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Mike Enzi
Mike Enzi, official portrait, 115th Congress.jpg
Enzi in 2018
United States Senator
from Wyoming
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2021
Preceded byAlan Simpson
Succeeded byCynthia Lummis
Chair of the Senate Budget Committee
In office
January 3, 2015 – January 3, 2021
Preceded byPatty Murray
Succeeded byBernie Sanders
Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007
Preceded byJudd Gregg
Succeeded byTed Kennedy
Member of the Wyoming Senate
from the 24th district
In office
December 13, 1991 – January 3, 1997
Preceded byKelly Mader[1]
Succeeded byRichard Erb
Mayor of Gillette
In office
Preceded byCliff Davis
Succeeded byHerb Carter
Personal details
Michael Bradley Enzi

(1944-02-01)February 1, 1944
Bremerton, Washington, U.S.
DiedJuly 26, 2021(2021-07-26) (aged 77)
Loveland, Colorado, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Diana Buckley
(m. 1969)
EducationGeorge Washington University (BS)
University of Denver (MBA)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Air Force
Years of service1967–1973
UnitWyoming Air National Guard

Michael Bradley Enzi (/ˈɛnzi/ EN-zee; February 1, 1944 – July 26, 2021) was an American politician and accountant who served as a United States Senator from Wyoming from 1997 until 2021. He was a member of the Republican Party.

Raised in Thermopolis, Wyoming, Enzi attended George Washington University and the University of Denver. He expanded his father's shoe store business in Gillette, Wyoming, before being elected the city's mayor in 1974. In the late 1970s, he worked for the United States Department of the Interior. He served as a state legislator in both the Wyoming House of Representatives (1987–1991) and Wyoming Senate (1991–1997). During the 1980s and 1990s, he worked as an accountant and executive director in the energy industry.

Enzi was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996 with 54% of the vote and reelected in 2002 with 73% of the vote, in 2008 with 75% of the vote, and in 2014 with 71% of the vote.[2] During his tenure, he was consistently ranked one of the Senate's most conservative members. He was a member of the 2009 Gang of Six that attempted to negotiate health care reform. From 2015 until his retirement from the Senate, he chaired the Senate Budget Committee, during the 114th, 115th, and 116th Congresses.

Early life, education and business career

Mike Enzi was born on February 1, 1944, in Bremerton, Washington, the son of Dorothy M. (née Bradley) and Elmer Jacob Enzi. His paternal grandparents were ethnic Germans from Ukraine, and his mother had Irish and German ancestry.[3][4] Enzi was raised in Thermopolis, Wyoming, after his father's return from military duty on the Pacific coast. He attended elementary school in Thermopolis and graduated from Sheridan High School in 1962.[5] He was an Eagle Scout and a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America.[6][7]

Enzi received a degree in accounting from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1966, where he graduated Omicron Delta Kappa.[8] He was also a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity[9] and Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. He received an M.A. in retail marketing from the University of Denver in Colorado in 1968.[10] He also served in the Wyoming Air National Guard from 1967 to 1973.[11] On June 7, 1969, Enzi married the former Diana Buckley; the couple had two daughters and a son as well as four grandchildren.[12]

Soon after his marriage, Enzi moved to Gillette, where he expanded his father's shoe-sale business,[13] NZ Shoes, which later also had locations in Sheridan and in Miles City, Montana.[10] As a young business owner, he served as president of the Wyoming chapter of the United States Junior Chamber.

Early political career

Enzi was elected as mayor of Gillette in the 1974 election to succeed Cliff David.[14][15][16] He was appointed to serve on the National League of Cities' community development committee.[17] He filled two vacant city council seats in one month in 1976, following the resignation of Ed Geringer and Jack Babcock with Jack Edmunds replacing Geringer and Robert White replacing Babcock.[18] Gillette's Planning an Zoning Commission was created during Enzi's tenure and he appointed six of the seven positions on the board upon its creation.[19]

Enzi was elected to the Wyoming House of Representatives as a Republican and served from 1987 to 1991. He was then a member of the Wyoming Senate from 1991 to 1997. In the state senate, Enzi became a vocal opponent of proposals to legalize gambling in the state.[citation needed] In 1994, he served as the primary spokesman of WyBett, an anti-casino group.[citation needed] He also worked from 1985 to 1997 as an accountant with an oil drilling company and during the 1990s as an executive director with the Black Hills Corporation, an energy holding company which owns utilities and natural gas and coal mining operations.[citation needed]

U.S. Senate


Enzi was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996. He won a tough primary against orthopedic surgeon John Barrasso, 32% to 30%, before winning the general election by 12 points over former Secretary of State Kathy Karpan. At the time of his election, Enzi was the only accountant in the U.S. Senate.[20] He was reelected by a large margin in 2002. He became the senior U.S. Senator from Wyoming when his colleague Craig L. Thomas died of leukemia on June 4, 2007. Thomas was replaced by Barrasso, a former state senator from Casper.

