Former Rep. William J. Coyne, a liberal Pennsylvania Democrat and longtime member of the Roll Call Obscure Caucus, has died at the age of 77.
Coyne died Sunday in Pittsburgh at UPMC Mercy hospital following complications from a fall two months ago, The Associated Press reported.
Coyne, who was first elected in 1980 and served until 2003, was a hard-working member of the Ways and Means Committee. An accountant by trade, he spent much of his adult life in public service, starting with the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1970 and continuing with the Pittsburgh City Council from 1973-1980. In Congress, he sidestepped the limelight and was an Obscure Caucus stalwart. In the Sept. 24, 2003, edition of Roll Call, Lauren W. Whittington wrote: “As for former Rep. Bill Coyne, who made the list in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994, we can’t think of one good reason why the Pennsylvania Democrat wouldn’t have made the cut again had he not retired last year.”
That retirement was probably precipitated by redistricting, which lopped off two of Pennsylvania’s seats in 2002. Although Coyne announced his retirement in August 2001, Republicans who controlled the decennial process were likely to merge Pittsburgh-area Democratic seats, and Coyne faced the prospect of a potentially tough run in a primary.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.