The Minnesota Senate on Monday honored a pair of veteran Capitol reporters whose dedication and years of service made them part of the institution they covered.
Star Tribune reporter Jim Ragsdale, who previously had worked for the St. Paul Pioneer Press as a reporter and editorial writer, died in November after a yearlong battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 64.
Bill Salisbury, who covered politics and government for four decades, most of them at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, retired in December, although he will continue to work part-time.
Sen. Dick Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, honored both men with special resolutions on the Senate floor.
Ragsdale, who continued to work following his diagnosis as long as his health would allow, loved to stand at the marble columns outside the Senate chambers before each floor session. Cohen once asked him why.
“He said ‘I like to look at the people. I like to have a sense of the ambience of the place,’ ” Cohen said. “It was almost poetic in the way he described the visual of this place.”
Salisbury, who retired as the senior member of the Capitol Press Corps, was known for solid reporting and accuracy, combined with a genuine enthusiasm for politics and the people who made things run — including his favorite subject, former Gov. Jesse Ventura.
Over coffee and cake at a reception afterward, Salisbury reflected on the accolades.
“I’m embarrassed to admit I loved it,” he said. “But I also remember that politicians’ judgments of journalism are always suspect.”