Mike Ellis, a former leader of the Wisconsin State Senate, died Friday morning. He’d been in state politics for more than 4-decades and represented Neenah in the legislature for 32-years.
Ellis began his career on the Neenah City Council in the 1960s and served as council president before running for the state legislature in 1970. He’d served in the state senate from 1982 to 2015, and was majority leader from 2011 to 2015.
Ellis announced he would not seek re-election two days after the release of a video that showed him talking about creating a political action committee to run attack ads against a political opponent. He did not go forward with the idea.
Governor Scott Walker issued the following statement: “Tonette and I are saddened to hear of the passing of Senator Mike Ellis. He was a giant in the Legislature and a bigger-than-life personality in Wisconsin politics. I enjoyed serving with him as a lawmaker and as governor. We were just on the radio together recently and I love his wit and passion. He will be missed by so many of us. Tonette and I send our prayers to his entire family.”
Ellis was 77. Funeral arrangements are pending.