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

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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) 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.

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 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 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. 

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.

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

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.

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 photo of antibody test kit
DANIELFOSTER437 / CREATIVE COMMONS

A survey of an indicator of Ohioans’ recovery from COVID-19 first announced in May is now underway.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says 12,000 postcards have been mailed to volunteers asking if they’d like to participate in the state’s antibody study. Husted says teams of trained workers are collecting samples starting Thursday in central Ohio and hope to complete the process by July 28.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Nearly three quarters of all confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Ohio have been in nursing homes. Ohio National Guard personnel have been helping with testing in long term care facilities, but the funding for them to continue that and other pandemic related missions runs out in a month.

With cases of COVID-19 rising and the average age of those contracting the virus getting younger, Gov. Mike DeWine is ordering masks for people in counties considered "level 3 public health emergencies" - but not statewide.

The Ohio National Guard will soon have to end its pandemic-related missions, including its first assignment in the coronavirus crisis – helping Ohio’s 12 food banks with the huge job of getting food to increasing numbers of people who need it.

A new Quinnipiac poll of registered voters shows Ohio may be a swing state once again. The race between President Trump and likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden is a virtual dead heat with a little over four months to go before the November election.

The Ohio Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that Toledo can no longer send appeals of traffic camera tickets to a city-paid administrative hearing officer. The attorney who won the case says it could shut down traffic camera programs in any city with a similar process.

Pages