By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi on Wednesday thanked the residents of Wyoming for their continued support in his U.S. Senate career.
On Wednesday, Enzi delivered his farewell speech to the Senate, just a few weeks before his term is officially over and U.S. Sen.-elect Cynthia Lummis steps into the role, becoming Wyoming’s first woman senator in the process.
Enzi used the occasion to discuss his philosophies of governing and thank the Wyoming voters who kept him in the Senate for four terms.
“You have supported me more than anyone can truly comprehend,” he said. “In no uncertain terms, I couldn’t have done it without you. It has been more than 50 amazing years together, and I look forward to our next adventure together.”
Enzi has been in politics for nearly half a century, starting when he ran for mayor of Gillette in 1974 and going on to serve two terms in the office. He has risen up the political ranks since then, serving as a sate legislator before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the great people of Wyoming in this position for the last 24 years,” Enzi said. “I have really enjoyed being a senator. Not for the title, not for the recognition and certainly not for publicity. I love solving problems for folks in Wyoming and America.”
He credited former U.S. Sen. Al Simpson for inspiring him to go into politics, saying he met the Wyoming Republican during an event more than 50 years ago.
“After I gave my pitch on leadership training, and how important it was, Sen. Simpson took me aside and said, ‘I don’t even know what party you’re in, but it’s time you put your money where your mouth is on this leadership stuff and get into politics. That town you live in, Gillette, needs a mayor,'” Enzi said. “My wife Diana and I had moved to Gillette a few years earlier. The town was facing a crisis as the discovery of oil, gas and coal turned it into a boom town. The population started to skyrocket and city services were not keeping up.”
Enzi admitted that when he told his wife, Diana, that night he was considering running for mayor, she was so surprised she nearly drove off the road.
During his remarks, Enzi offered advice for finding common ground, citing his “80% tool” as an effective way of making change for the American people. The tool involves urging people with differing interests to spend time addressing the 80% of the items they can agree on rather than arguing about the 20% of the items they disagree on.
He also highlighted his office mission statement, which is guided by three principles: Doing what is right, doing our best, and treating others as they wish to be treated.