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. Budget
6:01 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Wash. House Dems Unveil New Budget, Republicans Pan It

Washington House to vote on new budget Thursday.
Washington State

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington House Democrats have a new plan to rebalance the state budget and go home. The proposed spending blueprint unveiled Wednesday abandons a controversial delayed payment to school districts. But it would also leave less cash-on-hand in case of an emergency. Majority Leader Pat Sullivan says the House hopes to use the budget to kick start stalled negotiations.

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Senate Workplace Claim
4:11 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Republican Take-Over Of Wash. Senate Results In $1.75M Workplace Claim

State Senator Pam Roach.
Photo credit: WSDOT/Flickr" Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A Republican takeover of the Washington state senate last month could prove costly. A longtime lawyer for the Senate Republican caucus is now demanding $1.75 million in damages. He says to muster enough votes to control the senate, Republicans lifted sanctions against a senator who created a hostile work environment.

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Washington State Budget
5:16 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Wash. Special Session: No Budget Deal, House Plans Action Anyway

Washington State Capitol in Olympia, Wash.
Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire’s deadline for a bipartisan budget deal has come and gone. Lawmakers Tuesday failed to agree on a plan to rebalance the state budget and implement so called government reforms.

Now, House Democrats say they will pass their own budget in hopes of breaking the logjam.

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Wash. Budget
5:45 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

McKenna Enters Budget Fray, Attacks Speaker Of The House

Republican Candidate For Governor Rob McKenna With Supporters At A Budget Press Conference During Which He Attacked Speaker Of The House Frank Chopp
Photo credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Republican candidate for governor Rob McKenna is injecting himself into the ongoing turmoil over how to rebalance the state budget. At a news conference , McKenna went after Democratic Speaker of the House Frank Chopp.

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2nd Stryker Brigade Deploys
5:06 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Emotional Send-Off As 4,000 Northwest Soldiers Deploy To Afghanistan

Members of the 2nd Stryker Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord prepare to "case" their flags in preparation for a nine month deployment to Afghanistan.
Photo credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Nearly 4,000 Northwest-based soldiers are about to deploy for nine months to Afghanistan. The Army’s 2nd Stryker Brigade received a formal send off Friday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma. The departure comes amid continuing fallout from the case of suspected Afghan shooter Sgt. Robert Bales.

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Wash. Budget Negotiations
3:49 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Gregoire Says Next 48 Hours Critical For Wash. Budget Negotiations

Governor Chris Greoire must sign or veto nearly 180 bills by midnight Saturday.
Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire says the next 48 hours are critical to reaching a deal to rebalance the state budget. The Democrat resumed signing legislation into law Thursday after holding dozens of bills hostage.

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Buggy Spring
5:53 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Warm Winter Means Buggy Spring In Southern Idaho

The warm winter in southern Idaho and Montana means residents could see plenty of box elders this spring.
Photo credit: Normanack Flickr

Here come the bugs. It was a warm winter in the southern half of Idaho, in Montana and points east. That means insects are emerging earlier and will have longer breeding seasons.

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Gubenatorial Debates
4:55 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Inslee Reverses Course, Argees To AWB Debate

Democratic candidate for Washington governor Jay Inslee has reversed course and now says he will participate in a June debate sponsored by the Association of Washington Business, the state's chamber of commerce. Public Radio Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins will moderate the event.

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Wash State Patrol Radio Upgrades
5:59 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Static In Olympia Over Wash. State Patrol Radio Upgrade

Bob Schwent of the Washington State Patrol with a new $6,800 Motorola portable radio that troopers will soon carry.
Photo credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Just like the rest of us, police officers use cell phones and smart phones. But in an emergency, they still rely on old-fashioned two-way radios to communicate. In Washington, the State Patrol is about to upgrade that radio system to meet new federal standards. The $26 million contract went to Motorola with no opportunity for other companies to bid. Now the project is under fierce criticism from a tech-savvy Washington state lawmaker.

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Wash Sales Tax Deduction
4:34 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Wash. Governor Urges Congress To Renew Sales Tax Deduction

Washington residents may not be able to deduct sales tax from their federal income tax returns for 2012.
Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Unless Congress acts, 2011 will be the last year Washington residents were able to deduct sales tax from their federal income tax returns. Governor Chris Gregoire signed onto a letter Tuesday asking Congressional leaders to reauthorize the deduction for 2012.

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