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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Class Size Initiative
6:34 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Washington Budget Committee Chair 'Doesn't Know How To Pay For' Class Size Measure

Credit Brianhe / Wikimedia Commons

Washington voters are likely to pass a class-size measure that comes with a multi-billion dollar price tag.

Now, Washington lawmakers will have to figure out how to fund it. Or muster the votes to amend it.

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Kenneth Bae Returns
6:23 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Kenneth 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.

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Washington Gun Initiatives
6:01 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Washington Voters Approve Expanded Gun Background Checks

Credit M Glasgow / Flickr

Washington voters have overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to expand background checks for person-to-person gun sales and transfers.

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Washington Election 2014
10:26 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

GOP On Track To Hold Washington Senate, Pick-Up House Seats

File photo of the Washington Senate chamber

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 10:22 pm

Washington Democrats appear to have failed in their bid to retake control of the state Senate. Republicans were also poised to pick up seats in the Democratically-controlled Washington House.

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Get Out The Vote
7:28 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Psychology At Work In Get-Out-The-Vote Political Mailers

Credit Ian Westcott / Flickr

We know dogs love to get praise, but don’t like to be shamed. Turns out, voters are kind of similar. That’s why get-out-the-vote efforts these days often include a bit of psychology.

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Election 2014
7:18 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Last Minute Tips For Voting In Election 2014

Credit Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr

It’s election week. Here in the Northwest, Washington and Oregon voters will cast their ballots by mail – or drop box. In Idaho, most voters still go to the polls.

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Campaign Contributions
6:07 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Surplussing Offers Legal Funnel For Campaign Contributions

Surplussing, a common practice used by legislative candidates and campaign donors, finds ways around Washington's strict campaign contribution limits.
Credit 401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Washington’s primary election was on August 5. Two days later, large checks started arriving in the campaign coffers of the House Democratic Campaign Committee also known as the HDCC. The biggest check of $80,000 came from Speaker of the House Frank Chopp. By the end of that day, the HDCC had received some $800,000 from its own members.

State Representative Sam Hunt said he saw that money and thought, "We [should] all get on a plane and go to Tahiti.”

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Government And Politics
4:45 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Washington House Could Be ‘Sleeper’ Election Of 2014

If Republicans were to pick up two or three more seats, that could amplify the voices of swing district Democrats in Washington State.
Credit Harvey Barrison / Flickr

The battle for control of the Washington State Senate is getting a lot of attention. But all Washington House members are also up for re-election this year.

Currently Democrats hold 55 seats – 50 is a majority. In recent years, Republicans have been closing the gap. If Republicans were to pick up two or three more seats, that could amplify the voices of swing district Democrats.

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Investigating Attorney's General
4:55 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Washington’s Current And Former AGs Cited In NY Times Influence Investigation

Current and former Washington state attorneys general, Bob Ferguson (left) and Rob McKenna (right)
Credit Office of Attorney General / Northwest News Network

The current and former attorneys general of Washington state are among the subjects of a New York Times special report. The story in Times details how companies under investigation by state AGs try to influence those cases. It also reveals how former AGs gain special access as industry representatives.

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Washington Senate Race
6:25 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Washington Republicans Allege Vote Suppression Campaign

Democratic state senator Tim Sheldon.
Credit Washington Legislature

Republicans say an out-of-state Democratic group is trying to suppress the GOP vote in a hotly contested Washington state Senate race. The state Republican Party filed a formal election complaint against a group called American Values First.

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