10 years on, who can forget Jim King? Not those whose lives he touched
A life well remembered: As is tradition, lawmakers mark the beginning of Session with the remembrance of former Sen. Jim King.

"He will be celebrated, never forgotten."

Continuing a tradition, friends and colleagues of the late Senate President Jim King celebrated his inimitable humor and love of The Process with a happy hour this week.

King, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2009, was a fixture around the Capitol for 23 years.

The Jacksonville Republican was first elected to the House in 1986 and became one of the most powerful politicians in the state, serving as Senate President 2003-04.

He was remembered as fondly as ever, we’re told. Here are some quotes from those who knew King:

— Former Sen. Dennis Jones: “Jim King will long be remembered for his political wit and humor, love for Florida State University and the State of Florida. His success in his private life and political life are the mark of everlasting influence.”

Steve Wise, goofing off on the floor, with a megaphone to listen to Jim King. (State Archives of Florida/Dughi)

— Former Sen. Mike Bennett: “I have always considered serving in the Florida Senate as one of the major highlights of my life. And serving with Jim King was the highlight of that experience.

“Jim was a statesman standing on principal, working with new members, and the party was not as important to him as the teamwork that each new member could contribute to.

“Jim opened his heart and office to Republicans and Democrats … He named many Democrats to committee chairs, Skip Campbell, Rod Smith, Dave Aronberg, the list goes on.

“I do miss the Florida Senate, but not as much as we all miss the Jim King Senate. He will be celebrated, but never forgotten.”

— Political consultant Sarah Bascom, whose firm hosted Thursday night’s gathering: “Not a day goes by that I am not grateful that Jim King took a chance on me so many years ago — and not a day goes by that I don’t miss him terribly. 

“I promised him we would not let anyone forget him, and ten years later we are laughing and still telling his jokes. Cheers, Boss, you are missed.”  

— Lobbyist Gus Corbella, his former chief of staff: “It’s hard to believe Jim has been gone for ten years now, but the fact he is still so revered means he’s still very much with us.

“The King happy hour is not only a way to help keep his memory alive, but also to remind those in the process of the importance of collegiality, compromise, and having a little fun, which are all hallmarks of his legacy.”

The highlight of the evening was a toast from Senate President Bill Galvano.

“I would have loved to have served in his Senate and it would be an honor for him to serve in mine,” he said. “I remember my first day on the House floor, prior to my first opening day of Session, and then President King told me, ‘Never forget the feeling you have at this moment.’

“To this day, I have never entered either chamber and never thought of that advice—and Jim King.”

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.

One comment

  • Ray Blacklidge

    March 8, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    Senator Jim King was bigger than life. He had a passion for finding ways to help Floridians. It’s rare to find a Statesmen like he was anymore, unfortunately due in part to term limits and legislators having to be politicians rather than Statesmen these days. I am very fortunate to be able to call him and Senator Dennis Jones friends whom I will never forget. God bless Jim, Dennis and all who serve our great State!

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