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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Inmate Murder
4:26 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Apparent Murder Of Patient First At Western State In Almost 20 Years

A fight over unwanted sexual behavior may have led to the apparent murder of a patient at Washington’s Western State Hospital. Prosecutors have not yet filed charges in connection with the death last Friday.

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Washington Campaign Financing
4:26 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Role-Reversal: Now It's Wash. Lawmakers' Turn To Ask Lobbyists For Help

Nathan Gorton with Washington Realtors gets more than a dozen campaign finance solicitations a day this time of year.
Photo credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Lobbyists have been pounding down the doors of Washington state lawmakers for the last several months. But now that the legislature has adjourned, the roles have suddenly reversed. Just ask lobbyist Nick Federici who advocates for human services organizations.

Nick Federici: “It is a little bit ironic that in a week’s time they went from ‘oh my God I don’t want to talk to you ever again’ to ‘oh, by the way, could you send me a check?’”

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Washington Ethics Complaint
6:10 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Solar Guru In Washington Target Of Ethics Complaint

The “father” of Washington’s solar industry faces a state ethics complaint filed by Republican State Senator Jim Honeyford.
Photo credit: Wikimedia userPujanak Wikimedia Commons

A man some call the “father” of Washington’s solar industry faces a state ethics complaint. Former Washington State University employee Mike Nelson is accused of using his state position to help a solar company win an important state certification. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports Nelson then went to work for the company.

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Bank Tax
5:16 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

In Wash. A “Hollow” Victory For Tax Break Foes

For liberal activists in Washington, it has become the Holy Grail of tax breaks. We’re talking about a deduction banks can claim on some mortgages. Last week, the Washington legislature voted to end this tax exemption for large, out-of-state banks. But now some on the left are calling it a “hollow” victory.

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Wash. Budget Passed
4:04 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Wash. Lawmakers Blow Midnight Deadline, But Finish Their Work

State employee and local union president Thornton Alberg watches House floor action on the 30th day of the special session.
Photo credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – It was a dramatic night at the Washington state capitol as lawmakers missed a midnight deadline to rebalance the state budget. That forced Governor Chris Gregoire to declare yet another overtime session. Just a short while later lawmakers wrapped up their work and adjourned.

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Washington Budget
5:33 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Wash. Lawmakers Miss Midnight Deadline, Work Through Night

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington lawmakers missed a midnight deadline Tuesday night to rebalance the state budget. But they didn’t go home. Instead, Governor Chris Gregoire called yet another overtime session. At this hour, lawmakers are still voting on a final budget deal. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has the latest.

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Wash. Legislature Update
3:39 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Wash. Legislature: “Progress,” But No Deal As Midnight Deadline Looms

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Marathon negotiations over state spending continued Tuesday in Olympia. This is the last day of the 30 day overtime legislative session. Lawmakers are up against a midnight deadline to complete their unfinished business. Governor Chris Gregoire gave this short status update as she passed through the senate wings.

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Washington Budget Battle
6:00 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Wash. Gov: Progress, But No Deal As Final Day Of Special Session Arrives

OLYMPIA, Wash. – It’s the final day of Washington’s 30-day special session. But still no deal on a plan to rebalance the state budget and pass a series of government reform measures. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports closed door talks broke up late Monday night.

A weary Governor Chris Gregoire held a news conference just before midnight.

Gregoire: “We’ve made progress over 11 hours, but we’re not done and everybody’s still working.”’

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No Budget Yet
5:45 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Wash. Gov Tries To Negotiate Eleventh Hour Go-Home Deal

Still no Washington State budget during overtime session.
Photo credit: wikiuserJay8g Wikimedia commons

Tuesday to rebalance the state budget. That’s when the clock runs out on the 30-day overtime session. Legislative negotiators huddled behind closed doors for several hours Monday with the governor.

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Democrat Defectors
6:07 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

One Month Later, Democrats’ Defection Still A Raw Nerve

Wash. Democrats: Senators Tim Sheldon, Rodney Tom and Jim Kastama are taking heat from fellow Democrats.
Photo credit: Wikimedia user visitor7 Wikimedia Commons

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The three Washington Senate Democrats who broke from their caucus last month to vote with Republicans face renewed criticism from their fellow Democrats. At issue is whether to link a series of government reforms to a plan to rebalance the state budget.

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