PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey has appointed a former Republican lawmaker to an open seat on the state commission that regulates utilities.

Ducey on Tuesday named Justin Olson to the seat vacated by Doug Little. Little stepped last month down to take a job with the U.S. Department of Energy.

Olson served in the Legislature from 2011 until the beginning of this year. He ran for an open congressional seat in Mesa last year but finished behind current Rep. Andy Biggs and businesswoman Christine Jones in the GOP primary.

Olson chaired the House appropriations committee in his last term and currently works as a tax analyst.

Ducey says Olson has a reputation as a strong proponent for taxpayer whose background will help him hit the ground running as a regulator.