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."


Wash. Unemployment Drops
4:16 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Washington Unemployment Rates Drops Below 8 Percent

Andreas Klinke Johannsen Flickr

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 3:51 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s jobless rate has dropped below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years. The November jobs numbers out Wednesday peg Washington’s unemployment rate at 7.8 percent. That’s down from 8.2 percent in October – the largest one month drop since 1977.

But chief labor economist Joe Elling cautions the state is still far from what he would consider full employment.

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Gregoire's Final Budget
4:47 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Washington Governor’s Parting Budget Emphasizes Taxes

Washingon Gov. Chris Gregoire
Credit Credit Austin Jenkins

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Taxes are a key part of Washington Governor Chris Gregoire’s final budget before leaving office . The outgoing Democrat released her proposed two-year spending plan Tuesday as required by law. Gregoire says she wrote her budget with incoming Governor Jay Inslee in mind. But he hasn’t exactly embraced it.

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NPR Story
3:35 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Timeline: Governor Chris Gregoire

State of Washington

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 6:05 pm


Jan. 12 - Inaugurated over Republican objections

May 17 - Signs 2-year, $26B budget, includes tax hikes on liquor and cigarettes

June 6 - Chelan County Judge Upholds Gregoire Victory – 133 votes


Feb. 15 - State Revenue Forecaster warns housing market showing signs of a correction

Feb. 16 - Signs landmark Columbia River water deal to protect fish and farms


Feb. 7 - Signs executive order setting goal of 1990 level greenhouse gas emissions by 2020

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Wash. Senate Power-Sharing
4:51 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Dems Lose Control Under Power-Sharing Coup In Washington Senate

Former Republican Rodney Tom, one of the breakaway Democrats, would serve as Senate Majority Leader under the power sharing agreement.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

A coalition of Republicans and two renegade Democrats have announced a plan to seize control of the Washington state Senate.

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Wash. Auditor-Elect
5:29 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Wash. Auditor-Elect Kelley Keeps A Low Profile

Washington State Auditor-elect Troy Kelley
Credit Washington Legislature

Washington’s newly elected governor, attorney general and secretary of state are busy hiring staff, announcing transition teams and setting up shop in the Capitol. But newly elected Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley hasn’t been seen much.

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Same-Sex Marriage Legalized
4:29 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

No Crowd As Same-Sex Couple Obtains Marriage License

Signs at the Thurston County Courthouse directed couples
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

In Washington’s capital city, the County Auditor was prepared for a rush on the day same-sex marriage became legal. Instead, it felt like business as usual.

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Marriage Equality Law
6:07 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Final Signatures Allow Wash. Same-Sex Marriage Law To Take Effect

Gov. Chris Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed pose for a photo after certifying the results of Referendum 74.
Credit Northwest News Network

On the eve of same-sex marriage taking effect in Washington, Gov. Chris Gregoire hosted an emotional ceremony in her office. Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed certified the results of the vote to uphold Washington’s new marriage equality law.

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Legalized Marijuana
4:47 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Wash. Liquor Board Has One Year To Catch Up To Pot Legalization

Adult possession of up to one ounce of usable marijuana will no longer be a crime in Washington.
Credit Drug Enforcement Agency

  Pot becomes legal in Washington on Thursday. But state officials have not even begun to write the complicated rules for who can grow it, process it and sell it. That year-long process begins Wednesday.

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Marriage License Lottery
5:15 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Same-Sex Couple Of 31 Years Wins Marriage License Lottery

Lynn Grotsky (far right) and Lisa Brodoff (top) won a drawing to become the first same-sex couple in Thurston County, Wash., to be issued a marriage license. They are shown here with their daughter Evan and son Micha.
Credit Yuen Lui

A lesbian couple that’s been together for more than three decades will receive the first same-sex marriage license in Washington’s Thurston County. Lynn Grotsky and Lisa Brodoff won a county-sponsored lottery Monday. They will be the first of 10 couples to get their license just after midnight on Thursday.

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Kids And Unsecured Guns
4:41 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

In Wake Of Tragedies, Wash. Lawmakers Will Examine Guns And Kids

A legislative panel will meet Friday to discuss ways to prevent children from getting their hands on firearms.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

A rash of accidental shootings involving kids and unsecured guns has some Washington lawmakers considering a change in the law. A legislative panel will meet Friday to discuss ways to prevent children from getting their hands on firearms.

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