Gov. Chris Gregoire has appointed a former congressional candidate as the new director of the state Department of Revenue.

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Gov. Chris Gregoire has appointed a former congressional candidate as the new director of the state Department of Revenue.

Suzan DelBene (Susan del-BEN’-ay) was the Democratic candidate for the 8th Congressional District this year. She lost to Republican incumbent Dave Reichert.

DelBene replaces Cindi Holmstrom, who headed the state Revenue Department since 2005. Holmstrom is leaving to work for a private consulting group. DelBene starts Dec. 16.

Gregoire says DelBene’s business experience makes her the right person head an initiative to simplify the state’s tax system to help small businesses.

DelBene has been a top executive for two technology startups, including Drugstore.com, and was also an executive at Microsoft Corp., handling part of the software giant’s mobile ventures.