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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Wash. Gubernatorial Debate
4:53 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Wash. Governor Candidates To Meet For Third Debate

Rob McKenna (L) and Jay Inslee will square off in Yakima on Tuesday night for their third official debate.
KATU

The candidates for Washington governor will square off in Yakima Tuesday night for their third official debate. Polls give Democrat Jay Inslee a slight lead over Republican Rob McKenna.

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Hanford Timesheet Fraud
4:36 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Justice Department Intervenes In Hanford Timesheet Fraud Case

A time card fraud case at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has caught the attention of the U.S. Justice Department.
Hanford.gov

The U.S. Justice Department will intervene in a timesheet fraud case at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The case began in 2009 as a whistleblower complaint against Hanford contractor CH2M Hill. Since then, eight former workers have pleaded guilty to falsifying their time cards.

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Abuse Claim Against Senator Dropped
4:17 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Wash. Senate Lawyer Settles Verbal Abuse Claim Against Sen. Pam Roach

State Senator Pam Roach
WSDOT Flickr

A staff attorney for Washington state Senate Republicans has agreed to drop his $1.75 million hostile workplace claim, and will receive no damages. The agreement announced Friday follows allegations that Senate leaders failed to protect the lawyer from verbal abuse by Sen. Pam Roach.

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Racially Polarized Voting?
4:29 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Was Racially Polarized Voting On Display In Wash. Primary?

Washington Supreme Court Justice Steve Gonzalez
Washington Courts

There’s more evidence that a Hispanic last name on the ballot can hurt a candidate’s chances. A statistical analysis released Wednesday reveals patterns of racially polarized voting in a Supreme Court race on Washington’s August primary.

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Tax Hike Initative
6:11 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Tim Eyman Initiative Once Again Before Washington High Court

Initiative promoter Tim Eyman on the steps of the Washington Supreme Court after oral arguments in a lawsuit to overturn his supermajority requirement for tax hikes.
Photo by Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

The Washington Supreme Court could decide by the end of this year whether a voter-approved two-thirds requirement for tax hikes is constitutional. But first, the justices must determine who has the right to challenge the law. That technical question was the focus of oral arguments Tuesday. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has details.

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Washington's Supermajority Requirement
4:49 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Wash. Supreme Court Hears Arguments On Two-Thirds For Taxes

The state Supreme Court heard arguments on a challenge to Washington's supermajority requirement for tax hikes.
Washington State Courts website

The fate of Washington’s two-thirds requirement for tax hikes is now in the hands of the state Supreme Court. The justices Tuesday heard oral arguments in a constitutional challenge to the supermajority threshold.

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Slain Lakewood Police Officers
4:14 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Families Of Slain Lakewood Officers Settle With DOC For $12.5M

The Lakewood Police Department Fallen Officer Memorial, which honors the victims of the November 29, 2009 Lakewood police officer shooting.
Marques Hunter Wikipedia

The Washington Department of Corrections will pay $12.5 million to the families of three of the four Lakewood police officers killed by parolee Maurice Clemmons. The settlement announced Friday comes nearly three years after the Thanksgiving weekend shooting at a coffee shop.

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Central Wash. Wildfires
4:13 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Central Wash. Fires Grow, Smoke Still A Major Problem

The Wenatchee Complex Information Officer discusses fire behavior and strategies while a smoke column from the Poison Canyon Fire is visible in the background.
Vladimir Steblina USDA Forest Service

The wildfire situation in central Washington continues to worsen. A complex of lightning-sparked fires north of Ellensburg has grown to more than 30,000 acres. Mandatory evacuations are in place near Liberty, Wash., along Highway 97.

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Executive Privilege In Wash.
4:06 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Wash. Supreme Court Ponders Executive Privilege

The Washington Supreme Court is hearing a test case of executive privilege.
Cacophony Wikipedia

Does the governor of Washington have the right to keep certain internal documents secret from the public? That question is at the heart of a case heard Thursday in the Washington Supreme Court.

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Wash. Revenue Forecast
6:22 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Normally Bipartisan Wash. Revenue Forecast Sees Partisan Flare-Up

Dino Rossi has been appointed to finish out a vacancy in the Washington Senate.
Northwest News Network

Election year tensions erupted at Washington’s latest quarterly revenue forecast. At the center of the partisan flare-up Wednesday was former Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi. He’s been appointed to finish out a vacancy in the Washington senate.

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