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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Kickstarter Lawsuit
8:06 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Washington Attorney General Targets Kickstarter Campaign

s believed to be the first government action against a failed crowdfunding campaign. Sites like Kickstarter have  become a popular way to finance start-up projects. But there’s also financial risk when you kick in money to get a music or art project off the ground. Sometimes the sponsor doesn’t deliver. Some 30 victims in Washington now know that firsthand. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

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Kickstarter Lawsuit
7:24 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Victim Happy That Washington Filed Crowdfunding Lawsuit

One of the victims of an alleged crowdfunding scam says he’s not counting on getting his money back. But he’s glad Washington’s attorney general has filed a consumer protection lawsuit. It’s believed to be the first state action against a crowdfunding project sponsor. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has details.

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Millennial Politicians
11:04 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Despite Party Differences, Millennial State Lawmakers Find Common Ground

The four youngest members of the Washington legislature are two Democrats and two Republicans who find generational common ground in spite of their political differences.
Credit Austin Jenkins

The Washington legislature is trending a bit younger these day.  Nine of the 147 members are under-34 year olds. 

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School Safety
6:16 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Washington Schools Face Multiple Threats From Natural Disasters

A new draft report finds that Washington schools face threats from nine different kinds of natural hazards.
Credit Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction

The Oso landslide appears to rank as the third deadliest natural disaster in Washington history – after the 1910 Stevens Pass avalanche and the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. But what if there had been a school in the path of the debris field? A new hazard report from the state shows dozens of Washington schools potentially sit in slide zones. But at least one of those schools doesn’t have to worry.

Holmes Elementary in Spokane is about three blocks from the Spokane River. The new report says it’s one of 28 Washington schools near a slope with a high risk of failure.

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Obama Visits Oso
7:36 am
Wed April 23, 2014

President Tours Disaster Zone, Offers Support One Month After Deadly Landslide

Christian Johnson, right, waits at the Oso firehouse for President Obama to speak. Johnson was a volunteer searcher after the landslide last month.
Credit Austin Jenkins

President Obama says the “whole country” is thinking about the victims of the Oso landslide in Snohomish County. The president visited the slide zone Tuesday to mark the one month anniversary of the tragedy. The death toll currently stands at 41 with two people still missing.

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Lobbyist-Paid Meals
8:28 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Washington Ethics Board To Consider Crackdown On Lobbyist-Paid Meals

Richard Hodgin of Seattle testified in favor of stricter free meal rules for Washington state lawmakers.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

By next January Washington lawmakers should have clearer guidance on when it’s OK to accept free meals from lobbyists.

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Party Bus
8:09 am
Mon April 7, 2014

After Fatalities Nationwide, Washington Regulators Target Party Buses

Party bus owner William Prigmore says his industry helps keep drunk drivers off the road. But state regulators point to nearly two dozen fatalities around the country as evidence the industry needs more regulation.
Credit Austin Jenkins

Prom season is coming up. That means tuxes, gowns and limousines. But these days an old-fashioned stretch limo can look a bit stodgy. The new rage is party buses. They carry more people and you can even stand up, dance and drink as you cruise down the road. But these parties on wheels can come at a price. Nationwide there have been nearly two dozen fatalities on these buses  including one here in the Northwest.

Now regulators in Washington state are getting ready to crack down on the industry.

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Snohomish County Mudslide
4:55 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Lands Commissioner Accuses Anti-Logging Interests Of Exploiting Oso Slide

File photo of the massive landslide that hit Snohomish County in March.
Credit Office of the Governor Flickr

Washington Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark is speaking publicly for the first time since the Oso landslide in Snohomish County.

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Marijuana Lottery
5:01 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Washington Pot Store Lottery Announced; Grow Licenses Lagging

Credit Wikimedia

The timeline for when Washington’s first marijuana retail stores will open has slipped from June to early July, according to state Liquor Control Board staff.

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Snohomish County Mudslide
4:27 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Oso Landslide Could Be Deadliest Disaster In State History

Rescue workers are combing the site of a massive landslide near Oso, Wash.
Credit Maj. Tawny Dotson Washington National Guard

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has acknowledged the Oso landslide could be the deadliest natural disaster in state history. 

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