In 2008 Enzi was reelected to his third term in the U.S. Senate with over 76% of the vote against Democratic opponent Chris Rothfuss, a professor of political science at the University of Wyoming.[21]

Dick Cheney criticized Enzi for receiving funding mainly from Washington-based PACs rather than supporters in his state.[22]

In 2014, Enzi declared his intention to run for a fourth term and was reelected in November with 71% of the vote.[23] No incumbent Wyoming Republican Senator running for reelection in the direct vote era has failed to win his party's nomination.[24] In 2013, Enzi was accused of lying about his friendship with Cheney and relying on political action committee funding in preparation for his reelection campaign and a primary challenge by Liz Cheney.[25] The National Republican Senatorial Committee and Wyoming Republicans supported Enzi.[26]


In 2005 Enzi became the ninth U.S. Senator from Wyoming to ascend to the rank of Chairman on one of the 16 standing committees in the U.S. Senate. He was a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee from his arrival in the U.S. Senate in 1997. During his time as Chairman of the HELP Committee, 37 bills were reported out of the committee, 23 bills passed the Senate, 352 nominations were reported favorably, and 15 laws came through the committee that were signed by President George W. Bush.

In March 2007 National Journal ranked Enzi the sixth-most conservative U.S. Senator.[27]

For his tenure as the chairman of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee in the 116th Congress, Enzi earned an "F" grade from the non-partisan Lugar Center's Congressional Oversight Hearing Index.[28]

Fiscal policy

Enzi supported imposing a new sales tax on internet sales and other sales of interstate commerce. On November 9, 2011, he introduced Senate Bill 1832 which would require businesses to calculate, collect and pay the new tax whenever they sell products or services to consumers from another state, regardless of the manner in which the sale was transacted. The bill provides no exemption for businesses in tax-free states, so even sellers within states that have no sales tax would be required to calculate and pay the new tax.

After the Marketplace Fairness Act (S.1832) failed in the 112th Congress, Enzi reintroduced it (twice) in the 113th Congress as the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 (S.336 and S.743).[29]

Enzi voted for the repeal of legislation governing such things as the estate tax and the "marriage penalty." Enzi was a signer of Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[30]

He supported partial privatization of Social Security and has consistently voted against measures to expand Medicare or to enroll more children or lower-class individuals in public health care.

A strong supporter of the coal industry, Enzi also rejected alternative energy proposals and advocated Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and offshore drilling. He had a somewhat mixed record on trade issues: he voted to approve most free trade bills but rejected the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), one of the largest pieces of such legislation, and was opposed to presidential fast-tracking of trade relation normalization.[31]

Enzi took a hard-line view on illegal immigration and was rated highly by groups that support tighter border controls. He voted in favor of the construction of a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border and against the implementation of guest worker programs. Enzi voted to uphold the PATRIOT Act and was opposed to calls to cut down on wiretapping and to extend rights to Guantanamo Bay detainees. Enzi also rejected calls for a timetable for military withdrawal from Iraq.[31]


Enzi opposed President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009,[32] and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[33]

Enzi was one of the Gang of Six senators working to find a bipartisan solution to health care reform.[34] Speaking on the topic, Enzi told the media, "We all want health care reform that will reduce costs, improve quality and expand access without breaking the bank. The bipartisan talks we're having in the Finance Committee represent the best chance we have of achieving our shared goals, and I urge Democrat (sic) leaders not to close the door on these productive discussions."[35] In 2017, Enzi was part of the group of 13 senators drafting the Senate version of the AHCA behind closed doors.[36][37][38][39]


Enzi was one of 22 senators to sign a letter[40] to President Donald Trump urging the President to have the United States withdraw from the Paris Agreement. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Enzi received over $270,000 from the oil and gas industry from 2012 through the duration of his tenure in the U.S. Senate.[41]

Foreign policy

Despite his strong support of the War in Iraq, he was one of 14 U.S. Senators to vote against the Iraq War funding bill in May 2007 because he opposed the clauses of the bill which increased domestic spending.

