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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

local | News

Washington Settles Lawsuit Over Lockdown For Inmates With Mental Illness

Washington's Department of Corrections has agreed to improve conditions for inmates with mental illness at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.

Election | Politics | local | News

Washington Elections Officials Say New Registration System 'Not Ready'

County election officials in Washington are warning that a new statewide voter registration database system is not ready for the state's Aug. 6 primary and could result in incorrect ballots.

Business | Health | Politics | local | News

Nursing Home Closures In Washington Send Families Scrambling As Industry Sounds Alarm

A wave of nursing home closures in Washington is forcing patients and their families to scramble to find new facilities. Industry officials have warned lawmakers that closures will continue without emergency funding.

Nation | local | News

NW National Guard Troops Preparing In Washington Desert For 2021 Deployment

This month, more than 3,000 Army National Guard soldiers from Washington, Oregon and California have taken up temporary residence at the Yakima Training Center. Their mission? Prepare for a 2021 deployment.

Politics | local | News

Commission Urges Major Changes To Washington Sentencing Laws

Critics say Washington's "fixed" sentencing system has evolved into a complex thicket that ties the hands of judges.

Health | NW Life | local | News

Suicides In Northwest Jails Highlight Risk For Native American Inmates

Native Americans are disproportionately more likely to be in Northwest jails. As a result, they are also more likely to die in jail.

Health | local | News

Washington Jail Practices Put At-Risk Inmates In More Danger, Not Less

A new report outlines how Washington jails fail to "treat all people humanely, respectfully, and safely."

Business | Health | Politics | local | News

Will Washington's New 'Public Option' Plan Reduce Heath Care Costs?

This week Washington passed a law to create a new kind of public health insurance. It could inspire other states to try so-called "public option" plans. But how well will it work to bring costs down?

Health | Politics | Environment | local | Energy | News | Economy | Education

What Washington Lawmakers Passed — And Didn't — In 2019

Washington lawmakers just wrapped up an action-packed, 105-day session with the passage of the first state budget to exceed $50 billion and a bundle of tax hikes to fund it.

Economy | local | News | Politics | Education

Wash. Lawmakers End Session With Passage Of Budget, Reinstatement Of Affirmative Action

In something of a surprise vote, lawmakers Sunday night approved Initiative 1000 to once again allow affirmative action in Washington. Then they adjourned the 2019 legislative session.

Health | Politics | local | News

New Washington Law Aims To Eliminate State's Untested Rape Kit Backlog

Currently, there are more than 10,000 untested sexual assault kits in Washington, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Politics | local | News

All 3 Living Former Washington Governors Want Affirmative Action Back

At a joint House-Senate hearing in Olympia, the three governors called on state lawmakers to pass I-1000, an initiative to the Legislature that seeks to replace I-200, a voter-approved ban on affirmative action passed in 1998.


His Son Died In Jail. Seeking Change, He Found An Ally In The Man Who Now Runs It.

In 2015, 25-year-old Keaton Farris died naked, dehydrated and malnourished in a Whidbey Island jail cell. His grieving father went looking for answers and forged a surprising bond with the jail's new chief.

Health | local | News

Booked And Buried: Northwest Jails' Mounting Death Toll

Incomplete data tracking hides a crisis of rising death rates in overburdened Northwest jails that have been set up to fail the inmates they are tasked with keeping safe.

Health | local | News

Western State Hospital Cited, Fined For Failing To Protect Assaulted Nurses

Washington's largest state-run psychiatric hospital has been cited and fined for failing to protect workers from assaults by patients.

Election | News | local | Politics | Nation

Washington Gov. Inslee's Security Unit Balloons As He Campaigns For President

To keep up with Gov. Jay Inslee as he campaigns around the country for president, the Washington State Patrol is preparing to nearly double the size and more than double the budget of the specialty unit that protects him.

Election | local | News

Washington Man Says Inslee Blocked Him From Campaign Facebook Page

A Tri-Cities man who has been a frequent online critic of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he was blocked this month from commenting on Inslee's campaign Facebook page.

Nation | Politics | local

Washington State Bumps Presidential Primary Vote To March

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination, signed legislation Thursday to bump the state's presidential primary from late May to early March.

Nation | Politics | local | News

Washington Gov. Inslee Visits New Hampshire As He Weighs Presidential Bid

The Democrat's trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state comes as he says he's "seriously considering" a run for president in 2020.

Politics | local | News

Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee Calls For Action On Climate Change, Mental Health, Orcas

Warning that Washington state is at a "tipping point," Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday delivered a State of the State address that called on lawmakers to address carbon pollution, "transform" the mental health system and save Puget Sound orcas.