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.

OGT/Ohio Channel

The state auditor is standing by his concerns about the oversight of charter schools by the Ohio Department of Education, an agency he said two weeks ago is among the worst in state government.

Republican National Convention

As polls show likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is trailing presumptive Democratic choice Hillary Clinton, reports are again surfacing that Republicans will be making moves to try to change the rules for next month’s convention in Cleveland. And that’s a tactic that’s been used in past conventions too.


Social conservatives from Ohio and other key states in this upcoming presidential contest have been invited to a closed-door meeting with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump next week. They include the head of the state’s leading anti-abortion group.

Karen Kasler

Flags will fly at half-staff to remember former Cleveland mayor, Ohio governor and US Senator George Voinovich, who died suddenly over the weekend at 79. And some are saying his bipartisan approach to politics that demonstrates how different things are since he retired from elected office in 2010.

U.S. Senate

Politicians, reporters, pundits and people around the state are remembering a giant of Ohio politics – former Cleveland mayor, Ohio governor and US Senator George Voinovich.

Karen Kasler

A federal judge has rejected the state’s request to delay his ruling that brought back the so-called Golden Week in which new voters could register and vote at the same time.


A report from two advocacy groups says Ohio prisons are using solitary confinement too often, and that it doesn’t help inmates who will eventually be released or help make prisons safer. And the groups are pushing the state to make changes.

Ohio Senate

Gov. John Kasich left the Republican presidential race last month, but he still has 161 delegates – including 66 he won by winning the Ohio primary. But now two of those Kasich delegates say the party will have to replace them at the party’s convention in Cleveland next month.

Karen Kasler

New proposed rules on payday lenders require them to assess the ability of borrowers to pay back those short term, high interest loans. But advocates who work with low-income Ohioans say those rules are a good start, but don’t go far enough.

Karen Kasler

More than 400 officeholders, activists and leaders with the Ohio Republican Party gathered for their annual statewide dinner this weekend. And their likely nominee wasn’t mentioned much, but certainly was on the minds of many.

Karen Kasler

Gov. John Kasich made his first official appearance since leaving the race for the Republican nomination for president at the state’s 36th annual commemoration of the Holocaust at the Statehouse. And there were echoes of his now-abandoned campaign in his remarks.

OGT/The Ohio Channel

A medical marijuana bill is set to come up for a vote in the Senate today. The timing is critical, since lawmakers are leaving for summer break and unlikely to return before the November election – and there are two groups working on ballot issues to legalize medical marijuana to put before voters this fall.  Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) talked about Senate President Keith Faber’s comments that half the Republican caucus is against the medical marijuana bill, which is backed by Republicans in the House.

Karen Kasler

The House has overwhelmingly passed a bill that would allow for expanded use of in-car breathalyzers for those convicted of driving while intoxicated – including first-time drunk drivers.

Joshua Lim

The Ohio primary was Gov. John Kasich’s lone presidential primary win, and new numbers show a lot more Democrats voted Republican than vice versa. But the state's chief elections official says that isn’t a prediction of what could happen this fall.


State lawmakers are looking over a bill to more than triple the tax credits offered to moviemakers who film in Ohio. But critics on the left and the right are saying the program should be cut.

Andy Chow

Quinnipiac University has released its first poll since John Kasich and Ted Cruz left the GOP contest. And for the first time, it's showing presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump leading Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in Ohio.

Andy Chow

Republican officeholders have started to turn toward Donald Trump as their party’s likely nominee for president, now that Gov. John Kasich has left the race. But one expert says it could still be a tough campaign ahead.

The state’s highest court will decide whether internet retailers which have no offices or employees in Ohio but sell products to Ohio residents have to pay a tax that nearly all Ohio businesses pay. And the question before the court centers on what the definition of doing business in Ohio actually is.

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio

Just a few weeks after a controversial decision that federal regulators have now overturned, the head of the panel that regulates Ohio’s utilities has announced he’s quitting.

Karen Kasler

Federal regulators have blocked Akron-based FirstEnergy and Columbus-based American Electric Power from imposing controversial short-term rate increases on customers to bring in money for struggling coal and nuclear plants - deals the companies said were essential to market stability but critics said were "bailouts".


Sixteen percent of Ohioans lived all of last year in poverty, and nearly a third were under the federal poverty line for at least some of 2015. Those are among the findings in a report from community groups that work on the front lines of the war on poverty in Ohio.

Karen Kasler

Opponents of the plan to ask the federal government for permission to charge 1.5 million Medicaid recipients small premiums to stay in the program are calling for critics to make their voices heard at a public hearing in Cincinnati today. But supporters say the plan will keep costs down and help those recipients be more engaged.

Karen Kasler

Ohio’s senior US Senator is on the short list of possible running mates for Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton. And he says he doesn't want to be.

Statehouse News Bureau file photo

State lawmakers will be busy again with two major piece of legislation and lots of other bills this week.

Ohio Senate

State lawmakers are coming up on a deadline on whether to change the law on green energy and renewable standards for utilities, or to leave it alone and let those standards go back into effect.

Karen Kasler

Ohio doesn’t have an execution scheduled for nine months, and the state doesn’t have the drugs to carry out that lethal injections. So advocates are seizing the opportunity to lobby lawmakers on abandoning the death penalty entirely. And they came armed with some powerful weapons – people who were sentenced to die but who were freed after the charges against them were dismissed.

Karen Kasler

Ohio could become the fifth state to create a database of information about Parkinson’s disease.


Gov. John Kasich will leave his presidential campaign behind for a day to deliver his sixth State of the State speech tonight. And continuing a tradition he began in 2012, he’s once again taken the annual address on the road to a new city. This time he’s in Marietta. And residents of that city - and throughout Ohio - will be listening to what he has to say.

Karen Kasler

Welcome to Election Day 2015 - 24 hours of non-stop news condensed to just under 12 minutes.

Karen Kasler

State regulators have approved a pair of deals that allow FirstEnergy and AEP to impose multi-billion dollar rate increases on electricity customers to subsidize some older coal-fired and nuclear power plants.