In December 2010, Enzi was one of 26 senators who voted against the ratification of New Start,[42] a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation obliging both countries to have no more than 1,550 strategic warheads and 700 launchers deployed during the next seven years, and providing for a continuation of on-site inspections that halted when START I expired the previous year. It was the first arms treaty with Russia in eight years.[43]

Social policy

On social issues, Enzi was strongly conservative. He opposed all types of abortion and voted in favor of proposals that would provide restrictions on the procedure for minors, those stationed on military bases, and other groups. He voted in favor of failed constitutional amendments that suggested banning gay marriage and flag desecration. However, in August 2013, Enzi was the only Republican to sign a letter in support of ending the national ban on donated blood from men who have sex with men.[44] Enzi also was a strong supporter of gun rights and was ranked very favorably by the National Rifle Association (NRA).[31]

In April 2013, Enzi was one of 46 senators to vote against the passing of a bill which would have expanded background checks for all gun buyers. Enzi voted with 40 Republicans and 5 Democrats to stop the passage of the bill. In his blog FiveThirtyEight, statistician Nate Silver predicted a 0% chance of Enzi voting “aye” on the final bill.[45]

Enzi opposed the FIRST STEP Act. The bill passed 87–12 on December 18, 2018.[46]


On May 4, 2019, Enzi announced that he would not seek reelection to a fifth term in the Senate.[47]

Committee assignments


Six months after retiring from the Senate, Enzi was involved in a bicycle accident on July 23, 2021, in which he broke his neck and several ribs.[48] He died three days later at a hospital in Loveland, Colorado, aged 77.[49]

Electoral history

United States Senate election in Wyoming, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Mike Enzi* 121,554 72.19% -3.44
Democratic Charlie Hardy 29,377 17.45%
Independent Curt Gottshall 13,311 7.90%
United States Senate Republican primary election in Wyoming, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Mike Enzi* 77,965 78.51%
Republican Bryan Miller 9,330 9.39%
Republican James "Coaltrain" Gregory 3,740 3.77%
Republican Thomas Bleming 2,504 2.52%
Republican Arthur Bruce Clifton 1,403 1.41%
United States Senate election in Wyoming, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Mike Enzi* 189,046 75.63% + 2.68
Democratic Chris Rothfuss 60,631 24.26%
United States Senate election in Wyoming, 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Mike Enzi* 133,710 72.95% + 18.89
Democratic Joyce Jansa Corcoran 49,570 27.05%
United States Senate Republican primary election in Wyoming, 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Mike Enzi* 78,612 85.87%
Republican Crosby Allen 12,931 14.13%
United States Senate election in Wyoming, 1996
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Mike Enzi 114,116 54.06%
Democratic Kathy Karpan 89,103 42.21%
Libertarian W. David Herbert 5,289 2.51%
Natural Law Lloyd Marsden 2,569 1.22%
United States Senate Republican primary election in Wyoming, 1996
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Mike Enzi 27,056 32.47%
Republican John Barrasso 24,918 29.90%
Republican Curt Meier 14,739 17.69%
Republican Nimi McConigley 6,005 7.21%
Republican Kevin Meenan 6,000 7.20%
Republican Kathleen Jachkowski 2,269 2.72%
Republican Brian Coen 943 1.13%
Republican Cleveland Holloway 874 1.05%
Republican Russ Hanrahan 524 0.63%


