Austin Jenkins

Olympia Correspondent

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. He regularly files stories for NPR News. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin was a freelance general assignment reporter at KING–TV, the NBC affiliate in Seattle. He also worked as a freelance education reporter for KPLU–FM, the Tacoma–based NPR station. Austin spent 2001 in Washington, D.C. as a Knight Foundation/American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. Austin has also worked as a television reporter in Portland, Oregon; Boise, Idaho; Casper, Wyoming; and Bozeman, Montana. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and has a B.A. in Government from Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut.

Over the years Austin has won numerous professional awards for his reporting. He lives in Olympia with his wife Jennifer Huntley and their two children.

Read Austin's blog, "The Washington Ledge: Dispatches From Olympia."

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Disasters and Accidents
4:48 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Power Outages Persist In Fire-Swept North Central Washington

A view of a smoke plume from the Cougar Flat Fire from Liberty Bell High School south of Winthrop, Washington.
Credit InciWeb

The lights are coming back on in fire-swept north central Washington. A major transmission line was restored late last week, but not everyone has their power back.

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Economy, Business, Finance, and Labor
8:13 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Washington Vied For Tesla ‘Gigafactory’ Worth Thousands Of Jobs

A Tesla Roadster electric car.
Tesla Motors

Washington Governor Jay Inslee tried to woo electric carmaker Tesla Motors to build a massive battery factory in the Evergreen state. But according to at least one report, the company may have already broken ground near Reno, Nevada.

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Economy, Business, Finance, and Labor
7:48 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Washington Secretly Competed For Tesla ‘Gigafactory’

A rendering of a potential Tesla battery plant.
Tesla Motors

For the first time, we are learning that Washington competed to become the location for a massive battery factory for Tesla electric cars.

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Crime, Law and Justice
5:18 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Lawyers Fight To Move Accused 15-Year-Old Killer From Solitary Cell

Eldon Samuel III is charged with murdering his father and younger brother in Coeur d’Alene in March.
Credit Kootenai County Sheriff's Office

In north Idaho, a 15-year-old boy sits in an isolated jail cell awaiting trial for murder. Eldon Samuel III is accused of shooting to death his father and younger brother in March.

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Crime, Law and Justice
4:05 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

ACLU Takes On Case Of Idaho Teen In Solitary Confinement

Eldon Samuel III
Credit Kootenai County Sheriff's Office

The ACLU of Idaho has joined the fight to move an accused teenage killer out of solitary confinement and back into juvenile detention.

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Disasters and Accidents
5:42 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Inslee Says Feds Will Help Restore Power In Fire Zone

Map of current large fire locations in the Northwest
Credit Northwest Interagency Coordination Center/ Google

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said Tuesday President Obama has pledged immediate federal aid to help fire-swept areas of north central Washington.

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Government and Politics
3:59 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Judge Sides Again With Washington Foster Youth

A judge in Bellingham Monday ordered the state of Washington to do more to locate foster children who run away.

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Government and Politics
4:50 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Washington's Mid-Term Elections Draw In More Than Nearly $33M So Far

Credit Washington Public Disclosure Commission

Washington’s August primary is less than a month away -- August 5. It’s a mid-term election year with no statewide offices on the ballot. Even so, already nearly $33 million have been contributed to campaigns.

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Crime, Law and Justice
2:49 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Washington Supreme Court Sides With Boyfriend In School Backpack Shooting

The Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday a Washington man whose loaded gun went off in a school backpack critically injuring a student can’t be charged with third-degree assault.

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Economy, Business, Finance, and Labor
4:41 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Washington Jobless Rate At 6-Year Low, But Rural Counties Lag

King County is leading the job recovery in Washington state.
Credit Wikimedia

According to the June jobs report released Wednesday, Washington’s jobless rate has dropped to 5.8 percent -- the lowest level in six years.

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