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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 | local | Health

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."

News | Business | local | Health | Politics

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?

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

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.

Education | News | Economy | local | Politics

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.

News | local | Health | Politics

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.

News | local | Politics

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.

News | local | Health

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.

News | local | Health

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.

Politics | News | Nation | local | Election

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.

News | local | Election

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.

Politics | Nation | 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.

News | Nation | local | Politics

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.

News | local | Politics

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.

News | local | Politics

Wash. State Sen. Ranker Resigns Amid Workplace Conduct Investigation

In a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee dated Friday, Ranker, who served in the Senate for a decade, said his resignation was effective immediately.

News | Business | Economy | local | Politics

Gov. Inslee Proposes Big Boost In Washington Spending, New Taxes

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing a $10 billion increase in state spending over the next two years to maintain current services and fund new priorities, including mental health and orca recovery.

News | local | Politics

'OPB Politics Now:' Combating Sexual Harassment In Oregon, Washington Legislatures

Legislators in Oregon and Washington promise to clean up their act next year when it comes to combating sexual harassment in their own ranks.  

Politics | News | Nation | local | Election

Washington Gov. Inslee Forms PAC In Move Toward Possible Presidential Run

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has formed a federal political action committee and started soliciting contributions, signaling an important next step as he decides whether to run for president in 2020.

News | local | Politics

Washington Gov. Inslee's Out-Of-State Travel Schedule Will Cost An Extra $1.3 Million

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's busy out-of-state travel schedule has put a strain on the state troopers who protect him and resulted in a spike in overtime costs.


'OPB Politics Now:' Learning From Washington About Gun Control And A Carbon Tax

Next year, Oregon lawmakers plan to take up gun control and climate change. And coincidentally, Washington voters just considered the same issues.