Jim King was the kind of state senator who could walk into a Waffle House for breakfast, strike up a conversation with a complete stranger and leave with an idea to sponsor legislation that would make it easier for some former felons to get jobs.
The legislation died thanks to his fellow Republicans in 2008, but the scenario is eternally King’s. He was statesman and everyman. A country-club Republican with a stripe of red on his neck. Fiscally conservative. Socially moderate. Liberal in his appetites. The life-and-times of King are here, in this fab profile.
King enjoyed holding forth for reporters. He’d steer Democrats and Republicans alike in his chamber -- sometimes by scolding, usually with a joke. The humor seemed boundless. As senate president, he once cracked a flatulence joke at a public meeting called by Republican Gov. Jeb Bush to settle a dispute with House Speaker Johnnie Byrd. Jeb shook his head and moved on.
“Last year the governor was kicking my ass. This year he’s kissing it,” King said a year later on the Senate floor to a business group from his district. King looked up, saw two reporters laughing in the press gallery and asked a staffer “Can they hear me?”
Ahh, the era before blogs….Here’s King in his own words.