ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) _ Former Rep. Joe Skeen, one of New Mexico's longest-serving congressmen who suffers from Parkinson's disease and who retired last year, has been hospitalized.

Eastern New Mexico Medical Center in Roswell, where Skeen has been for about a week, refused to release details of his condition, citing privacy concerns and respect for the family.

``He sleeps a lot. He's certainly conscious. He's not in a coma,'' Suzanne Eisold, Skeen's chief of staff and his campaign manager during his 22 years in Congress, said Wednesday.

Mary Gayle Wood, Skeen's longtime aide, said he was dehydrated and having difficulty eating and swallowing.

Skeen, 76, a Republican, was first elected in 1980 in a write-in campaign, becoming only the third person in history to win a seat in Congress without being on the ballot. He served 11 consecutive terms.

He rose through the ranks to become chairman of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, then chairman of the House Interior Appropriations subcommittee.