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."


Government and Politics
5:11 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Washington Legislative Caucuses Race Freeze On Fundraising

Invitations to legislative caucus fundraisers in Olympia before the December 13 campaign freeze takes effect.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

The election is over, but not the political fundraising. Washington state lawmakers are racing the clock to replenish their coffers before the freeze.

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Education and Training
3:24 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

WSU President Hopes To Present 'Unified Front' On Medical School

An existing building on the WSU Spokane campus would be used for the proposed medical school.
Washington State University

This January, Washington State University plans to ask lawmakers for permission to open a medical school in Spokane.

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Government and Politics
4:35 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Squeezing Toothpaste Becomes Analogy For Washington Budget

Justin Henry Flickr

To raise taxes, or not raises taxes? That is the question. Washington Democrats have been hinting at yes. Republicans like Senate budget chair Andy Hill say it’s a last resort.

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Government and Politics
4:23 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Washington's Lobbying Corps Populated By Former Lawmakers, Staffers

Lobbyist Bill Stauffacher once worked for Washington House Democrats. He believes a required cooling off period between state service and becoming a lobbyist would push the 'revolving door' underground.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

In Washington, D.C., there’s a waiting period before members of Congress and their staffers can work as lobbyists.

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Education and Training
3:35 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Washington Class Size Measure Puts $2B Dent in State Budget

Colin Fogarty Northwest News Network

Washington’s budget outlook is suddenly $2 billion in the red largely because of a class size reduction measure just approved by the voters.

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3:51 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Oil Interests Fund 'Astroturf' Groups In Washington, Oregon

This PowerPoint slide shows the campaigns and coalitions that the Western States Petroleum Association has 'activated' to combat what it calls 'aggressive anti-oil initiatives in the West.'

Astroturfing is when interest groups run a campaign that’s designed to look like it’s grassroots in nature.

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2:56 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Washington State Patrol Cites Truck Driver In Skagit Bridge Collapse

A water level view of the accident scene following the collapse of the bridge spanning the Skagit River.
Credit NTSB

The Washington State Patrol has ticketed the driver of an oversize load that collapsed the Skagit River Bridge in May of 2013.

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History and Culture
5:14 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Washington State Turns 125 Years Old

A new generation of time capsule keepers were sworn in at a celebration Tuesday at the Washington state capitol
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington state is 125 years old. There was a celebration Tuesday at the state capitol. It featured an historic reenactment, a time capsule ceremony and, of course, cake.

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Government and Politics
4:19 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Washington Voter Turnout Appears At 36-Year Low

Voter turnout in Washington state for last week's election appears to be at a 36-year low.
Credit Washington Secretary of State's Office

Voter turnout in Washington state was not just low this year -- it could be a 36-year low.

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International Affairs
12:32 am
Sun November 9, 2014

Bae Released, Thanks Public 'For Not Forgetting Me'

Kenneth Bae of Lynnwood, Wash., with his family, addresses reporters minutes after landing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle Nov. 8, 2014. The Obama administration secured the release of Bae and another American from North Korean prison sentences.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Kenneth Bae of Lynnwood, Wash., was free for the first time since 2012 when he landed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle Saturday night.

“It’s been an amazing two years,” he told reporters.

In 2012, Bae was sentenced in Pyongyang to 15 years hard labor, convicted of a Christian conspiracy to overthrow the North Korean government. Attempts by the Obama administration to secure his release were unsuccessful until last week.

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