Today is the last day for Ron Jenkins, The Associated Press’ capitol correspondent.
Jenkins’ career has spanned nearly 30 years, countless election cycles and governors. He asks hard questions and is the encyclopedia of state government history in the press room. He is one of the few people in the capitol press corps with the ability to call out a grandstanding politician and still remain cordial with lawmakers at the end of the day.
I’ve learned a lot just by watching him work and listening to the questions he asks.
Jenkins also has the uncanny ability to be at all places at all times. You might think Jenkins doesn’t have the story because you didn’t see him at the event. Jenkins usually knows the story and has it written and filed to the wire sometimes before I get back to my desk.
During the legislative session, there are numerous events at the Capitol. Very few of them start on time, you spend a lot of time waiting for things to happen. Not Jenkins. Some how he manages to be at the right place at the right time. It’s rare you see him sitting in a conference room for 15 minutes waiting for a press conference to start. He arrives just in time. Efficiency to the fullest.
We’ve got three cakes in the press room for Jenkins today. We’ve just got to pin him down long enough to figure out when we can praise him — maybe embarass him a little and wish him well.
He assures us, he’s not dying. He’s just retiring. We’ll still miss him.