Senator's Biography

Senate Service

Michael B. Enzi was sworn in as Wyoming's 20th United States Senator on January 7, 1997.

Enzi has made a name on Capitol Hill for his unique way of breaking down party lines and working across the aisle. 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. 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.

At the start of the 109th Congress in 2005 Enzi became the ninth Wyoming senator to ascend to the rank of chairman on one of the 16 standing Senate committees. Enzi has been a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, since his arrival in the senate in 1997. Having served both as Chairman and Ranking Member, Enzi led the Senate in its efforts to help ensure that everyone, no matter their age, can receive a quality education. 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 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 Bush. Enzi is currently the Republican Leader of the HELP Subcommittee on Children and Families.

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.

Enzi has been a quiet leader moving the U.S. forward in its battle against AIDS on the world front. He continues efforts to open Cuba up to travel, trade and most importantly new ideas.

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 was one of only two Congressional representatives to the U.N. General Assembly in the 108th Congress. He has authored innovative legislation that would reinvent our medical justice system.

Enzi was the Senate's only accountant up until January 2011. He served 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. He is also able to use his accounting knowledge as a member of the Senate Finance Committee. He is currently a member of the Finance Subcommittee on Taxation and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Oversight; as well as the Finance Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure.

As a new member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Enzi will be directly involved in the oversight of government operations. He will be able to contribute to legislation that focuses on the efficiency and effectiveness of all agencies and departments of the federal government.

As a senior member of the Senate Budget Committee has contributed to a more punctual and fiscally responsible federal spending blueprint the past few years and he continues to press for a balanced federal budget and payment of our national debt.

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 current 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. Mike is a champion of small business and community service.

Enzi has two daughters and one son; Amy, Emily and Brad. He has four grandchildren; Megan, Allison, Trey, and Lilly.

Enzi's wife Diana has a bachelor's degree from the University of Wyoming as well as a master's degree in adult education. Diana is part of Senate Spouses, former President of the Congressional Club and past President of the International Club and a volunteer for several organizations. Diana is also working hard to save lives. In partnership with the Marshall Legacy Institute she 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. Diana hopes schoolchildren in other states will follow suit.

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. He is an avid hunter, fly fisherman, bicyclist, and reader. He is a past co-chair on the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus. He and his son Brad built their own canoe as a family project. He was a youth soccer coach for 10 years.

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