Karen Kasler

Bureau Chief

Credit Kristen Kasler Peters

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 professional break at WCBE-FM, Columbus. Karen was selected as a Fellow in the Kiplinger Master's Degree Program for Mid-Career Journalists at Ohio State University in 1994. She worked at WTVN-AM and WBNS-TV, both in Columbus - then followed eight years as 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, the first execution since Ohio re-instated capital punishment. Karen frequently reported for ABC Radio News, and in 2002 co-produced an award-winning nationally-distributed documentary on the one-year anniversary of September 11, featuring her interview with Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge from the West Wing of the White House.

Since returning to Columbus in 2004, Karen has covered major elections and the controversies surrounding them. She was a moderator for the gubernatorial debate in 2018 and US Senate debates in 2016, 2012, 2010 and 2006. She's also led debates on statewide issues such as drug sentencing, marijuana legalization, redistricting and the collective bargaining law known as Senate Bill 5. Each year she anchors the Bureau's live coverage of the Governor's State of the State, and has led coverage of the inaugurations of the last three governors.

She's produced features for NPR and "Marketplace", and has been interviewed by NPR, the BBC, NBC and stations around the country. She's a regular panelist on 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".

Karen has been honored by the Association of Capitol Editors and Reporters, the Cleveland Press Club/Society of Professional Journalists 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 has served 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 worker at the testing site at the Columbus Health Department talks to a patient before administering a PCR test.
Dan Konik

There have been over a thousand new confirmed coronavirus cases in each of the last four days in Ohio, and Friday’s 33 confirmed new deaths is the highest number in a week. And attention has turned to testing after Gov. Mike DeWine got a positive result from a rapid test administered by the White House and a negative from a different kind of test a few hours later. 

Gov. Mike DeWine took a COVID-19 test during his coronavirus briefing administered by a member of the Ohio National Guard on June 23. That test was negative.
Andy Chow

Gov. Mike DeWine has now tested negative for coronavirus, after a rapid test administered by the White House before a planned meeting with President Trump came back positive. He'll being tested again on Saturday.

A voter shows her absentee ballot to Franklin County Board of Elections Director Ed Leonard (left) before putting it in the ballot drop box on the last day of weekend early voting before the March 2020 primary.
Karen Kasler

The state’s Republican chief elections officer and Ohio Democrats continue to battle over installing additional drop boxes where absentee voters could deposit their ballots if they’re concerned about the security and speed of mailing them in this fall. 

Gov. Mike DeWine holds up a baggie with homemade masks at a press conference in April. He encouraged people to start wearing masks then, but they weren't required until a statewide order in July.
OGT/The Ohio Channel

COVID-19 cases and deaths inched up in Ohio after three days of declines. And Gov. Mike DeWine has new instructions to prevent community spread in the next few weeks for kids going to back to class, because he says that will determine when school can return to a regular schedule.

Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) takes the oath as Speaker after his election to that office on July 30.
OGT

Two weeks ago, Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) was arrested on a federal racketeering charge related to the nuclear bailout law he championed, and wouldn’t say if he would resign. His House colleagues unanimously stripped him of his leadership and the GOP majority installed a new speaker, the third in two years.

cdrin/shutterstock.com

Five Ohio bars were cited in the first weekend of the state’s new order banning alcohol sales past 10pm.

Joe Biden did a campaign stop in Columbus in March, a few weeks before COVID-19 shutdowns began.
Daniel Konik

A little over two weeks before the Democratic National Convention meets mostly virtually, Ohio Democrats held their own virtual convention this weekend – hearing presentations from the party’s likely nominee and the woman who may be his running mate.

Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima, left) laughs with Rep. Jon Cross (R-Kenton) after session on July 30, as Rep. Todd Smith (R-Farmersville) looks on. Cross is among the Republicans who have proposed bills to push back on Gov. Mike DeWine's public health orders.
Karen Kasler

While all but three Republicans voted for him publicly, sources say Bob Cupp (R-Lima) he beat House Speaker Pro Tem Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) by just one vote in a private session. One thing Cupp will have to deal with some Republican lawmakers’ continuing concerns over the state’s response to the pandemic.

Newly-elected Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) looks at the House as he receives a standing ovation after his first address as Speaker.
Karen Kasler

The Ohio House has its third speaker in two years, as lawmakers ousted Larry Householder (R-Glenford) as speaker for his role in an alleged bribery scheme related to last year’s nuclear bailout law.

Speaker Pro Tem Jim Butler (R-Oakwood, standing) and Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) near the House floor after the chamber went into recess
Karen Kasler

By a unanimous vote, Larry Householder was removed as speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives this morning, following his arrest last week on a federal racketeering charge related to the nuclear bailout law he pushed last year.  But it’s unclear who will succeed him.

The Ohio House prepares to vote to oust Larry Householder as speaker.
Dan Konik

Larry Householder has been removed as speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives by a unanimous vote, after his arrest last week on a federal racketeering charge related to the nuclear bailout law he pushed last year. 

Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) is congratulated after his election as Speaker of the Ohio House in January 2019.
Andy Chow

With a vote set to remove House Speaker Larry Householder tomorrow morning and just two candidates in the race to replace him, there’s apparently a disagreement among Republicans on how that can happen.

Daniel Konik

Payments to more than a quarter of a million non-traditional unemployment cases in Ohio are being halted and are under investigation. The state says most are part of a scam that’s resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent payments in other states.

Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima), as he left the caucus meeting where members decided to hold a floor vote on removing Larry Householder (R-Glenford) as House Speaker.
Karen Kasler

Republicans in the Ohio House will remove their leader in a floor vote on Thursday, after deciding to do so in a secret ballot Tuesday. But it’s unlikely that they’ll vote to expel Larry Householder, who’s facing a federal racketeering charge related to the nuclear bailout he pushed last year.

Newly elected Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) takes the oath of office in January 2019, after a months-long behind-the-scenes battle culminates in his ousting of Ryan Smith as the Republican leader of the Ohio House.
Andy Chow

Republican members of the Ohio House will meet Tuesday afternoon to discuss picking a new Speaker for the second time in a little over two years, as they consider what to do about current leader Larry Householder, who’s facing a racketeering charge related to the nuclear bailout law he pushed.

The Greater Columbus Convention Center was transformed into a makeshift COVID-19 hospital in April as officials expected a surge of cases. It was torn down but officials said it could be reassembled in a few days if needed.
Greater Columbus Convention Center.

There were more than 1,400 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio Thursday, with 21 new confirmed deaths. And the numbers of people hospitalized with COVID are at their highest levels so far in the pandemic. But the state’s hospitals say they’re ready.

Gov. Mike DeWine was flanked by Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) when he delivered his first State of the State speech in March 2019.
Ohio Channel

After Larry Householder’s arrest on racketeering charges, his future as Ohio House Speaker may be cloudy – though he hasn’t said clearly if he will resign. Gov. Mike DeWine has called for Householder to quit, and says he’ll consider taking action if his fellow Republicans in the House do not.

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) walks out of the federal courthouse in Columbus, after making an initial appearance by video. He was arrested Tuesday, as were former Ohio GOP Chair Matt Borges, Householder's advisor and two lobbyists.
Andy Chow

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) has been arrested in connection to a $60 million public corruption racketeering conspiracy case. Federal agents were at his farm in Perry County Tuesday morning.

Student activists from around Ohio rallied at the Statehouse against gun laws two years ago, in March 2018.
Jo Ingles

A bill that would give Ohio’s local school boards the power to allow employees to carry guns in school buildings gets its first Senate hearing in almost two months on Tuesday. But gun control groups say the bill also eliminates required weapons training for those workers.

Gov. Mike DeWine talked to journalists on "The Sound of Ideas" on WCPN/ideastream Friday morning from his home in Cedarville via Skype.
Ohio Channel

Gov. Mike DeWine said he was looking to send a strong message about masks to some of his fellow Republican lawmakers in his speech on Wednesday. And he's also hinting that schools should prepare to go back to online learning and not to the classroom.

The Christopher Columbus monument on the Ohio Statehouse grounds was installed in 1992, as part of the city's commemoration of Columbus' arrival in the Americas.
Karen Kasler

The panel that manages the Ohio Statehouse grounds has proposed a way to petition for the removal of statues on Capitol Square – including the monument to Christopher Columbus, the only Columbus statue left in the city. 

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) speaks to reporters in the chamber after session on May 28.
Karen Kasler

Gov. Mike DeWine’s Wednesday evening speech seemed to be a warning to Ohioans to wear masks or risk another round of shutdowns and closures. DeWine’s fellow Republican Speaker Larry Householder has been critical of some of DeWine’s COVID-19 responses.  But in an interview for "The State of Ohio", Householder said he thought the speech was good.

Karen Kasler

It’s state and federal tax filing day – delayed by three months because of coronavirus.

Kiselev Andrey Valerevich, shutterstock.com

The nation’s nursing homes lobbying group has written to Ohio’s Mike DeWine and other governors, warning that without action now there will be more outbreaks, especially if visitors are allowed back in to see loved ones after months away.

Gov. Mike DeWine (center) begins his first State of the State speech on March 5, 2019, flanked by Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) and House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford).
Ohio Government Telecommunications

A potential showdown is coming between state lawmakers and Gov. Mike DeWine, over a bill passed last month that hits at the power and reach of public health orders issued during the pandemic.

The Buckeye Institute's offices are located in a building across the street from the Statehouse in downtown Columbus.
Karen Kasler

A conservative think tank has filed a lawsuit against the city of Columbus and the state of Ohio, claiming that its employees who live outside of Columbus shouldn’t have paid city income taxes while working during the state’s stay at home order.

A sign on a grocery store in Columbus. Franklin County is one of 12 counties under a mask mandate issued by the state.
Karen Kasler

The state reported just under 1500 confirmed new coronavirus cases Friday, as mask mandates go into effect in 12 counties at 6pm. Ohio joins a growing number of states setting single-day records for new coronavirus cases.

Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor delivered the annual State of the Judiciary speech in September 2019.
Liesl Bonneau

Ohioans in a total of 12 counties will be required to wear masks starting Friday at 6pm. But there continue to be questions about the enforcement and legality of that and other public health orders, as lawmakers push back on some of the state’s COVID-19 responses.

Ohio's Public Health Advisory System color-coded map, as released on July 9. It shows 12 counties in red, or Level 3 public health emergency status.
coronavirus.ohio.gov

The number of counties where masks are required in indoor business spaces and public places has gone up to 12, with one county falling off the initial list and five more being added.

Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) holds a briefing with reporters after a House session in May. Householder has said he can't impose a mask mandate on other elected officeholders, even those in his GOP House caucus.
Karen Kasler

Gov. Mike DeWine’s requirement that people in seven hot-spot counties wear masks inside businesses and in public places starting Wednesday night at 6 has raised the question of how it will be enforced.

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