  1. ^ "Journal of the Wyoming Senate".
  2. ^ "Chenelectioney, Enzi announce Senate runs". Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  3. ^ "L. Enzi – L. Buckley". FamilyCentral. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 18, 2017. Retrieved March 23, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "About Mike – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi". Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  6. ^ Townley, Alvin (December 26, 2006). Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 239. ISBN 0-312-36653-1. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  7. ^ "Distinguished Eagle Scouts" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 12, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  8. ^ "Sen. Mike Enzi Takes Account of Washington". Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  9. ^ "ByGeorge!". Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress – Retro Member details". Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  11. ^ "Veterans in the US Senate 109th Congress" (PDF). Navy League. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 28, 2007. Retrieved December 9, 2006.
  12. ^ "About Mike". Mike Enzi Senate. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  13. ^ Miniclier, Kit. "Wyo. U.S. Senate race is close: Both candidates are scrambling for votes and campaign funds". Denver Post.
  14. ^ "City to levy $2 million". Casper Star-Tribune. July 25, 1974. p. 17. Archived from the original on July 27, 2021 – via
  15. ^ "Mineral activity puts Wyoming on the map for more easterners". Casper Star-Tribune. December 23, 1974. p. 11. Archived from the original on July 27, 2021 – via
  16. ^ "City officials take office". Casper Star-Tribune. January 9, 1975. p. 17. Archived from the original on July 27, 2021 – via
  17. ^ "Mayor receives appointment". Casper Star-Tribune. February 22, 1975. p. 7. Archived from the original on July 27, 2021 – via
  18. ^ "Seat filled". Casper Star-Tribune. May 2, 1976. p. 43. Archived from the original on July 27, 2021 – via
  19. ^ "New commission created". Casper Star-Tribune. July 5, 1979. p. 24. Archived from the original on July 27, 2021 – via
  20. ^ "Senator's Biography". Archived from the original on June 24, 2013. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  21. ^ "Sen. Mike Enzi to seek re-election". UPI. March 26, 2008. Archived from the original on July 21, 2009. Retrieved May 6, 2008.
  22. ^ Bell, Benjamin (October 27, 2013). "Dick Cheney Slams Sen. Mike Enzi on Fundraising, Says They Aren't Fishing Buddies". ABC News. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  23. ^ "Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi announces he will seek re-election in 2014". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Archived from the original on July 17, 2013.
  24. ^ Ostermeier, Eric (July 9, 2013). "Could Liz Cheney End Wyoming's GOP Incumbency Streak?". Smart Politics.
  25. ^ Blake, Aaron (October 27, 2013). "Dick Cheney: Enzi lied about us being fishing buddies". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  26. ^ Camia, Catalina (July 16, 2013). "Dick Cheney's daughter jumps into Wyo. Senate race". USA Today. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  27. ^ "Political Arithmetik: National Journal 2006 Liberal/Conservative Scores". March 5, 2007. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  28. ^ "Congressional Oversight Hearing Index". Welcome to the Congressional Oversight Hearing Index. The Lugar Center.
  29. ^ "S.743 – Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013". Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  30. ^ "The Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers 112th Congressional List" (PDF). Americans for Tax Reform. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  31. ^ a b c "Michael Enzi on the Issues". On the Issues. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  32. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress – 1st Session: On Passage of the Bill (H.R. 3590 as Amended". Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  33. ^ "Roll Call Vote 111th Congress – 2nd Session:On Passage of the Bill (H.R. 4872 As Amended)". Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  34. ^ "Health Care Battle: Abortion, Public Plan Among Hurdles in Senate Debate". Fox News. November 19, 2009. Archived from the original on November 22, 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2009.
  35. ^ "Enzi: Don't Close the Door on Bipartisan Health Care Talks". September 9, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  36. ^ Bash, Dana; Fox, Lauren; Barrett, Ted (May 9, 2017). "GOP defends having no women in health care group". CNN. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  37. ^ Bryan, Bob (June 9, 2017). "'We have no idea what's being proposed': Democratic senator gives impassioned speech on GOP healthcare bill secrecy". Business Insider. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  38. ^ Litvan, Laura (June 13, 2017). "Senate Republicans Are Writing Obamacare Repeal Behind Closed Doors". Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  39. ^ Scott, Dylan (June 9, 2017). "Senate Republicans are closer to repealing Obamacare than you think". Vox. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  40. ^ Inhofe, James. "Senator". Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  41. ^ McCarthy, Tom; Gambino, Lauren (June 1, 2017). "The Republicans who urged Trump to pull out of Paris deal are big oil darlings". The Guardian. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  42. ^ Memmott, Mark (December 22, 2010). "Senate Ratifies START". NPR. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
  43. ^ Baker, Peter (December 22, 2010). "Senate Passes Arms Control Treaty With Russia, 71–26". The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  44. ^ Cox, Ramsey (August 5, 2013). "82 lawmakers ask for end to ban on gay men donating blood". The Hill. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  45. ^ Silver, Nate (April 18, 2013). "Modeling the Senate's Vote on Gun Control". The New York Times.
  46. ^ LeVine, Marianne (December 18, 2018). "Senate approves Trump-backed criminal justice overhaul". Politico. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  47. ^ Everett, Burgess (May 4, 2019). "Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi will not run for reelection next year". Politico. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  48. ^ "Former U.S. Senator Mike Enzi hospitalized after bike accident". Gillette News Record. Retrieved July 26, 2021.
  49. ^ Kane, Paul (July 27, 2021). "Former senator Mike Enzi dies after being injured in bike accident". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 27, 2021.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Alan Simpson
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Wyoming
(Class 2)

1996, 2002, 2008, 2014
Succeeded by
Cynthia Lummis
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Alan Simpson
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Wyoming
Served alongside: Craig Thomas, John Barrasso
Succeeded by
Cynthia Lummis
Preceded by
Judd Gregg
Chair of the Senate Health Committee
Succeeded by
Ted Kennedy
Preceded by
Ted Kennedy
Ranking Member of the Senate Health Committee
Succeeded by
Lamar Alexander
Preceded by
Patty Murray
Chair of the Senate Budget Committee
Succeeded by
Bernie Sanders
This page was last edited on 27 July 2021, at 19:14
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