Mike Enzi

From Citizendium
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is developing and not approved.
Main Article
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
This editable Main Article is under development and subject to a disclaimer.

Michael B. "Mike" Enzi (1944-) is a member of the U.S. Senate (R-Wyoming) who took office in 1997. In his official biography, he speaks of "his unique way of breaking down party lines and working across the aisle. Enzi believes that people can agree on 80 percent of the issues 80 percent of the time and if they leave the other 20 percent out they can get a lot done. With that mentality he has turned one of the most contentious Senate committees into one of the most productive."[1] Ranked as the 5th most conservative senator by the National Journal, he worked closely with the liberal Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass) on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee before Kennedy's death; he is a key player in finding a national healthcare solution. He is also known for fighting unsuccessfully to bring his laptop onto the Senate floor. [2]

His way of working across party lines is gaining momentum around the nation’s capital. Since 2005, under his 80 percent rule he has had 39 bills go through the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and be signed into law by the President. The average committee gets 3 bills passed every 2 years.

Current committee assignments; he is on all three committees that are dealing with healthcare reform.


Enzi worked to help provide Americans access to affordable, quality health care while protecting workers and providing them training to get the best jobs. Enzi also worked to oversee the biggest revision to pension laws in 30 years to strengthen funding rules to secure the retirements of millions of Americans. Enzi’s committee also led the way to making the first revision to mine safety laws in 28 years by promoting the use of new technologies to improve mine safety and save lives.

During the 2009 health-reform debate, Enzi was the only senator to sit on all three committees related to the issue: Finance, Budget and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), on which he was the ranking Republican.

Enzi opposed the broad outlines of President Obama’s health-care plan, instead favoring a free-market approach. Yet attending the March 2009 White House Forum on Health Care Reform, Enzi told the Casper Star-Tribune that "We've got both sides working toward having hopefully 80 votes out of 100 to get this done."[3] He is a member of the key "Group of Six" bipartisan senators, working to find an acceptable position, although he has said he expects to extract Democratic concessions rather than compromise. He gave the weekly Republican radio response, to which Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs said

Certainly, I think the radio address over the weekend by Sen. Enzi, repeating many of the generic Republican talking points that Republicans are using that have bragged about being opposed to health care, are tremendously unfortunate, but in some ways illuminating...It appears that, at least in Sen. Enzi’s case, he doesn’t believe there’s a pathway to get bipartisan support...Sen. Enzi’s clearly turned over his cards on bipartisanship and decided that it’s time to walk away from the table.[4]

Energy and environment

Find more and use less is Enzi’s motto when it comes to energy production and he knows Wyoming is the state to provide energy to the world as we embrace renewable fuels. Enzi has made a point to educate his colleagues about the array of energy Wyoming produces and can continue to produce into the future. He supports legislation that promotes Wyoming’s clean burning coal, natural gas, methane gas, oil and wind energy. Enzi is working with other western senators to increase federal support for coal-to-liquid technology.

In the final hours of the 109th Congress Enzi was instrumental in passage of legislation that will provide a projected $1.6 billion to Wyoming over the next 15 years from the Abandoned Mine Land fund.


Worldwide AIDS is one of his causes. He continues efforts to open Cuba up to travel, trade and most importantly new ideas. He was one of only two Congressional representatives to the United Nations General Assembly in the 108th Congress.

In partnership with the Marshall Legacy Institute, his wife Diana is working to provide countries infested with land mines with specially trained landmine detecting dogs and handlers to find and eliminate the mines. Diana started the CHAMPS or CHildren Against the Mine Problem program. School children across Wyoming gave a quarter and helped raise enough money to send a dog, aptly named "Wyoming", to Sri Lanka.

Human resources

Enzi helped author the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act which would create a streamlined job training and employment system vital to employers and workers. He formed the Rural Education Caucus and strives to ensure the unique challenges small population schools face are not overlooked in federal education legislation. He has authored innovative legislation that would reinvent our medical justice system.


Enzi is the Senate's only accountant by profession and he serves with distinction on the Senate Banking Committee. It does not bear his name, but there is a large part of Enzi in the Sarbanes-Oxley bill, bipartisan legislation that continues to have a greater impact on corporate behavior and financial reporting than any legislation of the recent past. There are provisions in the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act authored by Enzi regarding financial literacy and identity theft that will have a profound positive effect on many Americans.


Enzi has stood beside the independent ranchers and farmers of our nation during times of drought, disease, foreign competition, industry concentration and predator infestation, sponsoring bills taking on captive supply problems, country of origin labeling and endangered species reform.

A former small business owner and member of the Senate Small Business Committee, Enzi has remained a strong advocate of small businesses by promoting or preventing legislation depending on its effect on small businesses in the same manner he advocates for rural interests. Small businesses and individual entrepreneurs and inventors have benefitted from special conferences organized by Enzi.

Enzi values our public lands. He advocates both access and responsible utilization and consideration of the local perspective in natural resource management decisions.

Pre-Senate Service and Family

Enzi was born on February 1, 1944 in Bremerton, Washington while his father was serving our country in the naval shipyards during World War II. Enzi and his family moved to Thermopolis, Wyoming shortly after his birth where he attended elementary school. He graduated from Sheridan High School in 1962. He continued his education in Washington, D.C. at George Washington University. After completing his accounting degree in 1966, he went on to the University of Denver where he earned a Master's Degree in Retail Marketing in 1968. Enzi is a Rapport Leadership Institute Master Grad.

After marrying Diana (Buckley) in 1969, Enzi and his wife moved to Gillette, Wyoming where they started their own small business, NZ Shoes, with stores later in Sheridan, Wyoming and Miles City, Montana. Gillette has been his home ever since. He served as president of the Wyoming Jaycees (1973-1974).

At age 30 he was elected to the first of his two four-year terms as Mayor of Gillette, providing leadership as the city more than doubled in size. He served on the Department of Interior Coal Advisory Committee (1976- 1979), traveling to Washington, D.C. to give advice on coal leasing and other coal issues. He has served his county and state as a State Representative, elected three times beginning in 1987 and a State Senator (1991-1996).

Enzi also served his country as a staff sergeant in the Wyoming Air National Guard (1967-1973), and he is now cofounder and chairman of the U.S. Air Force Caucus for the U.S. Senate.

He was president of the Wyoming Association of Municipalities (1980-1982), a member of the Energy Council Executive Committee (1989-1993, 1994-1996), a commissioner of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (1995-1996) and served on the Education Commission of the States (1989-1993). He was a member of the founding board of directors of First Wyoming Bank of Gillette (1978-1988) and an employee of a small business, Dunbar Well Service (1985-1997), where he worked as accounting manager and computer programmer. He was a director of the Black Hills Corporation (1992-1996), a New York Stock Exchange Company. Enzi was a spokesperson for WyBett, an organization which successfully opposed gambling in Wyoming. Enzi is an elder in the Presbyterian Church and taught the high school Sunday school class for more than 10 years. Enzi's love for Wyoming grew as he became an Eagle Scout. He has been honored as a Distinguished Eagle by Scouts and Significant Sig by Sigma Chi Fraternity.


  1. Biography: Mike Enzi, United States Senate
  2. "Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.)", WhoRunsGov, a Washington Post publication
  3. Allison Rupp (5 March 2009), "Enzi has hope for health care reform", Trib.com
  4. Susan Davis (31 August 2009), "Gibbs Tells Off Sen. Enzi Over Health Care Remarks", Wall Street Journal