It’s with a heavy heart we learned today that the great Sen. Johnny Ellis, who represented Anchorage in the Alaska Legislature from 1986 to 2017, has died. He was 61.
With an incredible work ethic and devotion to Alaska politics, he’s touched the state in countless, immeasurable ways. I knew him as a kind, approachable, observant and deeply funny legislator who seemed to have a knack of lifting up everyone around him. He was one of the first outside of the Fairbanks delegation who cared who I was as a young nobody stumbling his way through his first session, which speaks not only to his character but his acumen as a policymaker.
His contributions to Alaska through the political world meant he sacrificed much in his personal life, an account relayed in a 2016 column by Charles Wohlforth.
In place of today’s column, I wanted to use this space as an opportunity to remember Johnny. I’ve made this post into a thread where you can leave a comment with a memory of Johnny.
And, if you’re in Anchorage, don’t forget to vote in the upcoming April election.
Johnny Ellis was kind, wicked funny and worked his whole life for a fairer and more generous Alaska. He also had a teal weakness for rhymed political commentary.
There are so many good and important things left to do - -but no one can tell us like Johnny Ellis!
Johnny and I have been friends torever. He was devoted to the betterment of his community and state. A few years back he was n Soldotna for a fishing event and I was able to host Johnny in our home. We spent countless hours on the deck sharing stories of yesterday and today. Thank you Johnny for all you have done for us and Alaska. You will be greatly missed but never forgotten.
Have known Johnny for over 30 years, he was a true statesman. No matter what your political persuasion, he was willing to listen. Will be missed.
He will always be a mighty titan in Alaska political life, and was all around a decent human being. He truly was the “Poor People’s Lobbyist”
Johnny Ellis was incredible decent and generous. Johnny was always a shining light in an era that hosted the VECO scandal. He was a true friend to many people in the legislature. Johnny was respected by those who did not agree with his politics. He had ethics and was a funny kind man. Kathrin McCarthy