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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Washington Home Builders
4:08 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Once Brash Washington Home Builders Now Behind The Scenes

Before the recession, the Building Industry Association of Washington had a reputation for not pulling any punches.
Steven Lee Flickr

The airwaves in Washington are chock-a-block with campaign ads. But one group’s missing from the fray despite its reputation for not pulling any punches. We’re talking about Washington home builders.

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Afghan Massacre Suspect
6:04 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

Accused Afghan Massacre Suspect Returns To JBLM

Sgt. Robet Bales is charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians earlier this year.
Maj. Brent Clemmer

The Army sergeant charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians earlier this year has arrived back in Washington. That confirmation came late Monday from an official at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

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Governor Candidates On Taxes
5:28 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

Wash. Governor Candidates Vow No New Taxes -- With Caveats

Republican candidate for governor Rob McKenna speaks at an NFIB endorsement event near Olympia.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Ballots are about to go out in Washington. In the race for governor, both candidates are pledging to veto tax hikes. But Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee also leave themselves some wiggle room.

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Referendum 74 Debate
6:31 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Checking The Facts Behind The Ads On Both Sides Of Wash. Same-Sex Marriage

Photo of two men holding hands.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Ballots go out in Washington and Oregon at the end of this week. Last minute money is pouring into the ballot fight over same-sex marriage in Washington. Those dollars are buying television ads on both sides of the issue. So what claims are the campaigns making?

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Washington Governor's Debate
5:49 am
Fri October 12, 2012

A Milder Debate As Wash. Governor Candidates Meet Again

As Election Day nears, the candidates for Washington governor appear to be getting mellower, not feistier. Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee met Thursday night in their fourth formal debate. Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports the face-off was void of many zingers.

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Wash. State Liquor Sales
4:46 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Reports Of Dramatic Drop In Sales At Former Wash. State Liquor Stores

Business is down dramatically at some former state-owned liquor stores in Washington.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Statewide liquor sales in Washington are up since privatization took effect in June. But business is down dramatically at some former state-owned liquor stores.

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Wash. Governor Race Issues
4:37 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Public Employee Pay Raises Become Issue In Wash. Governor’s Race

Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna squared off in Yakima on October 2.
KCTS 9 video

The issue of pay raises for public employees is quickly becoming an issue in Washington’s race for governor. There’s much to debate including: a cost of living increase for teachers, a dollar-an-hour pay hike for unionized homecare workers, and an end to a 3 percent pay cut for state workers.

At the last governor’s debate, Republican Rob McKenna attacked Democrat Jay Inslee’s record as a state lawmaker in the early 1990s.

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Washington Governor Race
6:18 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Washington's "Blue Tide" Creates Challenges For McKenna

Photo of Republican Rob McKenna.
Photo Credit: Washington State Attorney General's Office/Wiki Commons

As the presidential candidates prepare for Wednesday night’s debate, polls show President Obama averages a 15-point advantage in Washington over Republican rival Mitt Romney. Washington’s open race for governor is much closer. The two candidates in that contest met Tuesday night in Yakima for a fiery third debate. But the polls highlight a reality for Republican Rob McKenna: he’ll have to woo a good number of Obama voters if he’s to become Washington’s first G-O-P governor in nearly 30 years.

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Northwest Latinos
6:40 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Data Analysis: Most Northwest City Councils Have No Latinos

Sonia Rodriguez True lost her 2009 race for city council against a well known conservative talk radio host in Yakima.
Photo by Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Nearly nine out of 10 city councils across the Northwest have no Latino members. That estimate comes from a database we assembled of Hispanic officeholders in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. One of the cities with no Latino representations is located in one of the most heavily Hispanic parts of our region. We’re talking about the city of Yakima. The ACLU is suing over the issue. Correspondent Austin Jenkins has our latest story on why the region's largest minority group has so little clout in the political arena.

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Wash. Budget Shortfall
5:06 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Reality Check: New Wash. Governor Faces $1B Shortfall, $1B Education Bill

One of these two men will likely confront a $2 billion problem next January.
Campaign photos

Both candidates for Washington governor have pledged to drive more money into education – without raising taxes. But the state faces a $1 billion shortfall in the next two year budget cycle. Plus, a recent Supreme Court ruling requires the state to come up with another $1 billion for schools.

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