As he prepares to retire next week, a long time state lawmaker says he’s satisfied with his more than four decades in office.
Republican state Senator Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) will mark his last day in the Legislature on Monday, ending a career that started in 1970 when he was elected to the state Assembly. Since then, Ellis moved up to the state Senate in 1982 and has served terms as the Republican leader and President of the chamber.
Ellis says he’s has no regrets about what he’s been able to accomplish during his time in office, and leaves knowing he got “almost everything done that we wanted to do.”
The often vocal lawmaker is raising some concerns about the future of Wisconsin politics though. Ellis says special interest groups are the biggest problem facing the state, due to the influence they have at the Capitol. Ellis believes people should be questioning what motivates how lawmakers are voting on bills. “Do they vote based on what the many want, or do they vote based on what the few want?”
AUDIO: Sen. Mike Ellis on special interest influence (:13)
Ellis decided against a re-election bid last year after a secretly recorded conversation was released, in which he discussed a potentially illegal fundraising strategy to help fight off a Democratic challenger. At the time of his decision, Ellis said he didn’t feel like he “fit in” anymore in the modern political climate, blaming the secret recording on a new era of “gotcha politics.”