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Law alumnus named adviser to Interior Secretary

February 08, 2010

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Steve Doherty J.D. ‘84 has been appointed senior adviser to the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, for the Northwest region. Doherty, an attorney, is a former Montana state senator and recent parks and wildlife commission chair.

“Steve’s more than 20 years of experience in tribal and natural resource law, his familiarity with Northwest and Native American issues, and his knowledge of state politics will enable him to provide outstanding advice to me in this position,” Salazar said in a news release. “My senior adviser for the Northwest is a champion for public lands, lakes, streams, and rivers. He understands the balance required to manage these resources as critical wildlife habitats and recreation opportunities for the public.”

The Oregonian editorial board wrote of his appointment, “We expect that Doherty’s reputed great love of place will inform his advisings as much as his valued political acumen.”

Doherty has more than two decades of legal practice in civil litigation as well as litigation pertaining to tribal entities and governments in tribal, federal and state courts. He is currently partner at Smith & Doherty in Montana.

From 2005 to 2009 he served as chairman of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission, which oversees the regulation and management of lands valued by hunters, anglers, outdoor enthusiasts and other recreationists from Montana and throughout the United States.

He previously served 12 years in the state Senate, including two terms as Senate minority leader. In addition, Doherty is the national founding co-chair of Progressive States Network, an organization he helped create to steer sound, progressive public policy proposals to state legislatures across the country.

Doherty served as a legal intern on the Columbia River Inter Tribal Fish Commission in Oregon for three years and as a community organizer for the Northern Plains Resource Council in Montana for five years.

In his new job, Doherty will ensure that the views of the secretary are considered and implemented in all appropriate venues, and that the secretary has adequate, timely information about project developments, opinions and concerns from elected officials, upcoming deadlines, legal issues, potential media attention and imminent controversies in any area of the Department of the Interior’s jurisdiction.

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