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

picture of Householder

It’s been a long road back to the head of the Ohio House for Larry Householder. The former speaker became the new speaker in a controversial vote, and he’s the first person in almost sixty years to become speaker a second time. He’s being described as a masterful politician with a combination of a down-home charm and calculating shrewdness.

“I’m deeply honored to be the leader of this house, the People’s House.”

That’s from the speech Larry Householder gave on January 3, 2001 – just after he was unanimously elected speaker.

Karen Kasler

News that there’s no money for new road construction projects in the transportation budget coming next month has state lawmakers considering how to fix that. And one Republican leader isn’t ruling out a hike in the gas tax. 

ODOT’s construction budget has come from bonds taken out against the Ohio Turnpike, but that revenue stream is drying up, leaving ODOT with an estimated $700 million less than it had five years ago. So Senate President Larry Obhof says all options are on the table, including an increase in the 28-cent a gallon gas tax.

Reps. Sykes, Strahorn and Celebrezze

Ohio House Democrats will pick a new leadership team next week, more than a week after their leader resigned in the fallout from the battle over which Republican would be speaker. 

Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) resigned on Friday, after voting for now-former Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), who lost the overall House vote to Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford).

26 of the 38 House Democrats Strahorn led backed Householder, including David Leland (D-Columbus). He’s not seeking a leadership position in next week’s vote.

a photo of a new Ohio welcome sign

The state department of transportation has a bigger job than usual in changing the 38 road signs at Ohio’s borders that feature the new governor’s name.   

The signs are meant to last at least 20 years, so ODOT usually just replaces the names of the governor and lieutenant governor. But ODOT spokesman Matt Bruning says because the state’s tourism logo changed in 2015, all the signs were set to be replaced.

On Monday, incoming Gov. Mike DeWine will bring a public inauguration back inside the Statehouse for the first time in 52 years, since Gov. Jim Rhodes took the oath of office in the Rotunda in 1967. He also may bring back another tradition to the state capital.

In 2011, Gov. John Kasich delivered his first State of the State speech to a joint session of the House and Senate where it typically had been done – in the House chamber. But union protestors disrupted the speech several times, so he took the next seven speeches to communities around the state.