From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
Monday, June 25, 2001
Contact: Jeremy Warren, (512) 463-0113

Senator Ellis Named One of Texas' Best Legislators

Ellis' leadership in Senate earns him coveted Texas Monthly "Ten Best" award

(Austin)// Senate Finance Chairman Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) has been named on of Texas Monthly's "Ten Best" legislators. The prestigious award is bestowed to those who clearly make their mark during the legislative session.

Texas Monthly praised Ellis for his leadership on the budget and on criminal justice reform, particularly his ability to pass the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act.

"He handled the budget skirmishes like a seasoned veteran who had trained for this battle all his life. He wanted a teacher health insurance program, more funding for poor children's health insurance and for the University of Houston, and more college grants for economically disadvantaged students. He got them all."

Texas Monthly also praised Ellis for his efforts and accomplishments outside of the limelight. "He prevailed upon Continental, Southwest, and Delta airlines to provide free tickets to Austin so minority students could visit the University of Texas campus, and he runs an internship program for young people who are interested in politics."

Texas Monthly concluded it award with high praise for Ellis' leadership: "When he got his chance to lead, the result was mission accomplished."

"It is indeed an honor to be chosen as one of Texas Monthly's Ten Best Legislators, but it is only important because of what we were able to accomplish this session for the people of Houston and all of Texas" said Ellis. "Under the tightest budget constraints in a decade, we ensured children have access to quality, affordable health care, provided the largest state employee pay raise in two decades, provided teachers and state employees with health insurance, and made the largest investment in college aid in Texas history to ensure the door of opportunity opens for 65,000 more Texans."

"We also made significant strides in repairing Texas' criminal justice system, including landmark legislation to overhaul the indigent criminal defense system, increase compensation for those wrongfully convicted in Texas, provide access to DNA testing, and ensure criminals cannot profit from their crimes. And, after sometimes contentious debate, we finally passed the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act, which will send the message that hate will not be tolerated in Texas," said Ellis.