Mike Enzi

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Mike Enzi
Mike Enzi official portrait.jpg
United States Senator
from Wyoming
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 1997
Serving with John Barrasso
Preceded by Alan Simpson
Chairperson of the Senate Budget Committee
Designate
Taking office
January 3, 2015
Succeeding Patty Murray
Chairperson of the Senate Health Committee
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Judd Gregg
Succeeded by Ted Kennedy
Member of the Wyoming Senate
from the 24th district
In office
January 1991 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by  ???
Succeeded by Richard Erb
Mayor of Gillette
In office
1975–1982
Preceded by Cliff Davis
Succeeded by Herb Carter
Personal details
Born Michael Bradley Enzi
(1944-02-01) February 1, 1944 (age 70)
Bremerton, Washington, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Diana Buckley
Children 3
Alma mater George Washington University
University of Denver
Religion Presbyterianism
Website Senate website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Air National Guard
Years of service 1967–1973
Unit Wyoming Air National Guard

Michael Bradley "Mike" Enzi (/ˈɛnzi/; born February 1, 1944) is an American politician who is the senior United States Senator from Wyoming, serving since 1997. He is 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 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 ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which he chaired from 2005 to 2007. He was a member of the 2009 Gang of Six which attempted to negotiate health care reform.

On July 16, 2013, Enzi disclosed that he would seek a fourth term as senator in the 2014 election .[1]

Early life, education, and business career[edit]

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.[2][3] 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.[4][5]

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.[6] 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).[7]

Soon after his marriage, Enzi moved to Gillette, where he expanded his father's shoe-sale business,[8] 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.

Early political career[edit]

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 [1]. 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.

U.S. Senate[edit]

Elections[edit]

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.[9] 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 is currently serving his third term in the U.S. Senate which he won with over 76% of the vote in 2008 against Democratic opponent Chris Rothfuss, a professor of political science at the University of Wyoming.[10]

Dick Cheney criticized him for receiving funding mainly from Washington-based PACs rather than supporters in his state.[11]

Enzi has declared his intention to run for a fourth term in 2014.[12] No incumbent Wyoming Republican Senator running for re-election in the direct vote era has failed to win their party's nomination.[13] 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 Lynne Cheney.[14] The National Republican Senatorial Committee and Wyoming Republicans have said they will support Enzi.[15]

Tenure[edit]

Enzi was ranked by National Journal as the sixth-most conservative U.S. Senator in its March 2007 conservative/liberal rankings.[16] 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.

Fiscal policy

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.

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).[17]

Enzi has voted for the repeal of legislation governing such things as the estate tax and the "marriage penalty." Enzi is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[18]

He supports 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 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.[19]

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.[19]

Enzi opposed President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009,[20] and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[21]

Enzi was one of the Gang of Six senators working to find a bipartisan solution to health care reform.[22] 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."[23]

The National Patient Advocate Foundation praised him for his efforts in reforming healthcare.[24]

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 increase domestic spending.

Social policy

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.[25] Enzi also is a strong supporter of gun rights and is ranked very favorably by the National Rifle Association (NRA).[19]

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.[26]

Committee assignments[edit]

Election history[edit]

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 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%

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Enzi won his fourth term on November 4, 2014 securing 72% of the vote.Template:Cite .web
  2. ^ "L. Enzi - L. Buckley". FamilyCentral. Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  3. ^ http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~battle/senators/enzi.htm
  4. ^ Townley, Alvin (2006-12-26). 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 2006-12-29. 
  5. ^ "Distinguished Eagle Scouts". Scouting.org. Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  6. ^ "Veterans in the US Senate 109th Congress" (PDF). Navy League. Archived from the original on 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2006-12-09. 
  7. ^ "About Mike". Mike Enzi Senate. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  8. ^ Miniclier, Kit. "Wyo. U.S. Senate race is close: Both candidates are scrambling for votes and campaign funds". Denver Post. 
  9. ^ "Senator's Biography". Senate.gov. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "Sen. Mike Enzi to seek re-election". UPI. 2008-03-26. Retrieved 2008-05-06. 
  11. ^ Bell, Benjamin (27 October 2013). "Dick Cheney Slams Sen. Mike Enzi on Fundraising, Says They Aren’t Fishing Buddies". ABC News. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  12. ^ "Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi announces he will seek re-election in 2014". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. [dead link]
  13. ^ Ostermeier, Eric (July 9, 2013). "Could Liz Cheney End Wyoming's GOP Incumbency Streak?". Smart Politics. 
  14. ^ Blake, Aaron (27 October 2013). "Dick Cheney: Enzi lied about us being fishing buddies". Washington Post. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  15. ^ Camia, Catalina (July 16, 2013). "Dick Cheney's daughter jumps into Wyo. Senate race". USA Today. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  16. ^ "Political Arithmetik: National Journal 2006 Liberal/Conservative Scores". Politicalarithmetik.blogspot.com. 2007-03-05. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  17. ^ "Bill Summary and Status - S.743 - 113th Congress". Library of Congress. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  18. ^ "The Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers 112th Congressional List". Americans for Tax Reform. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  19. ^ a b c "Michael Enzi on the Issues". Ontheissues.org. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  20. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress - 1st Session - Question: On Passage of the Bill (H.R. 3590 as Amended)". 
  21. ^ "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Senate.gov. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  22. ^ "Health Care Battle: Abortion, Public Plan Among Hurdles in Senate Debate". Fox News. November 19, 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Enzi: Don’t Close the Door on Bipartisan Health Care Talks". September 9, 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  24. ^ "National Patient Advocate Foundation Praises Senator Mike Enzi for Introducing Legislation to Increase Access to Health Care for All Americans". PR Newswire. 17 July 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  25. ^ Cox, Ramsey (2013-08-05). "82 lawmakers ask for end to ban on gay men donating blood". The Hill. Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  26. ^ Silver, Nate (April 18, 2013). "Modeling the Senate's Vote on Gun Control". The New York Times. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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

1996, 2002, 2008, 2014
Most recent
United States Senate
Preceded by
Alan Simpson
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Wyoming
1997–present
Served alongside: Craig Thomas, John Barrasso
Incumbent
Preceded by
Judd Gregg
Chairperson of the Senate Health Committee
2005–2007
Succeeded by
Ted Kennedy
Preceded by
Patty Murray
Chairperson of the Senate Budget Committee
Designate

2015–present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Susan Collins
United States Senators by seniority
25th
Succeeded by
Chuck Schumer