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
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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NPR Story
9:07 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Washington Republicans Allege Vote Suppression Campaign

This mailer praising Tim Sheldon as a champion for women's reproductive rights started arriving in voter mailboxes last week.

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 10:56 am

Republicans say an out-of-state Democratic group is trying to suppress the GOP vote in a hotly contested Washington state Senate race.

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NPR Story
6:36 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Washington School Shooting Comes As Voters Decide Gun Measures

The shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School Friday comes as Washington voters are about to decide two competing gun-related ballot measures.

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NPR Story
5:33 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Family Of Alleged Shooter Described As Hunters, But Not Violent

We’re learning some details about the student who opened fire at Marysville-Pilchuck High School before turning the gun on himself.

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NPR Story
4:19 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

From Advertising To Nail Care, Washington Campaigns Spend Bucks

Political campaigns and committees in Washington have spent nearly $70 million so far this year. That includes statewide initiatives and legislative races.

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NPR Story
6:09 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Washington Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Backpage Case

Anti-human trafficking activists rally at the Washington Supreme Court before oral arguments in a case involving Backpage.com.

The fate of a human trafficking lawsuit against Backpage.com is now in the hands of the Washington Supreme Court.

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NPR Story
8:54 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Washington State Ethics Ruling Could Lower Bar For Foreign Trips

Washington state Senator Pam Roach appears on Azerbaijani television during a trip in May to strengthen relations between the U.S. and Azerbaijan.

A Washington lawmaker’s trip to the Middle East in 2013 was legitimate legislative travel -- not an illegal junket.

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NPR Story
5:57 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Some Lobbyists Play Key Role In Washington Campaign Finance

Former contract lobbyist Jim Boldt uses a sports analogy to explain why it's important for lobbyists and their clients to contribute to political campaigns. He says, 'What you're buying is a uniform.'

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 6:54 pm

Environmentalists, unions, trial lawyers and business interests may be among the top political spenders in Washington this election year, but there’s a group of influential players who don’t necessarily show up in the campaign finance reports.

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NPR Story
6:35 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Washington State's Exotic Investment Opens In Tahiti

The Washington State Investment Board is a majority owner of the company that owns a resort on a Tahitian island once owned by Marlon Brando.

A new luxury resort has opened on a Tahitian island once owned by Marlon Brando and it could soon start to pay a dividend to Washington state’s retired public employees.

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NPR Story
5:02 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Ebola Makes West Africa A No-Go Zone For Washington Investment Officers

Map of Ebola outbreak distribution. The director of the Washington State Investment Board says she will not authorize travel to West Africa.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa means Washington state investment officers won’t be traveling to that region anytime soon.

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NPR Story
4:38 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Washington Ethics Board Adopts 12 Meals-Per-Year Cap For Lawmakers

Starting in January, Washington lawmakers will be barred from accepting more than 12 lobbyist-paid meals per year.

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NPR Story
8:57 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Billionaire's PAC Moves $750K To Washington Conservation Voters

File photo of Tom Steyer

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 4:03 pm

California billionaire and climate activist Tom Steyer has contributed a significant amount of cash to an environmental political action committee in Washington.

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Policy
5:44 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Elway Poll: Washington Background Check Measure Retains Healthy Lead

According to the latest Elway Poll released Monday, a ballot measure to expand background checks for gun sales in Washington has lost some support, but still enjoys a healthy lead.

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NPR Story
6:12 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Washington Pays Record $9.75M To Settle Child Abuse Case

The state of Washington has agreed to pay a record amount to settle a case of child abuse and neglect.

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NPR Story
5:10 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Watch Your Mailbox For Ballots, Voters' Guides

File photo of Washington voters' guides from the 2012 election.

Election 2014 is just over three weeks away.

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Wildfires
5:32 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Inmate Crews Celebrated For Work On Summer Fires

Inmate firefighter Christopher Hindermann did two 14-day stints on the Carlton Complex Fire in north central Washington this summer.

This summer’s Carlton Complex wildfire was the largest in Washington history. Scores of firefighters battled the inferno in north Central Washington.

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NPR Story
9:23 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Political Action Committees Pop-Up In Election Years

Political Action Committees in Washington have spent more than $14 million so far this year. The top spenders are teachers, trial lawyers, SEIU and a business PAC called Enterprise Washington.

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NPR Story
3:16 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Inslee Announces Court Action In Hanford Clean-Up Fight

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 5:03 pm

The state of Washington is going back to federal court over clean-up at Hanford -- the nation’s largest nuclear waste site.

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NPR Story
8:47 am
Thu October 2, 2014

National Republican Group Puts Money Into Washington Legislative Races

The Republican State Leadership Committee, a national Republican group with a focus on “down ballot” races, is pumping money into Washington state.

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