Austin Jenkins

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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NPR Story
6:11 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Washington Legislative Caucuses Race Freeze On Fundraising

Invitations to legislative caucus fundraisers in Olympia before the December 13 campaign freeze takes effect.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

The election is over, but not the political fundraising. Washington state lawmakers are racing the clock to replenish their coffers before the freeze.

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NPR Story
4:24 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

WSU President Hopes To Present 'Unified Front' On Medical School

An existing building on the WSU Spokane campus would be used for the proposed medical school.
Washington State University

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 12:32 pm

This January, Washington State University plans to ask lawmakers for permission to open a medical school in Spokane.

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NPR Story
5:35 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Squeezing Toothpaste Becomes Analogy For Washington Budget

Justin Henry Flickr

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 8:22 am

To raise taxes, or not raises taxes? That is the question. Washington Democrats have been hinting at yes. Republicans like Senate budget chair Andy Hill say it’s a last resort.

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NPR Story
5:24 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Washington's Lobbying Corps Populated By Former Lawmakers, Staffers

Lobbyist Bill Stauffacher once worked for Washington House Democrats. He believes a required cooling off period between state service and becoming a lobbyist would push the 'revolving door' underground.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 7:06 pm

In Washington, D.C., there’s a waiting period before members of Congress and their staffers can work as lobbyists.

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NPR Story
4:35 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Washington Class Size Measure Puts $2B Dent in State Budget

Colin Fogarty Northwest News Network

Washington’s budget outlook is suddenly $2 billion in the red largely because of a class size reduction measure just approved by the voters.

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NPR Story
4:51 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Oil Interests Fund 'Astroturf' Groups In Washington, Oregon

This PowerPoint slide shows the campaigns and coalitions that the Western States Petroleum Association has 'activated' to combat what it calls 'aggressive anti-oil initiatives in the West.'

Astroturfing is when interest groups run a campaign that’s designed to look like it’s grassroots in nature.

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NPR Story
3:56 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Washington State Patrol Cites Truck Driver In Skagit Bridge Collapse

A water level view of the accident scene following the collapse of the bridge spanning the Skagit River.

The Washington State Patrol has ticketed the driver of an oversize load that collapsed the Skagit River Bridge in May of 2013.

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NPR Story
6:14 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Washington State Turns 125 Years Old

A new generation of time capsule keepers were sworn in at a celebration Tuesday at the Washington state capitol

Washington state is 125 years old. There was a celebration Tuesday at the state capitol. It featured an historic reenactment, a time capsule ceremony and, of course, cake.

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NPR Story
5:19 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Washington Voter Turnout Appears At 36-Year Low

Voter turnout in Washington state for last week's election appears to be at a 36-year low.

Voter turnout in Washington state was not just low this year -- it could be a 36-year low.

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NPR Story
1:32 am
Sun November 9, 2014

Bae Released, Thanks Public 'For Not Forgetting Me'

Kenneth Bae of Lynnwood, Wash., with his family, addresses reporters minutes after landing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle Nov. 8, 2014. The Obama administration secured the release of Bae and another American from North Korean prison sentences.

Originally published on Sun November 9, 2014 2:44 am

Kenneth Bae of Lynnwood, Wash., was free for the first time since 2012 when he landed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle Saturday night.

“It’s been an amazing two years,” he told reporters.

In 2012, Bae was sentenced in Pyongyang to 15 years hard labor, convicted of a Christian conspiracy to overthrow the North Korean government. Attempts by the Obama administration to secure his release were unsuccessful until last week.

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NPR Story
5:40 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Washington Budget Committee Chair 'Doesn't Know How To Pay For' Class Size Measure

File photo of the Washington State Capitol in Olympia

Washington voters are narrowly passing a class-size measure that comes with a multi-billion dollar price tag.

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NPR Story
3:48 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Democrats Could Lose Firm Grip On Washington House

File photo of the Washington state House Chamber

Democrats have held control of the Washington state House of Representatives for more than a decade. But after Tuesday night’s election that grip could be much less firm.

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Policy
11:55 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Washington Voters Approve Expanded Gun Background Checks

Washington voters have overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to expand background checks for person-to-person gun sales and transfers.

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NPR Story
11:22 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

GOP On Track To Hold Washington Senate, Pick-Up House Seats

File photo of the Washington Senate chamber

Washington Democrats appear to have failed in their bid to retake control of the state Senate. Republicans were also poised to pick up seats in the Democratically-controlled Washington House.

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NPR Story
5:27 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

How Ballot Counting Works In Washington State

The campaigns are winding down and the ballot counting is about to begin. But in Washington state, we may not know the results of close races until later this week.

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NPR Story
4:24 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Psychology At Work In Get-Out-The-Vote Political Mailers

We know dogs love to get praise, but don’t like to be shamed. Turns out, voters are kind of similar. That’s why get-out-the-vote efforts these days often include a bit of psychology.

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NPR Story
9:21 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Last Minute Tips For Voting In Election 2014

It’s election week. Northwest election officials project 60 percent of registered voters are likely to cast a ballot this mid-term election.

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NPR Story
5:25 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

'Surplussing' Offers Legal Funnel For Campaign Contributions

Washington state Representatives Sam Hunt (left) and Cary Condotta

Washington state has strict campaign contribution limits. But candidates and political donors are experts at finding ways around those caps.

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NPR Story
4:38 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Washington House Could Be Sleeper Election Of 2014

The battle for control of the Washington state Senate is getting a lot of attention. But all Washington House members are also up for re-election this year.

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NPR Story
4:52 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Current And Former Washington AGs Exposed In NY Times Influence Investigation

Current and former Washington state attorneys general, Bob Ferguson (left) and Rob McKenna (right)

The current and former attorneys general of Washington state are among the subjects of a New York Times special report. The story in Wednesday’s Times details how companies under investigation by state AGs try to influence those cases.

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