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The spirit of 'meanness' and the dying legacy of Jim King

Lucy Morgan remembers a not-so-long time ago that seems like an eternity: A bipartisan and collegial Florida Senate imbued with the centrism of former Sen. Jim King.

King spent more than 20 years of his life helping Republicans gain control of the Legislature, but he never adopted the extreme positions of either camp. He was the last of a breed that could swing votes with a heartfelt speech made on the floor in the midst of battle. He always displayed a self-deprecating sense of humor.

And he is sorely missed.

It is hard to believe that the departure of one senator — just one man out of 160 legislators — could so radically change the place.

Column is here. Background on King is here. And Jim King is here, too, in his own words: