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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 | Politics | local

Back At Capitol, Rep. Matt Shea Defiant In Face Of Allegations, Sanctions

Accused in a House investigation of participating in an act of domestic terrorism, Washington state Rep. Matt Shea of Spokane Valley defiantly returned to the Capitol on Monday.

News | Politics | local

Guns, Homelessness And Possible Expulsion Vote Loom As Washington Legislature Convenes

As Washington lawmakers convene a short, election year session on Monday, they'll confront a range of issues from homelessness to gun control to whether to expel state Rep. Matt Shea.

News | local

Secrecy Surrounds The Death Of A Spokane Woman With Developmental Disabilities

The death of a woman with developmental disabilities in Spokane, Washington, highlights an under-the-radar crisis that’s brewing in Washington’s community-based system of care.

News | Health | local

'A Black Box:' It's Not Always Easy Getting Answers When Someone Dies In Jail

When someone dies in a county jail in Washington or Oregon, it’s up to the jail director, the sheriff or other county officials to decide how an in-custody death should be investigated.

News | Politics | local | Nation

15 Details You May Have Missed From Deep Inside The Rep. Matt Shea Report

The recently released 108-page investigation detailing Washington state Rep. Matt Shea's connections to militia groups and extremist activities has prompted his own caucus to exile him and the House Republican leader to call for Shea’s resignation.

News | local | Nation

Investigation Finds Washington Republican Helped Plan Malheur Takeover

Washington Rep. Matt Shea helped plan the 2016 takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon – one of several actions that investigators said constitute "domestic terrorism."

News | Politics | local

Washington Supreme Court Rules State Lawmakers Are Subject To Public Disclosure Law

The high court also upheld a lower court’s finding that the House and Senate, as legislative bodies, are not state agencies and therefore are bound by a narrower public disclosure mandate.

News | Health | local

Criminal Investigation Underway After Developmentally Disabled Woman Dies From Vinegar Treatment

The Medicaid fraud division of the Washington Attorney General’s office is conducting a criminal investigation into the death of a developmentally disabled woman who died last February in Spokane after her caregiver allegedly gave her household cleaning vinegar instead of colonoscopy prep medication.

News | local

Inslee Appoints First Native American To Washington Supreme Court

In a barrier-breaking appointment, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has selected a Whatcom County judge to serve as the first known Native American justice on the state Supreme Court since its founding in 1889.

News | Health | Politics | local

People Arm Themselves As Tensions Rise Over Homeless RVs At Washington's Capitol

The Washington Capitol now finds itself grappling with an issue that’s been front and center in Seattle, Portland and many other West Coast cities — people who are homeless living in dilapidated recreational vehicles parked on public streets.

News | Family | Health | local

1 Advocate's Advice To Washington Families Of Developmentally Disabled: 'Move To Oregon'

As families of people with developmental disabilities in Washington struggle to get access to state-paid services, there's a renewed push to link funding increases to growth in population.

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.

Education | News | Business | Election | Politics | local

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.