BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- A former Montana state senator and wildlife commissioner has been tapped as Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar's senior adviser for the Northwest.

Missoula attorney Steve Doherty served 12 years in the Montana Senate and chaired the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission from 2005 to 2009. He also worked for five years as a community organizer for a Billings-based conservation group, the Northern Plains Resource Council.

In his new job, he's charged with keeping the secretary abreast of elected officials' concerns, legal issues and new project developments.

In a statement, Salazar described Doherty as "a champion for public lands, lakes, streams and rivers."

Copyright 2010 The AP.

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