Austin Jenkins

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. He regularly files stories for NPR News. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin was a freelance general assignment reporter at KING–TV, the NBC affiliate in Seattle. He also worked as a freelance education reporter for KPLU–FM, the Tacoma–based NPR station. Austin spent 2001 in Washington, D.C. as a Knight Foundation/American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. Austin has also worked as a television reporter in Portland, Oregon; Boise, Idaho; Casper, Wyoming; and Bozeman, Montana. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and has a B.A. in Government from Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut.

Over the years Austin has won numerous professional awards for his reporting. He lives in Olympia with his wife Jennifer Huntley and their two children.

Read Austin's blog, "The Washington Ledge: Dispatches From Olympia."

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NPR Story
3:56 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Oil Interests Fund 'Astroturf' Groups In Washington, Oregon

This PowerPoint slide shows the campaigns and coalitions that the Western States Petroleum Association has 'activated' to combat what it calls 'aggressive anti-oil initiatives in the West.'

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 3:51 pm

Astroturfing is when interest groups run a campaign that’s designed to look like it’s grassroots in nature.

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the psychology of voting
12:57 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Psychology At Work In Get-Out-The-Vote Political Mailers

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 3:24 pm

We know dogs love to get praise, but don’t like to be shamed. Turns out, voters are kind of similar. That’s why get-out-the-vote efforts these days often include a bit of psychology.

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ballots have to be in by 8 p.m. on Election Night
1:32 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Last Minute Tips For Voting In Election 2014

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 8:21 am

It’s election week. Northwest election officials project 60 percent of registered voters are likely to cast a ballot this mid-term election.

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Environment
6:15 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Amid Legal Pot, The Search Continues For Illegal Grows

File photo of 'guerrilla' cultivation of cannabis

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 3:37 pm

Legal marijuana grows are just getting started in Washington state. But it’s the illegal ones that local, state and federal agents are searching out this month.

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Contract firefighters
4:32 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Legal Blow For Families Of Wildland Firefighters Killed In 2003

Mark Ransdell was a 23-year-old contract firefighter who died in a fiery van crash in 2003.

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 3:44 pm

Contract firefighters can often be found on the front lines. They’re usually indistinguishable from government firefighters. But a recent court ruling has re-emphasized that if they’re killed in the line of duty, there’s a big difference.

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Law and Justice
10:04 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

ACLU Takes On Case Of Idaho Teen In Solitary Confinement

Eldon Samuel III

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 4:05 pm

The ACLU of Idaho has joined the fight to move an accused teenage killer out of solitary confinement and back into juvenile detention.

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information about the frequency and routes
3:38 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Despite Confidentiality Concerns, BNSF Will Report Oil Shipments To States

File photo of a BNSF locomotive pulling a shipment of crude oil

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 4:14 pm

BNSF Railway said Friday it will comply with Saturday's federal deadline to provide states with information about the frequency and routes of oil trains from North Dakota and Montana.

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inmates serving life without parole
3:57 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

As Washington Prisons Crowd, Could Some 'Lifers' Get A Second Look?

In 2009, three-strikes offender Stevan Dozier was granted clemency. He stands in front of a mural at King County Juvenile Court that reads “never lose hope.”

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 3:51 pm

Stevan Dozier's crimes were violent purse snatchings. The final time, he hit his 69-year old victim in the face, knocked her to the ground and stole her wallet. As a result, Dozier was one of the first to be sentenced under the voter-approved "three strikes" law back in 1994.

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"Stunned And Grief Stricken"
3:39 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Climbers Mourn Mount Rainier Tragedy, But Climb On

Mount Rainier as seen from the road to the White River campground.

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 11:12 am

Mount Rainier is one of the most popular climbing destinations in the nation, but this weekend, it became the scene of a terrible tragedy -- the second worst climbing tragedy in the mountain's history. Six climbers apparently fell to their deaths.

