Claire Robling, a former journalist who got elected to office and eventually chaired the Minnesota Senate Finance Committee, is joining Scott County's staff.

The county's public affairs coordinator, Lisa Kohner, said that Robling will be a legislative liaison and communications specialist.

Robling, a Republican from Jordan, served for 16 years in the state Senate. She rose to become assistant majority leader but chose not to seek re-election last fall.

Scott County has come under fire in recent years for high lobbying costs. But the Republican-dominated county is also seeking help from a DFL-dominated statehouse in areas civic leaders consider vital to its future.

A key issue on which Robling was active as a lawmaker is a quest for funds to widen the Hwy. 101 bridge in Shakopee and raise it above flood level.

Serious flooding has become increasingly frequent in recent years, and the closure of bridges creates a traffic mess.