TOPEKA — Policy Director Brandon Smith will step down next week as Gov. Sam Brownback prepares to take a federal religious freedom job in President Donald Trump’s administration.

Brownback announced Smith’s departure in a news release Thursday. Several staffers in Brownback’s office have stepped down ahead of his departure and the transition of power to Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Smith had served as policy director for Brownback for nearly three years, according to the release.

“Brandon’s service has been a credit to the state of Kansas, and I’m thankful for his tireless work on behalf of conservative principles,” Brownback said. “I know he is going to continue to work to promote individual freedom, human dignity, and economic opportunity for all.”

Smith’s replacement has not been named.

“It has been an honor to serve Governor Brownback and the people of Kansas,” Smith said in the release.

Brownback is preparing to become ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, a position in the U.S. Department of State.

He had a confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, but still faces a confirmation vote. In his hearing, he urged a narrow focus for his position and dodged questions on LGBTQ issues and abortion.