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. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. His reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists. Austin is the recipient of the 2016 Excellence in Journalism Award from the Washington State Association for Justice.

Ways to Connect

Tony Overman / The Olympian

A former deputy director at Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is awaiting trial on charges he broke into the home of a co-worker and raped her while she slept.

The case has revealed a sexually-charged culture within the agency that one employee described as “a pattern of behavior that was not hidden.”

Northwest News Network

  Our staff checks in from around the Northwest with tales of hazy days and record-breaking heat.

Washington DSHS

After a national search, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has tapped an insider to run the state’s largest agency. Western State Hospital CEO Cheryl Strange will take over as secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services in September.

Phyllis Fletcher / Northwest News Network

Washington state’s voter rolls are “accurate,” and the state follows federal election laws. That’s the message Washington Director of Elections, Lori Augino, is sending to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Chehalis School District

Washington state lawmakers have adjourned and gone home without passing a $4.1 billion capital construction budget. For a community in southwest Washington, that means an elementary school may not get built on time and on budget.

Steven Pavlov / Wikimedia - tinyurl.com/ybzamj78

The sewage system is crumbling in Carbonado, Washington, near Mt. Rainier. And if Washington lawmakers fail to pass a capital construction budget before they adjourn Thursday, a plan to replace it—and many other projects around the state—will be put on hold.

Esmy Jimenez / Northwest Public Radio

Last year, developmentally disabled residents in Washington state institutions choked to death, were sexually assaulted and nearly drowned. That’s according to a report being released Wednesday by Disability Rights Washington.

WSDOT / Flickr

Time is running out for Washington lawmakers to pass a capital construction budget. Less than one week remains in the state’s third overtime session of the legislature.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

First it was Georgia. Then Montana. Now the national political spotlight is falling on Washington state and a special election later this year. But unlike those earlier contests, this one isn’t to fill a seat in Congress.

It’s for the state legislature.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Heavily armed police officers found no evidence Wednesday morning of an active shooter on the Washington State Capitol Campus following a report of suspicious noises that sounded like gunshots. 

The entire campus in Olympia was put on lockdown at approximately 9:30 a.m. while officers armed with rifles searched a pair of buildings on the east campus that house the Washington Department of Natural Resources, Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Social and Health Services.

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