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. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) 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 is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. 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.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he takes responsibility for his office’s failure to preserve emails related to the deadly 2014 Oso landslide. The Democrat issued a statement Tuesday after a judge vowed to impose a “significant monetary sanction” over the deleted emails.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is on the air with his first TV ad of the general election. His Republican challenger Bill Bryant hopes to hit the airwaves soon -- but money is an issue.

It’s not just President Obama who’s had his citizenship questioned. So has Washington’s Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, Cyrus Habib. It happened at a pro-gun rally last weekend and Democrats posted the video to YouTube.

Washington’s troubled Western State Hospital has been plagued by ineffective management, staff reductions and turnover. That’s according to a “root cause analysis” report released Thursday.

There’s a lot of talk about “dark money” in politics these days. That’s money raised and spent by so-called “social welfare” organizations that don’t have to disclose their donors.

But sometimes these groups will reveal who’s giving them money -- if you ask.

In their second debate, Democratic Governor Jay Inslee and his Republican challenger Bill Bryant sparred over taxes, education funding, transportation and the state’s response to homelessness.

But in the wake of last week’s deadly shooting at Cascade Mall in Skagit County, gun violence was the first issue the candidates were asked to address.

Lobbyists play a key role in political fundraising. Just consider the invitation to a fundraiser Wednesday night for the Speaker and the Majority Leader of the Washington state House.

If you thought the battle over pornography ended with The People vs. Larry Flynt, think again. Utah has taken the step of declaring pornography a public health threat much like tobacco. And now it’s on the agenda in Washington state.

Sponsors of Initiative 1464 on Washington’s fall ballot say they’re trying to limit big money influence on Washington politics. The initiative is a 23-page overhaul of Washington’s campaign finance and lobbying laws.

Washington’s Republican candidate for governor said he supports raising the minimum wage in some parts of the state -- but not everywhere. Bill Bryant outlined his position Tuesday in a jobs and economy speech to the Association of Washington Business Policy Summit at the Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum.

Former CEO of Washington’s Western State Hospital Ron Adler was publicly fired as head of the troubled state psychiatric hospital by Gov Jay Inslee earlier this year after the escape and recapture of two high-risk patients. But Adler continued working for the state.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley was back in federal court Friday. He’s facing a second trial next year for charges related to his past real estate services business. His first trial ended with the jury acquitting him of making a false statement to the IRS but deadlocked on all other counts.

After five terms in office, Washington Lt. Gov. Brad Owen is retiring. The two candidates running to replace him don’t see eye-to-eye over the proper role of the lieutenant governor.

Brash. That’s how you might describe Washington state’s two-term State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. He hasn’t been afraid to speak his mind and criticize the governor and legislators over school funding.

Now Dorn is stepping aside and two newcomers are vying for the non-partisan job.

It was nearly a decade ago that the McCleary family sued the state of Washington over school funding. In the years since, the state Supreme Court has sided with the family, found the state in contempt of court and imposed a $100,000 per day fine.