Term: 2012 — 2015
Senator Rodney Ellis was elected to the Texas Senate in 1990. During his tenure, he has earned praise as a leader on economic development, education, civil rights, responsible environmental policy, tax cuts for the middle class, and criminal justice issues, having passed over 500 bills.
He 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. Senator Ellis has raised over $2 million in funding for the program, giving over 500 young people the opportunity to make a difference in Texas politics and public policy. Three former TLIP participants are currently members of the Texas House of Representatives.
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 State Affairs, Transportation, and Natural Resources committees. In past sessions, he chaired the Senate Finance, Jurisprudence, Intergovernmental Relations, and Government Organization committees.
Senator Ellis currently serves on the University of Texas School of Law Foundation Board, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Board of Directors, and the board of the Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation. He also chairs the Board of Directors for the Innocence Project, Inc. of New York, and co-chairs the Commission to Engage African Americans on Energy, Climate, and the Environment.
Before his election to the Texas Senate, Senator Ellis served three terms as a member of the Houston City Council and as chief of staff to the late U.S. Congressman Mickey Leland. He holds a bachelor's degree from Texas Southern University, a master's degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. Ellis also studied at Xavier University of New Orleans and the London School of Economics.
Senator Ellis is a Partner at Rice Financial Products Company, a Shareholder of The Tagos Group, and Of Counsel at Reaud, Morgan, & Quinn.