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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Snohomish County Mudslide
5:26 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Washington National Guard Deploys Search Unit, Fatality Recovery Team

An aerial view of the massive landslide in Snohomish County.
Credit Office of the Governor / Flickr

The Washington National Guard has deployed two technical units to help at the scene of the massive landslide in Snohomish County. One group is trained in search and extraction. The other is a fatality recovery team.

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24/7 Sobriety Program
6:55 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Washington's New 24/7 Sobriety Program Runs Into Snags

Commander Jim Rich of the Centralia Police Department displays the breath test machine used for the 24/7 Sobriety pilot program.
Credit Austin Jenkins

It’s been nearly a year since a repeat drunk driver caused a horrific accident in north Seattle.

A new mother, her 10-day old baby and her in-laws were run down as they crossed the street. The grandparents were killed, the mother and baby critically injured. That tragedy and other high profile drunk driving crashes prompted Washington lawmakers to authorize a pilot program to test repeat drunk drivers twice-a-day to see if they’ve been drinking. But that 24/7 Sobriety program has run into legal and financial snags and now two of the pilot agencies have dropped out.

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Washington State Ferries
3:53 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Washington Ferries Chief To Resign

David Moseley, the head of Washington State Ferries, with Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond.
Credit WSDOT / Flickr

The head of Washington State Ferries says he will step down on April 15th after six years on the job. David Moseley made his announcement Tuesday. His resignation comes as the nation’s largest ferry system continues to encounter choppy seas.

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Hanford
3:37 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Secretary Moniz Meets With Washington Governor On Hanford

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee met with Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on Monday.
Credit Office of the Governor

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the US Department of Energy is failing to provide him a “comprehensive” Hanford cleanup plan. The Democrat's comments follow a face-to-face meeting with the Secretary of Energy who made a special trip to meet with the governor.

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Washington Legislature
7:42 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Washington Legislature Adjourns Without Action On Medical Marijuana, Gas Tax

The floor of the Washington Senate on the last night of the 60-day session
Credit Austin Jenkins

The Washington legislature adjourned its 60-day session just before midnight Thursday night. This was Senate Floor Leader Joe Fain.

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Legal Defense Fund
4:14 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Facing Ethics Charge, Washington Lt. Gov. Wants Legal Defense Fund

Washington Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen
State of Washington

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 3:43 pm

In the 1990s an embattled President Clinton created a legal defense fund. Now, four-term Washington Lt. Gov. Brad Owen wants all state elected officials to have that option.

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Lobbyist-Paid Meals
5:16 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Lobbyist-Paid Meals Legislation Appears To Die In Washington Statehouse

Robert S. Donovan Flickr

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 4:15 pm

It looks like Washington lawmakers may adjourn their 60-day legislative session without addressing the issue of lobbyist-paid entertainment.

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Washington Education
4:44 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Inslee, Teachers' Union Clash Over Evaluation Measure

File photo. Washington Governor Jay Inslee has made the case for a controversial teacher evaluation bill.
biologycorner Flickr

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 3:12 pm

They supported his campaign, but now some unionized teachers in Washington have stern words for Governor Jay Inslee.

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Washington Jobs
4:01 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Washington Recoups Great Recession Job Losses, With Caveat

Andreas Klinke Johannsen Flickr

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 2:52 pm

It took four years, but Washington has now recovered more jobs than it lost during the Great Recession.

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Northwest Healthcare
4:05 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Washington Insurance Commissioner: Premera 'Guts' Consumer Protection Bill

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler
Washington OIC

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 3:38 pm

Washington’s Insurance Commissioner wants to notify consumers if their insurance company is on the verge of bankruptcy.

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