Mike Ellis, legend of Wisconsin politics, passes away

NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) – Mike Ellis, a man who spent more than forty years of his life dedicated to Wisconsin politics, has passed away.

Ellis died Friday morning, a family member tells Action 2 News.

Ellis, a Republican, announced in 2014 that he would not seek re-election after 32 years of representing Neenah in the Wisconsin State Senate.

He served as President of the State Senate from 2011 until his final days in office in 2015.

“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,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement. “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 made a name for himself on the Neenah Common Council in the late 1960s and 1970s. He was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1970.

Ellis was elected to the State Senate in 1982.

Ellis told us he was most proud of his work to get Wisconsin public schools more than $400 million in funding, and the transformation of Highway 41 in the Fox Cities. He called it the “Main Street” of the Valley.

“If you can look in the mirror at the end of the day and say to yourself and your conscience, you’ve done what you knew and what you thought was right, that’s all you got,” Ellis told us after…

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