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Senator Jim King Memorial

August 4th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

A man who blocked legislation to repeal the class size amendment against powerful forces, fought mandatory seat belt use and received threats for blocking legislation to insert a feeding tube in Terri SCHIAVO, is being mourned tonight. State Senator Jim King died at age 69 from pancreatic cancer. He was first elected to the state house from Jacksonville in 1986, and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, has been a voice of reason ever since.

When the governor called a special session on abortion in 1989, and nothing happened. King was quick with a quote.

What we have is a Pandoras Box and weve opened it and weve got to live with it, King said.

As lawmakers cranked out hundreds of bills on the final day a few years later, he was a voice of caution.

We have passed things that we said, well, I didnt know that was in the bill. Lets not do this again, King said.

When then governor Jeb Bush wanted the class size amendment repealed, King, who had risen to senate president, fought back saying the same voters who passed class size amendment were smart enough to also have elected him.

We all swore an oath to accept the responsibility of carrying out the will of the voters, King said.

And when Terri Schiavo made national news, King ended up on a wanted poster for blocking attempts to reinsert her feeding tube. His only comment:

Its a nice likeness, he said.

King often joked about his size to his political advantage, including blocking seatbelt use.

I will admit that there are some cars, particularly small cars, that dont fit me, he said.

The Jacksonville senator could also be persuaded to change his mind when facts compelled him and he would do it with humor.

I find myself between the dog and the fire hydrant, King said.

Jim King will long be remembered for his compassion and for making the work here fun, even when it wasnt.

King served for 23 legislative sessions. Governor Charlie Crist will call a special election to fill the Jacksonville Senate seat soon.

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