Christine Stuart photo

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Tuesday nominated outgoing Democratic Party Executive Director Jonathan Harris to head the Department of Consumer Protection.

Harris, a former state senator and former mayor of West Hartford, will replace current Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein, who is one of a handful of Malloy administration officials who will not be returning for the governor’s second term.

The Democratic Party announced last week that Harris would step down as executive director, a post he occupied since 2012.

At a Capitol press conference, Malloy praised Rubenstein’s efforts to modernize the department. He also cited the establishment of Sunday liquor sales and a new medical marijuana program.

“Bill has used his extensive experience in the public and private sectors to protect consumers from unfair business practices and unsafe products, while enforcing federal and state laws that ensure a fair and regulated marketplace for all,” Malloy said.

Harris, 50, also applauded the work Rubenstein has done with the department since taking over in 2011.

He said Rubenstein and the 100 employees in the department “have really set a perfect table for me.”

Harris highlighted the department’s work on outreach and education to consumers, a program to combat opioid abuse by enhanced prescription drug monitoring, and targeted enforcement to stop unfair trade practices.

“What I intend to do is pick up on that and sit at that great table that’s been set for me,” Harris said.

Harris, an attorney, will make $142,000 a year in his new position.