Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer made his first public statement Friday following nomination of Gov. Sam Brownback to be ambassador of religious freedom in the Trump administration.

Colyer, who would become governor upon Brownback’s resignation, said he was grateful for the governor’s service to Kansas and expressed optimism about the state’s future.

“With humility and a deep sense of honor,” Colyer said in a statement, “I look forward to working with Kansans from across the state, listening to their vision for the future, as together we move toward a better tomorrow for the place that we love.”

He has expressed interest in seeking the 2018 Republican nomination for governor, but hasn’t formally declared his candidacy. If he chose not to run, he would be left to complete the second term of Brownback expiring n January 2019.

In the statement, Colyer referenced his career as a physician, his daughters, his volunteer medical missions abroad and a personal affinity for the late Ronald Reagan.

“As a doctor and a father of three beautiful girls, I am always optimistic for the future,” Colyer said. “As I’ve served in worn-torn countries, helping victims begin the healing process, I’ve seen first-hand the resilience of human beings. A Reagan alumni, I too believe people have an inherent dignity, requiring a respect for vulnerable life and civility for our fellow man.”

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump nominated Brownback for the ambassadorship dedicated to fostering religious tolerance.