By Matt Micheli, columnist
The world needs more Mike Enzi’s. Literally, for as long as I can remember, Mike Enzi has been my political hero. I have always admired his roll up your sleeves problem solving attitude and his willingness to work towards actual solutions.
Senator Enzi is the antithesis to the performative politics we see so much of today. He was often referred to as the “work horse” of the Senate. Put the plow in the ground and keep going until the job is done.
More than that, he did his job with humility and grace that only comes from a true public servant. Someone that always puts the people first.
I have many wonderful memories of Senator Enzi, but perhaps my favorite was listening to him tell the story of introducing a prayer breakfast to the country of Jordan. You could feel his faith, his love of God and his love for his fellow man as he introduced this tradition to a country that desperately needed it.
Through Senator Enzi, I learned the true power of prayer. For years, Senator Enzi led the bipartisan Senate prayer breakfast. Senator Enzi knew that coming together and praying together unites people in a cause like nothing else you can do on this earth. True, sincere and humble prayer. That is what I think of when I think of Senator Enzi.
Senator Inoufe told the following account in his remarks about Mike Enzi on the Senate floor:
“Mike had a story he’d tell about his approach to tough problems. I’ve probably heard this story 50 times, but I still wish I could hear him tell it one more time. I’ll try to do it justice.
He was with Paul, a local leader in South Africa, on one of his first visits. Mike asked Paul what he could do for him. Paul asked Mike to pray, and Mike said he would pray for solutions. The way Mike told it, Paul leapt up, slammed his fist on the table and exclaimed NO! He said we pray for the people – then the issues will solve themselves. Pray for the people.
Mike took that to heart and truly lived it. He kept the people as his focus, knowing that by doing so, the solutions would follow.”
That anecdote sums up Senator Enzi perfectly. He always cared more about the people than his own fame or power. Everything he did was focused on the people. By focusing on prayer and the people, he made an incredible difference for this country.
He sponsored and passed more than 100 pieces of legislation, many of those of monumental importance. He helped saved millions of lives with his work on aids and aids funding. He did more to try to fix our nation’s budget problems than almost any other person on earth.
He changed our world for the better in innumerable ways. Through all that, he never sought personal fame or glory. Thoughtful. Humble. Prayerful.
Even knowing how much respected Senator Enzi, I was surprised at how much his passing hit me. I will certainly miss him, but it feels more like a changing of the guard.
It feels like we are losing something that I cherish and admire. Politics in Wyoming and in this country have far too few Mike Enzi’s.
We have far too many public servants that care more about their own performative political theatre rather than results. We have far too many members of the voting public that would rather see their representatives “own the libs” or “destroy the conservatives” than make our communities, our state and our country a better place.
I pray for our leaders. I pray that Mike Enzi’s example will be his legacy. That our state and local leaders will be the humble and servant leaders that they saw in Mike. I pray for more Mike Enzi’s to step forward. Heaven knows we need it.