- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 1, 2006

CHARLOTTESVILLE (AP) — James R. Olin, a former congressman from Virginia and former General Electric executive, died July 29. He was 86.

Mr. Olin had been in declining health for years, his wife, Phyllis Olin, told the Roanoke Times.

The Democrat served Virginia’s Republican-dominated 6th District in the House of Representatives from 1982 to 1992.

Before running for Congress, Mr. Olin worked for GE for 35 years, serving as corporate vice president and general manager of the company’s industrial electronics division.

Mr. Olin didn’t hesitate to buck the leadership, whether in the House or the White House. He voted against the Persian Gulf War in 1991. A year later, he was one of 11 Democrats who had signed on as co-sponsors of a popular balanced-budget amendment backed by President Bush and later reversed and voted against the measure.

Mr. Olin, who already had announced his retirement, said he was not convinced by Mr. Bush’s claims that the budget could be balanced simply by economic growth and a slowing of the growth of benefit programs such as Medicare.

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, said Mr. Olin will be missed.

Born Feb. 28, 1920, in Chicago, Mr. Olin received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1943. He then served three years in Army Signal Corps.

Mr. and Mrs. Olin moved to Charlottesville in 2003.

Mr. Olin also is survived by five children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandson.

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