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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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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PTSD
5:01 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Army Secretary: Nationwide Inquiry Underway After Madigan PTSD Scandal

US Senator Patty Murray
US Senate

A scandal over PTSD diagnoses at Madigan Army Hospital has triggered an Army-wide Inspector General investigation. That’s according to the Secretary of the Army, John McHugh.

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Accused Washington Soldier
5:27 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Seattle Defense Attorneys To Meet With Bales In Kansas

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales
Photo source: High Desert Warrior

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kansas -- The man accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians has had a brief phone conversation with his wife and two children. But efforts are underway to arrange a face-to-face meeting. That’s according to one of the attorneys for Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports Bales’ defense team will spend the next two days interviewing him at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

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Soldier Named
5:59 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Afghanistan Massacre Suspect Named

On right Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.
Phot credit: High Desert Warrior Northwest News Network

NPR has confirmed the name of the Washington- based soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians. He is 38-year old Robert Bales of Lake Tapps, Washington .

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Soldier Get Attorney
4:52 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Suspect In Afghanistan Massacre Retains Seattle Attorney

We still don’t know the name of the Washington-based Army soldier accused of murdering 16 Afghan civilians last weekend. But we now know the name of his civilian attorney. John Henry Browne is a high-profile Seattle lawyer who most recently defended the serial burglar known as the “Barefoot Bandit.”

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Wash. Budget
3:39 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Wash. Governor Refuses To Sign Bills, “Mad” Over Pace Of Budget Talks

State Sen. Rodney Tom, one of three break-away Democrats, speaks about a new budget proposal from the Senate’s “philosophical majority
Photo credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Nearly a week into Washington’s special session and there’s no sign of a budget deal. Now, an angry Governor Chris Gregoire is refusing to sign dozens of bills in protest over the pace of negotiations.

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Lewis-Mchord
5:15 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

Lewis-McChord Lt. Col. Charged With Threatening To Kill Wife, Girlfriend, Boss

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A Lieutenant Colonel from Joint Base Lewis-McChord has been charged with threatening to kill his girlfriend, his estranged wife and his Army boss. The allegations come just days after another Lewis-McChord soldier was accused of a murderous attack on Afghan civilians.

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