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And they’re off…2010 legislative session begins

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 by Dara Kam

The 60-day 2010 legislative session began with the usual pageantry as Senators, their families, Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet and the Florida Supreme Court crowded into the Senate chambers for Senate President Jeff Atwater’s opening day speech.

The chamber was filled with opening-day flowers, one of the only exemptions in the gift ban law barring lawmakers from accepting presents of any kind, including food.

Among the guests attending this morning: Linda King, widow of the late Sen. Jim King, the Jacksonville Republican who died earlier in July after a bout with pancreatic cancer and who once served as Senate President.

The Senate dedicated a committee room to King and read a resolution honoring the veteran lawmaker who was instrumental in getting end-of-life legislation passed.

Stay tuned for audio of Atwater’s remarks and other opening day treats, including the House’s session kick-off, winding up with Crist’s 6 p.m. state-of-the-state address.

New TV ad blasting Thrasher

Thursday, August 27th, 2009 by Dara Kam

Opponents of former House Speaker John Thrasher launched a new television ad yesterday blasting the lobbyist’s ties to trial lawyers.

Stop Tax Waste, a shadow political committee, accuses him of voting in favor of the trial bar and “against taxpayers.”

Thrasher is running in a GOP special election primary against former state Rep. Stan Jordan to replace the late Sen. Jim King, who died earlier this month after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

The Senate District 8 primary will take place on Sept. 15. No Democrats have filed for Jacksonville seat in a GOP-heavy district that stretches from the Florida-Georgia border in Nassau County to Volusia County.

The latest ad is the second Stop Tax Waste launched against Thrasher, accusing him of being a spendthrift with taxpayer money by, among other things, a lavish redecoration of the Speaker’s office.

Thrasher fights back against attack ads with a dozen fundraisers

Friday, August 14th, 2009 by Dara Kam

Former House Speaker John Thrasher has at least a dozen fundraisers scheduled before the Sept. 15 special election GOP primary to replace the late Sen. Jim King.

The Florida Dental Association, the Florida Medical Association are among those hosting the Florida fundraisers for the Senate District 8 candidate.

Thrasher, a prominent lobbyist, is under attack by “Stop Tax Waste,” a political group that launched an Internet site lambasting Thrasher for his spending while Speaker, including a lavish revamp of the his office and the House chambers.

“Stop Tax Waste” also launched a television ad this week blasting the Jacksonville Republican for being a Tallahassee insider and again accusing him of wasting taxpayer money.

Thrasher accused trial lawyers of being behind the attack ads, but the “Stop Tax Waste” folks deny the association.

The attack ads coincide with former state Rep. Stan Jordan’s entree into the race. Jordan now serves on the Duval County School Board.

Sen. Jim King passes away

Sunday, July 26th, 2009 by Dara Kam

kingsSen. Jim King died today after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May.

King, a Jacksonville Republican, served as Senate president from 2002 to 2004 and spent more than two decades in the Florida Legislature.

King was responsible for creating the James & Esther King Biomedical Research Foundation, named after his parents.

Memorial services will be held at the St. John’s Cathedral in Jacksonville, on Saturday, August 1, 2009, at 11:00 am and in Tallahassee at the State Capitol, House Chambers, on Tuesday, August 4, 2009, at 2:00 pm.

The King family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Jim King’s honor to either the James & Esther King Biomedical Research Foundation or the Community Hospice of Northeast Florida. Donations to the Research Foundation should be made out to The Florida Department of Health with “James & Esther King Biomedical Research Foundation” noted in the memo portion and mailed to the Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Revenue Management, 4052 Bald Cyprus Way, B/ 20, Tallahassee, Fl 32399.

Donations to the Community Hospice should be made out to the Community Hospice Foundation, with “Jim King” noted in the memo portion and mailed to the Community Hospice Foundation, 4266 Sunbeam Road, Jacksonville, Florida 32257.

Jim King cancer returns, prognosis dire

Saturday, July 18th, 2009 by Dara Kam

kingsSen. Jim King’s pancreatic cancer has spread and those close to the Jacksonville Republican fear his condition is grave.

Sarah Bascom and Gus Corbello, former King staffers who are speaking for the family, issued the following brief statement today that was distributed by Senate President Jeff Atwater’s office.

“Dear Friends:

While it seemed as though President King was cancer free, he has recently learned that the cancer that first began in his pancreas has now spread to other places in his body.

President King is continuing to fight with the passion and will that has made him our hero for so many years. We continue to ask for your encouragement and prayers, and on behalf of Jim, Linda and his family, we thank you for your love and support of our beloved Jim King.

Gus Corbella & Sarah Bascom”

King was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer shortly after the legislative session ended in May. He underwent surgery earlier this summer and a month ago King wrote on his web site that he was cancer-free.

King, a former Senate president, has served in the legislature for more than two decades.

Visit King’s website at

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