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Smuggler's Blues
6:41 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Pot Grower Says Black Market Can Survive Legalization

Scott Johnson poses outside the Bellingham Towers where he used to own a restaurant and where his attorney has an office.

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 8:29 am

Scott Johnson is one of those natural born salesmen. He used to own a restaurant on the 15th floor of the Bellingham Towers -- Bellingham’s tallest building.

“At first it was called ‘Top of the Towers’ and then after about five years I changed it to ‘City View Grill,’” he says.

Now Johnson comes to Bellingham Towers to see his lawyer -- whose office is also here. Johnson has been sentenced to five years behind bars for his role in a long-running marijuana production and distribution ring.

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Generation M, Part 2
9:38 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Despite Party Differences, Millennial State Lawmakers Find Common Ground

The four youngest members of the Washington legislature are two Democrats and two Republicans who find generational common ground in spite of their political differences.

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 11:11 am

The Washington legislature is trending a bit younger these day. Nine of the 147 members are under 34 years old.

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reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions
3:26 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Washington Governor Signs Executive Order To Reduce Carbon Emissions

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 4:53 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed an executive order that calls for a new cap-and-market program to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

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Obama Oso Visit
5:21 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

President Obama Tells Landslide Towns 'Whole Country is Thinking of You'

President Barack Obama speaks to an audience of first responders at the Oso fire house in Snohomish County, Wash.

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 7:15 am

President Obama told an audience of first responders at the Oso fire house in Snohomish County that he and First Lady Michelle Obama "grieve with you."

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Black Hawk Helicopters Join Search
5:47 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

National Guard Searcher Describes 'Sifting' Through Crushed House

Washington National Guard searchers are assisting in the effort to locate victims of the Oso landslide in Snohomish County.
Washington National Guard

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 5:31 pm

The Washington National Guard has now deployed two Black Hawk helicopters to the Oso landslide. On the ground, specially-trained search teams looked for victims in the mud and debris.

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Oso landslide
3:46 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

First Trooper On Scene Of Landslide Describes Baby Rescue

Trooper Rocky Oliphant emerges from the Oso landslide after assisting with the rescue of an infant boy. Oliphant was the first trooper on the scene of the disaster on Saturday.
Washington State Patrol

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 3:22 pm

One of the first pictures from the Oso landslide was of a muddied state trooper emerging from the disaster zone just after helping to rescue a critically injured baby.

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Labor/Employment
5:25 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

Why Are Democrats Suddenly Talking About Minimum Wage?

Talk of raising the minimum wage has been spreading in Washington's Capitol building.
Colin Fogarty

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:40 am

We’re hearing a lot these days about raising the minimum wage.

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Politics & Government
4:26 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Washington Governor Won't Sign Death Warrants

File photo of Oregon's execution chamber.
Oregon Department of Corrections

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 5:57 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has announced a de facto moratorium on the death penalty.

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executed by lethal injection
4:09 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Execution Witnesses In Washington To See Needle Insertion

File photo of the execution chamber at San Quentin. A camera in the execution chamber at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla will record more of more of the execution process.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 6:02 pm

The next time a death row inmate is executed by lethal injection in Washington state, witnesses will see more of the process.

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Oregon residents also able to post listings
2:56 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Online Gun Exchange To Launch On Eve Of Washington Gun Hearings

File photo. An online firearms marketplace opens for business in Washington on Monday.
M Glasgow Flickr

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 10:50 am

Starting Monday, Washington gun owners will have a new place to sell their firearms. That’s when a website called Washington Gun Exchange plans to launch.

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how to regulate the medical marijuana marketplace
4:57 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Medical Marijuana Patients Denounce Proposed Plant Limits, Patient Registry

File photo of a of a cannabis plant.
Cannabis Training University Wikimedia

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 3:54 pm

One of the hottest topics before the Washington legislature this year is how to regulate the medical marijuana marketplace.

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