Dan Baer, a former ambassador and Democrat who ran for Congress last year, was appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper Tuesday to be the next executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

Baer will take over on June 8 from Kim Hunter Reed, who is departing after 16 months on the job to take the same position in Louisiana. He starts working with Reed this week as a special advisor, the governor’s office said.

“Dan has dedicated his career to public service and higher education, and has ample experience in both government and the private sector,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. “But it is the passion that he will bring to higher ed these last eight months that will make all the difference.”

Several high-level officials in the Hickenlooper administration are exiting as the Democrat’s final term nears its end.

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