Senator Ellis has passed over 600 pieces of legislation and is recognized nationally for his leadership on increasing greater access to college for high-achieving Texas students, championing criminal justice reforms to protect the innocent and hold the guilty accountable, and fighting to provide quality affordable health care to the most vulnerable Texans, amongst many other issues.
Senator Ellis is the proud founder of the Texas Legislative Internship Program (TLIP). Since TLIP’s inception, it has become the largest legislative internship program in the state, providing over 600 young people the opportunity to develop hands-on skills while making a difference in Texas politics and public policy.
Senator Ellis is the current Chairman of the Senate Committee on Open Government, which investigates how to improve the transparency of state government. He is a member of the Senate Committees on State Affairs, Natural Resources, and Transportation. In past sessions, he chaired the Senate Committees on Finance, Jurisprudence, Government Organization, and Intergovernmental Relations.
In 1999 and 2000, Ellis served as Acting Governor of Texas for a record fifty days whenever then-Governor George W. Bush and then-Lt. Governor Rick Perry were both out of the state at the same time. Ellis also served as the official Lieutenant Governor of Texas for 7 days, 7 hours and 31 minutes after Governor Bush resigned and Lt. Governor Perry became governor.
Senator Ellis is a partner with Rice Financial Products, Inc., a shareholder with The Tagos Group, and of counsel with the law firm of Reaud, Morgan, & Quinn. Ellis has been a pivotal leader in assisting many African nations as they continue to transition from the regimes of the past to more modern, responsive governments. He also played a key role in helping Mexico ratify the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Senator Ellis chairs the Board of Directors for the Innocence Project and serves on the LBJ Foundation Board of Trustees, the University of Texas School of Law Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He also chairs the Commission to Engage African Americans on Energy, Climate Change, and the Environment.