Patch recently sat down with Dover resident and U.S. Senate candidate Jim King. The 63-year-old Democrat originally from Sarasota Springs, N.Y. announced his candidacy in October. King is a Boston lawyer who co-founded the firm Murphy and King Professional Corporation Counsellors at Law nearly 30 years ago. King has been a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice in the anti-trust division and also served as a special assistant to the U.S. Attorney in Boston in 1979-80.
Patch: Why are you running for U.S. Senate?
JK: "I’m running because a few days after Scott Brown won in the special election I felt that he wasn’t the right person to be Senator. I was a friend of the late Senator Kennedy and I think that Massachusetts deserves better."
"The legacy that we have in the Senate of leadership and a sense that those who aren’t represented by special interests or otherwise deserve to have a voice in D.C. is important to me."
"It took about a year to think about it. My background with the government and as a lawyer certainly brings me with the issues."
Patch: Have you ever held political office before?
JK: “No but I’ve always been involved in politics. Senator Kennedy nominated me to the National Gambling Commission in 1996 and when I worked for the Justice Department I was fortunate enough to be asked to serve on Carter’s Anti-Trust Commission and there were ten congressional members on that commission."
"I have never run for office but I never miss a chance to be involved."
D-S Patch: Do you think your inexperience as a candidate will play a role?
JK: “I don’t think that’s an issue. Scott Brown was a State Rep. but was not really a frequenter of running for office. Certainly Elizabeth Warren and Marisa DeFranco have never run before. So on balance I think that it’s a non issue.”
Patch: Was there something in particular that made you decide to run?
JK: “I don’t think that [Scott Brown] represents the views of the majority of people in the Commonwealth.”
Patch: What do you think the biggest issue facing our country is today? How would you propose to fix that problem?
JK: “Confidence. I think that we need to recognize that we’re Americans and we need to recognize that we meet challenges with innovation, ingenuity and there’s a reason why people look up to the United States and it’s primarily our freedom. We need to make sure that we not only maintain it but we need to reinvigorate it. And we don’t need to reinvigorate it by having politicians on the extremes.”
“I think the days of social programs for social programs are over and we need to have the economic base and strength to lead by example in the world.”
“What I would do is put our house in order economically. I think that the deficit, for example, was relatively easy. It’s not easy, but relatively easy. I think that if we increase the revenues on the one hand and also take a real close look at our expenditures and probably somewhere, 50-50, we can make up the $16 trillion that we now face as a deficit.”
“I think the rates for individual income taxes are too low. They’ve never been this low in our history. The Bush tax cuts were supposed to be temporary and then they turned permanent. But a top rate of somewhere around 31-percent instead of 25-percent is probably sensible. And I think everybody in this country who has income should pay some tax. $50, $100, it doesn’t matter what it is, everybody has a stake in this country.”
Patch: What do you propose could be done to create more jobs?
JK: “Well first of all I wouldn’t have voted against the job bill like Scott Brown did. On the basis that it included a tax increase on those with $1 million or more of taxable income. And that tax, that increase, would have been approximately $500 for somebody making $1 million of taxable income. It doesn’t make any sense to not have those fortunate people paying an additional $500 if it means more teachers hired back and police officers and the like.”
“I’d use the unemployment system to stimulate the hiring of new employees. We now pay let’s say $20,000 in employment benefits. If an employer hired someone who was unemployed and kept that person working for nine months or more it seems to me we should take half of what we would have paid in unemployment benefits and give a credit to the employer who hired the person and kept that person working for that period of time.”
“I think also, the Federal Government has to participate with states, in Massachusetts especially, to encourage the attraction of industry in the state.”
Patch: How do you feel about having casinos in Massachusetts? Why?
JK: “I think the devil is in the details in that situation. I had some experience in the gambling area as I mentioned [Senator Ted Kennedy] nominated me for the national commission. I come from a competition law background working in the anti-trust division at [the U.S. Department of Justice] so if I were to criticize the law that exists I’d say ‘Why three?’ Why do we have a finite number here or any number at all? Let’s just see if people and developers meet a certain requirement.”
