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Olympia Correspondent, Northwest News Network

Austin Jenkins

Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network.

Since 2004, Austin has covered Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington state Legislature. He also host of TVW's Emmy-nominated public affairs program, Inside Olympia. Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise.

Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.


Austin is a graduate of Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut.

Contact Austin Jenkins

Recent Articles

News | Health | local

Washington State Agrees To Settlement With Family Of Inmate Who Died By Suicide

The state of Washington has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a 29-year-old man who died by suicide in an isolation cell at the Airway Heights Corrections Center near Spokane in May 2014.

News | Election | Politics | local

Washington Voters Narrowly Reject Effort To Bring Back Affirmative Action

The Associated Press declared Referendum 88 rejected late Tuesday afternoon, one week after Election Day. Soon after, the pro-affirmative action Washington Fairness Coalition sent out a concession statement.

News | Health | local

Nursing Home Closures In Washington Prompt Proposals To Raise Medicaid Rates

In response to a rash of nursing home closures in Washington, a Republican state senator is calling for an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates and other steps to stave off additional closures.

News | Politics | local

African American Captain's Abrupt Resignation Highlights Lack Of Diversity In Washington State Patrol

The highest-ranking African American woman in the Washington State Patrol cited a lack of diversity in the state patrol and her feeling that she was not afforded the same opportunities as her male colleagues as reasons for her resignation.

News | Health | local

Aging Northwest Jails Endanger Lives, But Replacing Them Is Costly And Controversial

For some, the condition of jails in Oregon and Washington has reached a crisis point. But building new jails is costly and, often, controversial.

News | Election | Politics | local

Tarra Simmons Looks To Become 1st Former Inmate Elected To Washington Legislature

A Washington attorney and criminal justice reform advocate who previously served time in prison is seeking to become the first formerly incarcerated person elected to the Washington Legislature.

News | Election | Politics | local | Business | Education

After More Than 20 Years, Affirmative Action Returns To Washington's Ballot

In 1998, Washington voters overwhelmingly approved Initiative 200, which effectively ended affirmative action in the state. Now, 21 years later, voters this November will once again have a chance to weigh in on the issue once again.

News | Politics | local

Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Battling Cancer Will Retire

Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst, who has been fighting a third bout of cancer, says she’ll be retiring from the court in January to focus on her health.

News | Health | local

Are Developmental Disability Services A Constitutional Right In Washington?

A pair of legal experts say an ‘overlooked’ provision in Washington’s constitution could be grounds for a lawsuit on behalf of people with developmental disabilities who aren’t getting state services.

News | Health | local

Many Developmentally Disabled Washingtonians Are Denied Services Due To Lack Of Funding

The state of Washington has more than 13,000 developmentally disabled people on its “No Paid Services Caseload.” About half of them are children.

News | Health | local

He Was Institutionalized At Age 12. Now He's Moving Out — 55 Years Later

Gregory Paul turns 67 next week. For the first time since he was institutionalized at age 12, he will celebrate his birthday in his own home.

News | Politics | local

Campaign To Reinstate Affirmative Action In Washington Sued For Not Paying Signature Gatherers

According to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission, the group behind reinstating affirmative action in the state still has $1.3 million in outstanding debt.

News | Health | local

Patients With Developmental Disabilities Stuck In Washington Psychiatric Hospitals

In Washington, people with developmental disabilities are stuck in hospitals with no where to go, revealing an ongoing crisis in developmental disabilities services in the state.


Contempt Orders, Fines Mount As Developmentally Disabled Patients Languish In Washington Hospitals

In recent months, court commissioners on both sides of the Cascades have found the state of Washington in contempt, and even imposed fines, over access to state psychiatric care for people with severe developmental disabilities.

News | Politics | Health | local

Families, Advocates Sound Alarm Over Patients Stuck In Washington Hospitals

Hundreds of patients — most on Medicaid, Medicare or both — are stuck in Washington hospitals because of a lack of community-based options. There are no immediate fixes and a long-term solution could be years off.

News | Election | Politics | local

Jay Inslee To Seek 3rd Term As Washington Governor

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced his bid for a third term as governor in an email to supporters, saying that while it was an honor to run for president, he wants to continue his work leading the state.

News | Health | local

Washington Cancels 2 More Contracts With Troubled In-home Care Provider

The state of Washington is canceling two more contracts with a troubled provider of in-home care to people with developmental disabilities in Spokane County.

News | Health | local

Troubles Resurface For Washington In-home Care Provider After Client Death

Washington's Department of Social and Health Services shut down a major in-home care provider for developmentally disabled adults in 2018. Now, the cycle is repeating itself.

News | local

In-state Beds Lacking As Washington Brings Home Foster Children

A year ago, Washington state had 82 hard-to-place foster youths, mostly teenagers, living in facilities in states as far away as South Carolina,...

News | Business | Politics | Nation | local

Washington Gambling Commission Tells NRA Foundation 'No' For Now On Raising Gun Raffle Limit

The Washington State Gambling Commission cited ongoing investigations of the NRA’s nonprofit status and finances in New York and Washington, D.C.