CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – James R. Olin, a former Virginia congressman and General Electric executive, died Saturday. He was 86.

The Democrat served Virginia’s 6th District in the House of Representatives from 1982 to 1992. Before running for Congress, Olin worked for Fairfield, Conn.-based GE for 35 years, serving as corporate vice president and general manager of the company’s industrial electronics division.

In 1992, Olin was one of 11 Democrats who had signed on as co-sponsors of a popular balanced-budget amendment backed by former President Bush and later reversed and voted against the measure.

Olin, who already had announced his retirement, said he was unconvinced by Bush’s claims that the budget could be balanced simply by economic growth and a slowing of the growth of benefit programs like Medicare.

“He gave us a choice of presidential cuff links or tie clips, paid for by the Republican National Committee. I took the cuff links,” Olin told The Associated Press at the time of his meeting with Bush. “I don’t think he was very persuasive.”

Republican Bob Goodlatte called his predecessor “a dedicated public servant who worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of Virginia.”

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

He and his wife, Phyllis, moved to Charlottesville in 2003.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.


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