Karen Kasler

Ohio Public Radio and TV Statehouse Bureau Chief

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets.  She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.

Karen is a graduate of Otterbein College, and earned her Master’s as a Fellow in the Kiplinger Program for Mid-Career Journalists at The Ohio State University. Karen has been honored by the Associated Press, the Association of Capitol Editors and Reporters, the Cleveland Press Club/Society of Professional Journalists, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences/Ohio Valley Emmys, and holds a National Headliner Award. 

Ways to Connect

photo of Sen. Rob Portman
U.S. SENATE

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, and Republican Sen. Rob Portman appears to be heading toward a "yes" vote.

The November election is about 50 days away, with no major statewide candidates this year. That leaves room for both sides of a controversial drug price issue on the ballot to hit the airwaves with millions of dollars in ads. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler sat down with leaders from both sides to debate Issue 2.

Issue 2 may turn out to be the most expensive ballot issue campaign in Ohio history, topping the $64 million casino effort in 2008. The debate over drug prices has spawned a huge ad campaign, and is one of the most contentious issues in recent years.

photo of unemployment office
BURT LUM / FLICKR

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

The unemployment rate for August ticked up two tenths of a point to 5.4 percent, its highest rate since September 2014. Bret Crow speaks for the state department of Job and Family Services.

“Ohio’s unemployment rate did inch up a bit in August, but the good news is the state added more than 5,000 jobs – 5,200 to be exact," Crow says.

photo of Paolo DeMaria
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

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.

picture of execution bed
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio has executed a second convicted killer with a three-drug mixture that was first tried in July. But the condemned inmate’s lawyer says there may have been a problem this time.

45 year old Gary Otte of Indiana died at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville about 31 minutes after his execution began. Jim Province of the Toledo Blade has witnessed executions before, including a problematic one in 2006. Province says Otte apologized for his crimes, sang a hymn, and then didn’t move after the drugs took effect.

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