Karen Kasler (Ohio Public Radio)

Karen Kasler is a lifelong Ohioan with a passion for broadcast reporting. She left her hometown of Lancaster for Otterbein College. As News Director at WCBE in Columbus in the 90s, she covered a variety of events, including the local impact of the Gulf War, the financial problems of the Columbus Public Schools and the trouble-ridden Ameriflora exhibition in 1992.

Karen was selected as a Fellow in the Kiplinger Master's Program for Mid-Career Journalists at The Ohio State University in 1994. After a brief stint at WBNS-TV in Columbus, she moved to Cleveland and became the afternoon drive anchor and assignment editor for WTAM-AM. 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, the "Coingate" scandal and the resignation of former Attorney General Marc Dann. She's also produced features on "green" business, STEM education, campaign ads, the elimination of the state's anti-smoking agency and a demolition derby involving farm equipment.

Each year she anchors the Bureau's live coverage of the governor's State of the State. She was a panelist for the gubernatorial and the US Senate debates in 2006 and the Attorney General's race in 2008, and has also been interviewed by NPR, by the BBC and by Brian Williams for NBC's "Nightly News".

Karen has 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 was nominated for an Emmy in 2006 for hosting "The State of Ohio". She's currently the president-elect of the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters.

Karen joined the Bureau in March 2004. She’s reported for NPR, Marketplace and the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, and is a frequent guest on ONN’s “Capitol Square” , WVIZ’s “Ideas” and WOSU-TV’s “Columbus on the Record”.

Karen is also an adjunct professor at Capital University in Columbus. Karen, her husband and their son Jack live on Columbus' northeast side.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

Ohio’s senior US Senator got a prime time speaking spot on the final night of the convention, after his speech the night before had been scratched because the schedule got backed up.

Sherrod Brown admitted earlier in the week that he’d been vetted as a possible vice presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton, and told the DNC that he was completely behind Clinton’s economic plans.

“That’s why Hillary Clinton will win Ohio, because as everyone in this great hall knows, as Ohio goes, so goes the nation.”

Karen Kasler

One Ohio party leader who’s at the DNC as an elected delegate for Bernie Sanders says she’s very worried about the effect of the email scandal involving the outgoing Democratic Party chair. 

Former state Sen. Nina Turner of Cleveland is concerned. “The facade of unity is not going to carry out until some folks really start to address this issue and give voice to the issue.”

Karen Kasler

US Senator Rob Portman is facing a tough re-election fight this year – and some Ohio Republicans are worried that Donald Trump’s controversial candidacy may drag down Portman’s chances to beat Democratic former Governor Ted Strickland. The candidate popped in for a little campaigning on the first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

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.

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.

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.

Sen. Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) calls herself a conscientious objector to the nomination of Donald Trump, and says she’s let the Ohio Republican Party know her decision.

Payday lenders
Karen Kasler

New proposed rules on payday lenders require them to assess the ability of borrowers to pay back 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.

Payday lenders charge annual rates of 391% for the short-term loans they provide to high-risk, often desperate borrowers, according to Bill Faith with the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio or COHHIO, who says any concern about losing the jobs they provide is misplaced.

I-75 north of Cincinnati. Many in the Dayton area are living further from jobs than they did in the year 2000.   highway
Travis Estell / Flickr/Creative Commons

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.

Both Democrats and Republicans have launched major voter turnout efforts in advance of the November 2014 election.  vote election voters
elycefeliz / Flickr/Creative Commons

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.

OACAA.ORG

16% 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.

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