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
3:47 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Education Spending In Focus As Washington Legislature Nears Halfway Mark

The House Chamber inside the Washington State Capitol in Olympia.
Cacophony Wikimedia

Washington lawmakers are approaching the halfway mark of their 105-day session. Hot issues include marijuana, mental health, oil trains and cap-and-trade.

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NPR Story
4:01 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Controversial School Reforms Could Complicate Funding Debate In Washington State

Cacophony Wikimedia

Washington lawmakers are in contempt of court over school funding. But it’s a couple of non-funding issues that could create a partisan rift.

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NPR Story
4:43 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Bills In Washington Legislature Hit First Do-Or-Die Deadline

Colin Fogarty Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 8:20 am

Washington state lawmakers are more than a third of the way through their 105-day legislative session.

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NPR Story
6:50 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Washington Lawmakers Consider ‘Party Bus’ Safety

Washington lawmakers are considering whether to beef up oversight of the “party bus” industry. At a public hearing Monday, the head of the state agency that regulates in-state bus lines said it’s a matter of safety.

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NPR Story
7:16 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Oregon First Lady Had Dealings With Washington Officials

Cylvia Hayes
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 10:01 am

Cylvia Hayes attended meetings with Washington state officials in her capacity as First Lady of Oregon.

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NPR Story
3:06 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Local Flower Shops Push For Expanded ‘Truth In Location’ Law

Rosa y Dani Flickr

If you ordered flowers for Valentine’s Day, do you know where the company that took your order is located? A proposal in the Washington legislature would beef up an existing law that prohibits florists from misrepresenting their location.

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NPR Story
4:55 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Washington Senators Propose 11.7 Cent Gas Tax Increase For Roads

Senate Transportation Chair Curtis King and a bipartisan group of senators introduce a proposed 11.7 cent gas tax increase to help fund a $15 billion transportation package
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 5:31 pm

A bipartisan group of Washington state senators is backing an 11.7 cent gas tax increase over three years.

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NPR Story
3:24 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

One Way To Reduce Foster Runaways: Have Fewer Foster Teens

Washington is under court order to improve its foster system.
s_falcow/Flickr

Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services now has a team of social workers whose sole job is to find foster youth who run away.

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NPR Story
9:50 am
Thu February 12, 2015

The ‘Locator’: Tracking Foster Runaways In Washington

Mike Stamp is one of six Washington DSHS social workers assigned to locate foster youth who run away
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Washington is under court order to keep foster youth from running away. So the state now has a team of “locators”--social workers whose job it is to find runaways and bring them back.

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NPR Story
3:50 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Wash. State Senators Receive Higher Per Diem After Blasting 2014 Hike

The Washington Capitol in Olympia.
File photo by Colin Fogarty Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 5:37 pm

Three Washington state senators received a boost in their per diem last month, despite previously saying they wouldn’t take a raise in their daily allowance.

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