SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Derek Brown, R-Cottonwood Heights, is resigning his seat in the Utah Legislature to serve as Sen. Mike Lee's deputy chief of staff and state director.

Brown is expected to step down as a state lawmaker Jan. 2 and start his new job the next day. Lee's chief of staff, Boyd Matheson, had been filing the state director duties for the past year.

Lee, R-Utah, said he has known Brown since helping to recruit him for a Washington, D.C., law firm 11 years ago. Brown has also served as legal counsel to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and former Sen. Bob Bennett.

"I am thrilled to have Derek Brown on board," Lee said. "Derek is a great talent and understands the legislative process, as well as critical functions of a senate office."

Brown, first elected a state representative in 2010, said while it was a difficult decision to leave the Legislature, "joining Sen. Lee and his team at this time with this agenda is an amazing opportunity."

GOP delegates in District 49 will choose a replacement for Brown, likely before the 2014 Legislature begins meeting in late January.

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