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 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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Gubenatorial Debates
3:56 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Wash. Gubernatorial Race: The Debate Over Debates Continues

Democrat Jay Inslee (left) and Republican Rob McKenna are wrangling over debates in the Washington governor's race.
Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The debate over debates continues in the Washington governor’s race. Republican Rob McKenna announced Monday that he will commit to 15 joint appearances with Democrat Jay Inslee. Meanwhile, Inslee made it official: he will not participate in one debate that’s become a tradition in Washington.

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Bales Murder Pre-trial
3:33 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Pre-Trial Hearing Next For Sgt. Bales

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales of Joint base Lewis-McChord is awaiting hid Article 32 hearing.
Phot credit: Ryan Hallock U.S. ARMY

Seventeen counts of murder. Six counts of assault and attempted murder. Those are the charges filed Friday against 38 year old Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. He’s the Washington-based soldier accused of killing 9 Afghan children and 8 adults in a massacre earlier this month. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. Correspondent Austin Jenkins explains the next step is an Article 32 hearing.

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Bales Murder case
2:35 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

SSG Bales Charged With Murder, Attempted Murder

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales stands charged with murdering Afghan civilians.
Photo via High Desert Warrior

Major Christopher Ophardt at Lewis-McChord says it’s unclear at this point whether the pretrial hearing will happen in Washington or at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. That’s where Bales is currently being held. Ophardt acknowledged prosecutors at Lewis-McChord recently sent four Washington based soldiers to prison for killing Afghan civilians in 2010.

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Washington ATM Fees
5:16 am
Fri March 23, 2012

ATM Fee For Wash. Welfare Recipients Could Be A Thing Of The Past

Washington state is working on a deal with JPMorgan Chase that could eliminate an ATM fee for welfare clients.
Photo by Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The 85-cent ATM fee that JPMorgan Chase charges Washington welfare clients could soon be a thing of the past. The state hopes to have a deal by the end of the month with JPMorgan on a new, lower cost contract for electronic benefits. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has this update.

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Pharmaceutical Policies
5:43 am
Thu March 22, 2012

OHSU To Review Doctor-Pharmaceutical Company Payment Policies

PORTLAND -- Last fall we brought you a story about doctors at Northwest medical schools who get paid to speak on behalf of pharmaceutical companies. Thursday, a task force will convene at Oregon Health and Science University. It will review the medical school’s policy on paid speaking gigs and other industry interactions. Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

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