Inslee names Lisa Brown to head state Commerce Dept.

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has chosen former state Sen. Lisa Brown as director of the state Department of Commerce.

Brown, a Democrat who lost a campaign for Congress in November, takes over from Brian Bonlender.

Brown was a state senator from the Spokane region for 16 years, rising to Senate majority leader. Brown also previously served in the state House of Representatives for four years.

After leaving the Legislature, Brown was chancellor of the Spokane campus of Washington State University, where she played a major role in the creation of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

Brown left WSU to run against Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers for the seat representing eastern Washington in Congress. The campaign drew national attention, but McMorris Rodgers won re-election.