“I think those that think we’re just going to add jobs and we’re going to increase the revenue are probably mistaken. There might be a bump but I think that many of the critics who say that people will do less with the lottery are probably right. There’s only so much money it seems to me to gamble and that’s one of the issues.”
“I’d be a representative of the people and I’d have to vote their will. Obviously I’d state the way I felt but the job of a legislator who represents the state is to do just that.”
Patch: Aside from job creation what are some ways that the economy can be revived?
JK: “I think we have to use the trade agreements that are on the books that people criticize, instead of criticizing we have to use them to our advantage. We need to have more exports to Brazil and, just to use an example, Columbia and the places that we have these new trade agreements. There’s no reason why we can’t because we have attractive products and services for those markets.”
“The other thing I’d do, and this applies to health care, is I’d try to add more competition. I don’t think there’s enough competition in health care. It’s one of the few markets that I know of where the buyers and sellers never meet. I see my doctor of course but I don’t talk to him about how much it’s going to cost to have a MRI or to engage in whatever kind of health care I might need. That doesn’t usually happen. If we go to buy a car or something for ourselves we usually talk to people about the price.”
“I would open it up to competition and if the competition crossed state borders than that’s fine with me. I don’t see any particular need to have a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts and a Blue Cross of Pennsylvania. And many of these in this area of our economy are non-profits and I don’t know. It strikes me that they’re non-profits not in the way that we originally thought of non-profits with Red Cross and the American Cancer Society, etc., etc. And so I think that if we took a close look at that and opened it up we’d create more competition and competition usually creates more jobs.”
Patch: Why should people in Massachusetts give you their vote?
JK: “Because I have the experience to serve. I have no other reason to run except to serve and I think my views better represent the citizens of Massachusetts certainly more than Scott Brown’s do.”
“I think that it’s important to let the voters know who somebody is and trust them.”
“If they want somebody that they trust to do the job consistent with their believes in what government should do then I’m the guy for the job.”
Patch: What do you have that your other opponents don’t?
JK: “Elizabeth Warren has money, a lot more than I do. But she’s pedantic in many senses and I’m not. I did work for the government and I was involved in the anti-trust commission that led to the deregulation of trucks and rails. I commend her for her experience in [Washington D.C.] in setting up the consumer bureau. But, she’s a professor and for 30 years I’ve run a law firm."
"Marisa DeFranco is a very articulate, young, aggressive immigration lawyer from the North Shore. But again, her experience is limited. I think that her focus on what the responsibilities of a senator are, are a little different than mine. What I’ve been exposed to in the time that I’ve had to be involved in the issues is just a lot more than she has. That’s not to say that she’s not a good candidate because she is and Elizabeth Warren is an excellent candidate.”
Patch: What qualifies you to be a US Senator?
JK: “I think that my education, my practice of law, my exposure to the political process, my work in D.C., both when I worked for the government and now when I represent clients in that environment and you can ask anybody who knows me I’m more than ready to give what I think about public issues on the national and international level.”
Patch: Anything else you would like to add?
JK: “I think that we can call get too wrapped up in the process and I think that to keep it simple and to use our common sense is what the American people do the best. And so when they are given facts and not 30-second blips they usually make the right decision when they go to the polls. That’s my job and it’s frustrating that it’s taken me a lot longer than I thought to get to the critical mass, if you will. Hopefully we can succeed in having a competitive race and people can compare. I think I’ll win if they do that. But it’s my job to get out there and let people know.”
“I’m from Saratoga Springs which has the oldest thoroughbred race track in the United States and there was a famous thoroughbred called Silky Sullivan that always started out his races about twenty lengths last and in the backstretch it looked like there was no possible way that Silky Sullivan would have any chance of winning the race. He became one of the best thoroughbreds of his time and won an incredible number of races even though he was so damn far behind that nobody gave him a chance at all. I’m reminded of that sometimes when they ask ‘How are you going to compete with this Elizabeth Warren who has the support of many from the national democratic group and has a war chest full of money?’ and I say we’re just going to do it one day at a time. So maybe we’ll turn into a kind of a Silky Sullivan of sorts.”