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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 | Politics

For The First Time Since 1928, No Washington Statewide Initiatives In Presidential Election Year

For the first time since Herbert Hoover won the presidency nearly a century ago, Washington won't have a statewide initiative before voters on the November ballot in a presidential election year.

local | News

Despite Opposition From Some Washington Lawmakers, Financial Disclosures Go Back Online

Over the objection of a number of Washington state senators, financial disclosure information will go back online Friday after a one month “pause” to consider cybersecurity concerns.

local | News | Health

'Don't Be A Sheep': A SW Washington Sheriff's Response To Governor's Mask Order

Across Washington state, sheriffs are pushing back on Gov. Jay Inslee's order to wear masks and saying it’s not something they will actively enforce. One sheriff even called the governor an “idiot” while another said “don’t be a sheep.” 

local | News | Health

As COVID-19 Heats Up In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee Announces Statewide Mask Requirement

Following the lead of other states like California, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has announced a statewide requirement that people wear face coverings that's effective June 26. This applies even in outdoor situations with some exceptions.  


Why Is COVID-19's Death Toll So High For People With Developmental Disabilities?

Early data from Washington state finds that people with developmental disabilities who contract COVID-19 are three times more likely to die than other people who contract the coronavirus. It’s a similar story in other states, including Oregon. 

local | Business | Economy

Inslee Orders Furloughs As Forecast Shows $9 Billion Drop In Washington's Revenues

In a move not seen since the Great Recession, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday canceled pay raises for some state employees and ordered furloughs for many more through at least this fall.

local | News | Nation | Politics

Trump Ramps Up Attacks Against Washington's Governor, Seattle's Mayor Over CHOP

Stepping up an attack he began on Twitter last week, President Trump on Monday spent more than four minutes at a White House meeting inveighing against Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and the six-block protest area on Capitol Hill now known as CHOP.


Washington Democrats Ponder Tax Increases In Face Of Bleak Budget Outlook

As Washington state grapples with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers are bracing for a bleak revenue forecast on June 17.

local | News | History

Nearly Century-Old Historic Marker Stolen From Washington Capitol Campus

A nearly 100-year-old historical marker has been mysteriously stolen from the Washington Capitol campus.

local | News

Wash. Campaign Finance Watchdog Blocks Some Online Access In Wake Of Unemployment Fraud

Under pressure from Democratic lawmakers, Washington’s campaign finance watchdog has temporarily blocked online access to candidate and elected official financial disclosure forms. The move comes in wake of widespread unemployment insurance fraud. 

local | News | Politics

Washington State Republicans Call For Special Legislative Session

Republican leaders in the Washington Legislature on Thursday called for a special session of the Legislature to begin in June.

local | News | Politics | Economy

Special Session Of The Washington Legislature In June? Don't Bet On It, But Don't Rule It Out

As Washington Gov. Jay Inslee exerts his emergency powers to battle COVID-19, behind the scenes legislative leaders are exploring the idea of a special session of the Legislature, perhaps as early as next month.

Environment | local | News | History

When I Was 6, My Classmates And I Fled The Mount St. Helens Eruption

Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins was a first-grader on a school camping trip near Mount St. Helens when the volcano erupted on May 18, 1980. Austin recently unearthed his scrapbook from that time and interviewed several others who were on that memorable trip

local | News | Health | Politics

Washington To Test All Nursing Home Residents And Staff, Says State Doctor

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has instructed the Department of Health to prepare to test all nursing home residents and staff for COVID-19 in the coming weeks, according to the physician leading the state’s testing strategy.

local | News

After Brief Moment Of Unity, Washington Republicans Crank Up Criticism Of Inslee

The jolt of partisanship and election year politics has shattered the Washington state’s unity-in-the-face-of-crisis moment.


Opponents Of Stay-Home Order Rally At Washington Capitol

Some 1,500 opponents of Washington's stay-home order, many carrying guns and eschewing masks, descended on the Capitol in Olympia on Saturday.


30K Coronavirus Tests A Day Could Be The Ticket To Washington's Freedom

More testing will allow Washington state to relax some social distancing measures. Here are four things we’re going to need to get there.  

local | News | Nation | Health

A NW Doctor Who Volunteered In NYC Shares Lessons From The COVID-19 Front Lines

Dr. Luke Hansen, an Olympia emergency room physician, volunteered at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, which had been described as the "epicenter of the epicenter" of New York's COVID-19 epidemic.

local | News | Health | Politics

Inslee Fires Back After Republicans Sue Over 'Stay Home' Order

A group of Republican state lawmakers filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Tacoma challenging the constitutionality of Gov. Jay Inslee's stay...


Inslee Says Washington 'Will Have Major Social Distancing After May 4'

With his current stay home order set to expire in less than a week, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday strongly suggested that, even though the COVID-19 peak appears to have passed, he intends to leave in place most of the current restrictions for the foreseeable future.