Former U.S. Rep. Benjamin Gilman, 94, a New York Republican who chaired the House Committee on International Relations in the 1990s, died Saturday. His death at a Veterans Affairs facility in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., was announced by former staff member Richard Mayfield.

Mr. Gilman was first elected to Congress in 1972 and served until 2003, representing the lower Hudson Valley area.

His political career ended when his district was merged with another in 2002, which would have forced him to run against fellow Congress member Sue Kelly in a Republican primary for the newly consolidated seat. He considered switching to the Democratic Party before deciding to step down instead.

Mr. Gilman was known for his work on issues including human rights, fighting hunger, and support for Israel. As chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, he advocated for stronger ties with India as a counterweight against Chinese influence. - AP