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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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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Crime, Law and Justice
6:00 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Long Sentences, Aging Inmates May Strain Washington's Clemency System

Members of the public raise their hands in support of a commutation for a three-strikes offender at a recent meeting of Washington's Clemency and Pardons Board.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

In just a few years, Washington will need another 1,000 prison beds. There’s been talk of building a new state lock-up, but that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars at a time when the Supreme Court has said school funding must be the priority.

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Government and Politics
4:07 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Poll Finds Washington Gun Rights Initiative Losing Support

Credit M Glasgow / Flickr

A new Elway Poll out Tuesday shows support for a gun rights measure on Washington’s fall ballot is flagging. Meanwhile, a dueling measure that would expand background checks remains popular.

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Weather and Climate
4:22 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Weekend Lightning Could Lead To 'Sleeper' Fires

Firefighters along Highway 97A are battling the Mills Canyon fire in central Washington state.
Credit InciWeb

Wildfires continue to rage around the Northwest. and forecasters say weather conditions are ripe for more fires to develop in the coming days. 

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