AUSTIN, Texas (AP) State Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples says he's leaving office to become president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association.

Staples said in a statement released Thursday that he'll step down sometime within the next two months. His departure was expected, following a failed bid for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.

His political career began as a city councilor in his hometown of Palestine (PAL'-uhs-teen). He went on to serve in the state House and then the Senate before becoming agriculture commissioner.

He received attention earlier this month when he raised objections to a school district pilot program that encourages kids to eat meatless lunches once a week.

Staples said the effort by Dripping Springs was part of an "activist movement" advocating a vegetarian diet for Americans.