John Ellison: Business Owner/State Assemblyman

If you’re new to Anthony Around Town, first off, welcome and thank you for taking the time to check us out! Secondly, you should know that we love and are all about people around here. We believe that everyone matters, and it takes everyone to make a great community; the waitress who refills our coffee is just as valuable to our community as the business owner who opened the diner in the first place. This fact is a core AAT value which we will always hold to in all the content we produce. Moreover, a lot of the men and women we interview also share in our appreciation for people. However, I don’t think AAT has sat down with anyone who believes in others quite as intensely and passionately as our guest today. He’s a very busy man, but he gladly had a lot to say when it came to his love for his neighbor.

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Today’s guest is Mr. John Ellison. John is a local business owner with a lot of different things on his plate to manage such as a laundry mat, rental properties, and an electrical business. However, John is also an active state assemblyman with a lot of involvement politically. So, John does a lot, but who is he as a person and what does he genuinely care about at the end of the day? We want to find out, and let’s do so! “I was born and raised in Elko. As we were growing up as kids, every Summer we’d work on ranches. I cowboyed on some of the biggest cow camps there were. In the wintertime, I sold newspapers and worked at the Commercial Hotel at an early age. We grew up working long, hard hours. But I really wanted to get out of Elko, as a young kid and my whole life all I wanted was to go into the military. I tried to get into the Navy, but I couldn’t pass the physical. I tried eight times to pass the physical for the Marine Corps.  I finally passed on the eighth time. However, I was discharged because I was having some problems, I had heart disease, and I’m legally deaf up to a certain number of decimals. There was nothing they could do about it. I tried to get back in, but I couldn’t. So, I devoted my life to our veterans; we owe everything to them.  I’ve been in business just about all my life. I started with an apprenticeship in Idaho and then went to work for Elko Electric before starting my own company, Ellison Electric, about thirty-five years ago. My wife, Cindy, and I had four children, two from a previous marriage and two together; however, Cindy raised them all. My oldest son, John, got sick at sixteen and died at nineteen from a mole, carcinoma melanoma, what they call a silent killer. Over the years, we’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to try to find a cure or to try to help people get to hospitals. In the meantime, I started at the city council and then I moved on to county commissioner and then on to the legislature. Once I got to the legislature, my time got so busy it was hard trying to get some of the stuff done that we wanted to, but we still try to commit to things within the community. And I love my community. I love my city, and I love my county. God’s been good.”

Thanks for sharing a little bit about your journey, John. When it comes to all of the things you do (I saw your calendar on your desk, you’re a coveted man) where do your drive and passion come from to accomplish it all? “When the Chamber of Commerce appointed me to the Planning Commission, my first meeting was a wakeup call. I didn’t think people were getting the representation that they needed, so I got really serious about the people. Sometimes politics get in the way of the rights of the people, and I believe in the people. I try to work with both sides of the aisle; I don’t care who they are or what they are. I devoted my time and my life to the people, and when the people don’t want me anymore, I’ll quit doing it. But we try to get involved and help as much as we can, and so we’ve created a passion for our work. If I can go out on a call in the middle of the night for my electrical business (we run a twenty-four-hour service), then I will because it can save the people some money, and not everybody works at the mines. I love the people; that’s what it’s about.”

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That’s quite inspiring, John, please go on. “My biggest goal is to help people. I think that’s my biggest joy. It’s good to wake up in the morning and smile. Sometimes you employees want to choke you, but you want to do something good with life. My biggest struggle is the distance between all of my districts and all of that; it’s so massive. If I get back from Carson City at two or three in the morning, I still have to be at work the next morning. So, I drive a lot, especially at night time. I put a lot of miles on the vehicle. Sometimes you don’t have the time to get out there and do the stuff you really want to do. We work long hours, seven days a week.”

You’re a man of the people, John. Therefore, it should be safe to assume you’re someone who is proud to call Elko home, correct? “I could live where ever I wanted. Why do I live in Elko? This is where the people live! I couldn’t ask for a better place to be. Does Elko have need some work on its infrastructure? Of course, it does, but we’re getting there, and how do you eat an elephant…one bite at a time! The people here care about their community; this probably is one of the most loving communities in the world. Everybody pulls together. I don’t care if you live on the golf course or the Southside of town. We all have the same colored blood; we all put our pants on the same way. I don’t care if you’re a congressman or the president, you’re no different from the person who served me coffee at the restaurant, or vice versa.  Somebody may have more than what I have or less, but if the community would continue to come together and help one another, it will be a great world. It’s still about the heart of the people.”

Writer’s Note: I, Anthony Crosby, wasn’t expecting to have much time in my interview with John because I realized how much in demand he is in right now. During our time, his phone rang, his daughter would bring in messages for him, and he did have to take a call or two. However, he never made me feel like I was on the clock. We sat and talked for a good while. He even went around the room and told me the story of almost every picture/decoration hanging on his office wall. He asked me questions about myself, we talked about movies, he invited me back to visit; I felt his sense of care. In the two hours, or so, I spent with him I could tell that this was a man who truly loves people. Thank you, John!

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See you around, Elko!

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