|United States Senator
January 3, 1997
Serving with John Barrasso
|Preceded by||Alan Simpson|
|Chair of the Senate Budget Committee|
January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Patty Murray|
|Chair of the Senate Health Committee|
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Judd Gregg|
|Succeeded by||Ted Kennedy|
|Member of the Wyoming Senate
from the 24th district
January 1991 – January 3, 1997
|Succeeded by||Richard Erb|
|Mayor of Gillette|
|Preceded by||Cliff Davis|
|Succeeded by||Herb Carter|
|Born||Michael Bradley Enzi
February 1, 1944
Bremerton, Washington, U.S.
|Education||George Washington University (BS)
University of Denver (MBA)
|Service/branch||United States Air Force|
|Years of service||1967–1973|
|Unit||Wyoming Air National Guard|
Raised in Thermopolis, Wyoming, Enzi attended George Washington University and the University of Denver. He expanded his father's shoe store business in Gillette before being elected mayor of Gillette in 1974. In the late 1970s he worked in the United States Department of the Interior. He served as a state legislator in the Wyoming House of Representatives from 1987 to 1991 and the Wyoming Senate from 1991 to 1997. During the 1980s and 1990s he worked as an accountant and executive director in the energy industry.
Enzi won a tight primary for election to the U.S. Senate in 1996 and was re-elected by large margins in 2002 and 2008. Since his election, he has consistently been ranked as one of the most conservative members of the Senate. He is the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. He was a member of the 2009 Gang of Six which attempted to negotiate health care reform.
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. 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. He is an Eagle Scout and a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America.
Enzi received a degree in accounting from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1966. He is also a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. He received an M.B.A. in retail marketing from the University of Denver in Colorado in 1968. He also served in the Wyoming Air National Guard from 1967 to 1973. On June 7, 1969, Enzi married the former Diana Buckley; the couple has two daughters (Amy and Emily) and a son (Brad), as well as four grandchildren (Trey, Lily Grace, Megan Riley, and Allison Quinn).
Soon after his marriage, Enzi moved to Gillette, where he expanded his father's shoe-sale business, NZ Shoes, which later also featured locations in Sheridan and in Miles City, Montana. As a young business owner, he served as president of the Wyoming chapter of the United States Junior Chamber.
Enzi was elected as Mayor of Gillette, in 1974 at the age of 30 and held the position for two terms. He served until 1982, and during his tenure, the city doubled in size. From 1976 to 1979, Enzi worked with the U.S. Department of Interior on energy policy via its Coal Advisory Committee.
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. While a member of the State Senate, Enzi became a vocal opponent of proposals to allow legalized gambling within his state. He served as the primary spokesman of WyBett, an anti-casino group in 1994 . During this time period, he also worked professionally as an accountant with an oil drilling company, holding this job from 1985 to 1997. During the 1990s, he also worked as an executive director with the Black Hills Corporation, an energy holding company that owns utilities and natural gas and coal mining operations.
Enzi was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996. He endured a tough primary challenge during his first campaign, before winning the general election by an 8-point margin. At the time of his election, Enzi was the only accountant in the U.S. Senate. Enzi won re-election by a very comfortable margin in 2002. He became the senior U.S. Senator from Wyoming when his colleague Craig L. Thomas died on June 4, 2007, from leukemia. His new colleague is fellow Republican John Barrasso, a former State Senator from Casper, whom Enzi, as a then-State Senator himself, only narrowly defeated in the 1996 senatorial primary by 32% to 30%.
Enzi was re-elected to his third term in the U.S. Senate in 2008 with over 76% of the vote in 2008 against Democratic opponent Chris Rothfuss, a professor of political science at the University of Wyoming.
Dick Cheney criticized him for receiving funding mainly from Washington-based PACs rather than supporters in his state.
Enzi declared his intention to run for a fourth term in July 2014 and was re-elected in November with 71 percent of the vote. No incumbent Wyoming Republican Senator running for re-election in the direct vote era has failed to win their party's nomination. In 2013, Enzi was accused of lying about his friendship with former Vice President Dick Cheney and relying on political action committee funding in preparation for his reelection campaign and a primary challenge by Liz Cheney. The National Republican Senatorial Committee and Wyoming Republicans supported Enzi.
Enzi was ranked by National Journal as the sixth-most conservative U.S. Senator in its March 2007 conservative/liberal rankings. 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. Enzi has been a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee since 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 U.S. Senate, 352 nominations were reported favorably, and 15 laws came through the committee that were eventually signed by President George W. Bush.
Enzi supports 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 is 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.
A strong supporter of the coal industry, Enzi also rejects alternative energy proposals and advocates Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and offshore drilling. Enzi's committee led the first revisions to mine safety laws in 28 years by promoting the use of new technologies to improve mine safety and save lives. He has a somewhat mixed record on trade issues: he has voted to approve most free trade bills but has rejected the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), one of the largest pieces of such legislation, and is opposed to presidential fast-tracking of trade relation normalization.
Enzi takes a hard-line view on illegal immigration and has been rated highly by groups that support tighter border controls. He has voted in favor of the construction of a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border and against the implementation of guest worker programs. Enzi has voted to uphold the PATRIOT Act and is 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.
Enzi opposed President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009, and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
Enzi was one of the Gang of Six senators working to find a bipartisan solution to health care reform. 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."
The National Patient Advocate Foundation praised him for his efforts in reforming healthcare.
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 increase domestic spending.
On social issues, Enzi is strongly conservative. He opposes all types of abortion and has voted in favor of proposals that would provide restrictions on the procedure for minors, those stationed on military bases, and other groups. He has 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. Enzi also is a strong supporter of gun rights and is ranked very favorably by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
In April 2013, Senator Enzi was one of forty-six 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. NY Times predicted a 0% chance of Senator Enzi voting Yay on the bill.
|United States Senate Republican primary election in Wyoming, 2014|
|Republican||James "Coaltrain" Gregory||3,740||3.77%|
|Republican||Arthur Bruce Clifton||1,403||1.41%|
|Republican||Mike Enzi*||189,046||75.63%||+ 2.68|
|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|
|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 political offices|
|Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Wyoming
1996, 2002, 2008, 2014
|United States Senate|
|U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Wyoming
Served alongside: Craig Thomas, John Barrasso
|Chair of the Senate Health Committee
|Ranking Member of the Senate Health Committee
|Chair of the Senate Budget Committee
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Senators by seniority