Former Sen. Johnny Ellis, champion of children, passes


Former Sen. Johnny Ellis, a Democrat and powerful member of the Alaska Democratic Party, has passed after serious health issues he had been dealing with for a long time.

Ellis was born March 13, 1960, who served in the Alaska Senate from 1992 to 2017. He served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1986 through 1992. In his early days he was an activist in Young Democrats.

He will be remembered for championing children’s issues, and while many Republicans disagreed with him, they respected him because he treated them with respect.

According to Wikipedia, Ellis was born in Springfield, Missouri and moved to Anchorage in 1975.  Ellis was an Eagle Scout. After graduating from Bartlett High School in 1978, he attended the University of Alaska Anchorage before earning a bachelor of arts degree from Claremont McKenna College in 1982.


  1. Senator Ellis always treated me with dignity, even when he disagreed with my beliefs, or voted against my projects. The dignity he brought to the dialog is missed already. He was the type of person who could vote against you in committee, then compliment your writing style or your argument casually in another setting. Alaska needs more of that right now and I am saddened by his passing.

  2. Alaska lost a special person with the passing of Johnny Ellis. He was a liberal Democrat; but, first and foremost an Alaskan. Hubert Humphrey once said something along the lines of, that you could judge the character of an individual by the way they treat the dawn in life — the children; those in the twilight of life — the elderly; and those in the shadows of life — the poor, sick and handicapped. Using this standard, there will be a special place reserved for Johnny Ellis in heaven. He was a partisan to the end; but, always an Alaskan first who respected and listened to people with differing views and affiliations. He will be missed.

    • While he often didn’t support my agenda, he was alway easy to talk with. A gentleman always. We are less without him.

  3. I hope he had jesus in his heart. Then he is in glory praising his savior. With God who supplied him all the strength he used to do the work he was called. From the leader to the peasent we all need jesus.

  4. Senator Ellis had a wry smile and his greeting was always the same whenever I stepped before one of his committees – “It’s Kreitzer time”. He and I always had a laugh about that and as others have said – even if he disagreed with my position (or my boss’) he was always polite and respectful – which I believe made those around him more conscientious about being so. Yes, he was partisan to the end, but we (my peers) all knew that and appreciated his honesty.

  5. I lived in Anchorage for years.Although I didn’t know Senator Ellis well ,I sat in meetings,partook in Democratic party gatherings and knew of his work for children and the Anchorage community.I am saddened to hear of his passing.May he rest in peace.

    Gail Brena

  6. Johnny was a great advocate for those too often left behind; I greatly admired his compassion and the fact that his convictions were real rather than dependent upon the winds of the time. Indeed he was partisan but he never allowed that to interfere with his work for his constituents, for children, for the needy and the disabled. He was a true statesman and will be greatly missed.

    • Some people stay in politics too long, more for self aggrandizement and ego satisfaction. I don’t believe Johnny ever had any of his own children, or was ever married. He had his own time to invest.

    • Johhny had a great sense of humor and lots of wit. He spoke to our small group of engineers on the State legislature status about the time Governor Palin resigned. His comments was ” Sara never really undersood that the Governor does not have the checkbook like she had as a Mayor”

      • ……but Sarah understands that the New York Times has a big checkbook, and that they will soon likely be buying her a Lear jet…..
        ..unlike the Murkowski family who had the State of Alaska buy their jet courtesy of senior citizens who were forced to give up their Longevity Bonus. Johnny may have liked children, but did he like senior citizens?

  7. I know nothing about the man, but it is a bit disconcerting to read a man is a champion of children, and then to see that he is a Democrat. Isn’t the whole platform of the Democrats to kill children through “choice”?

    • I, like most people on here, strongly oppose abortion. But there are those who see it differently. That does not mean that they want to “kill children.” Mr. Ellis cared deeply about helping people. I happen to think his ideas were misguided, but there’s no denying his heart was in the right place. Honestly, it seems pretty classless to spew partisan criticism when someone dies.

  8. I’m always suspicious when a never-married, childless, bachelor politician seeks notoriety for being a “champion of children” ……….
    especially a prominent Democrat.

    • Amen to that, Marla. Democrats always play the “children” card for political leverage. Then, they end up on the flight manifest of Epstein’s jet to pedophile island.

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