is here.

Last month, Gov. John Kasich has warned that a tough budget process is ahead. But other state officials have questioned the use of the word “recession” and have said they think the state’s economic situation is strong. In an interview for "The State of Ohio", the state budget director says all this is true, in a way.

A two-year old state law that sets rules on traffic cameras went before the Ohio Supreme Court, in a case filed by cities who claim the law actually amounts to a ban on those devices.

The Ohio Supreme Court will once again take up the issue of red light and traffic cameras Tuesday, deciding the constitutionality of a law that requires cities to post officers alongside those cameras if they want to continue using them. A trip back into the archives explains the basics of the case.

State lawmakers have come back to Columbus to start their new year and new session, with the same House Speaker and House Minority Leader. The two recently sat down for an exclusive conversation for "The State of Ohio" about what happened in the long and confusing end of last year’s session, and what’s ahead.

Friday’s vote for chair of the Ohio Republican Party will be the biggest meeting for the party’s 66-member state central committee in several years. And both candidates say they have the votes to win.

The only Democrat serving in statewide office - Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O'Neill - says he’ll spend this year deciding if he wants to run for governor next year. But he would have to quit that job if he does.

For the first time in four years, the Ohio Senate will have a new president. And he and the incumbent Minority Leader come out of this lame duck session with a lot of work ahead of them when they return in January. They recently sat down for an exclusive interview.

The feud between the Donald Trump campaign and Ohio Republican Party chair Matt Borges before the election has turned into a challenge over the state party’s leadership next month. Now the party’s top state officeholder has weighed in with an unsurprising but significant vote of confidence.

The Ohio Supreme Court has sharply split over whether a 112-year sentence for a teenager convicted of kidnapping and raping a Youngstown State student in 2001 is constitutional.

The chair of the Ohio Republican Party is facing a challenge to his leadership at the state party’s meeting next month, after a public feud with the Donald Trump campaign during the presidential race. Matt Borges is now apparently campaigning to keep his job.

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