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Mike Enzi

Enzi’s Memorial Will Be Held Aug. 6 In Gillette

in Wyoming Obituary/News

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Mike Enzi was born February 1, 1944 to Dorothy and Elmer Enzi in Bremerton, WA.

While he wasn’t born in Wyoming, he always said he got there as quick as he could. He learned many lessons in his schooling in Thermopolis, Sheridan, George Washington University, and Denver University, and continued his learning through career options and prolific reading.

He wrote a book report for each book he read and took his situational learning on to new scenarios throughout his life.

His creed: Faith, Family, Friends, and Fishing.  

Faith was important. He lived his Faith in church attendance (wherever he was in the world), as a high school Sunday school teacher, through his daily devotionals, his weekly prayer breakfast meetings, National Prayer breakfast, and sharing how God provides. 

Aside from his decision to follow Christ, the next best decision he ever made was marrying Diana.

Family meant everything. From his parents, sister Marilyn, cousins, and grandparents, he learned the importance of family.  He extended those lessons when he married Diana June 7, 1969 and opened NZ Shoes in Gillette. He had three children, Amy (Mike), Brad, and Emily (Mike).

He had four grandchildren: Trey, Lilly, Megan, and Allison.

Grampa proudly held them each on the day they were born. He built a treehouse for them. He proudly participated in all family activities, even when he had to drive all night to do so.

Family was precious to him. Friends— He had a vast collection of friends he cherished. He was always pleased to spend time with friends at various events throughout his life.

This included the more than 200 members of “Team Enzi” who worked for him over his many years in public service, which he and Diana supported like a family. 

Some of his accomplishments that he was most proud of included being a husband, dad, Grampa, friend, Eagle Scout, soccer coach, basketball fan, Scout leader, Air National Guard veteran, mayor, legislator, and U.S. senator. 

He enjoyed legislating and working to find solutions and often touted his 80/20% tool to solve problems, where he advocated focusing on the 80% of an issue people agreed on and leaving out or finding another way to work on the 20% that was more contentious. 

Mike’s passion was fishing. He didn’t go anywhere without a rod and reel and a spare. It was not uncommon for him to pull over and cast his line as he traveled Wyoming. 

Mike passed away peacefully on July 26, 2021, surrounded by his family.

He left us with important lessons: Faith, Family, Friends, and Fishing, TIGAPA— Trust in God and push ahead—, and the mission statement: “Do your best. Do what’s right. Treat others as you want to be treated.”

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Project Mercy, Mike and Diana Enzi Scholarship Fund at the University of Wyoming, and the Wyoming Community Foundation Mike & Diana Enzi Charitable Fund.

Celebration of life  for Mike Enzi will be held at 1:00 p.m., Friday, August 6, 2021 at Pronghorn Center 3807 College Dr. Gillette, WY; with Pastor Donavon Voigt officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Project Mercy, Mike and Diana Enzi Scholarship Fund at the University of Wyoming, and the Wyoming Community Foundation Mike & Diana Enzi Charitable Fund.

Memorials and condolences may be sent in Mike’s name in care of Gillette Memorial Chapel 210 West 5th Street, Gillette, WY 82716. Condolences may also be expressed at www.gillettememorialchapel.com

Simpson Mourns Loss Of Mike Enzi

in News

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

Former U.S. Sen. Al Simpson takes credit for starting the late Mike Enzi’s political career.

“He was one of my early people in Campbell County,” Simpson told Cowboy State Daily. “And then I was at a Jaycee’s convention here at the Cody auditorium in the early 1970s, and I was to speak. They (Enzi and his wife Diana) were at a table with us. He got up and he spoke, then he came back to the table. 

“And I leaned over and told him, ‘There are people who are really ready to do something for their community, for their county and for the state. And you look like one of those.’ And I just put it on him,” he continued.

But the funniest incident came later that evening, Simpson recalled.

“Diana said, ‘What did Al talk to you about?’ and Mike said, ‘He told me I should run for Mayor.’ And she nearly wrecked the car.”

With the sudden death of his friend and colleague after a bicycle accident this week, Simpson said the state lost an inspirational leader — and tragically, Enzi’s life ended just as his long-awaited retirement was getting started.

“You’d call him, and his answering machine would pick up and say, ‘Retired Mike Enzi!’ Yes, Retired Mike Enzi,’” Simpson said, laughing. “He was full of life and humor.”

Simpson pointed out that Enzi was one of the few politicians in Congress who wasn’t afraid to cross party lines to get things done.

“You don’t get anything done by just saying, ‘Look at me, I’m a big Democrat, and I don’t care about Republicans,’ or ‘I’m a big Republican, I don’t care about Democrats,’” Simpson said. “If those are the people that are going to get in to Congress, then you may as well send zombies. They don’t work with anybody, and that’s what’s killing the country – and he never bought into that.”

The loss that Simpson said he is experiencing is hard to put into words, but he said there is a sentiment that fits the situation

.“There is an old Indian phrase in Shoshone,” Simpson noted. “It’s ‘Our hearts are on the ground.’ And they are.”

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State Officials Join Delegation In Mourning Enzi’s Death

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

State officials around Wyoming mourned the death of former U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi on Tuesday, remembering him as someone who always worked for Wyoming.

Gov. Mark Gordon, who ordered all American and Wyoming flags flown at half-staff Tuesday in Enzi’s honor, remembered the four-term U.S. senator as a dedicated public servant.

“Mike was a friend and a dedicated public servant who cared deeply about Wyoming and its people,” he said. “His leadership in the Senate was tireless and productive. He was a strong advocate for the state’s interests and was always committed to finding consensus where possible. He understood what is important for America.”

Enzi, 77, died late Monday after suffering serious injuries in a bicycle wreck in Gillette on Friday. According to a post on his Facebook page, he never regained consciousness after being taken by air ambulance to the UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colorado.

Secretary of State Ed Buchanan referred to Enzi as a quiet but effective legislator.

“I met Senator Enzi while a volunteer in the (1996) campaign,” Buchanan said. “He was the epitome of grace in a business often filled with vitriol and hyperbole. He was understated, but effective. He listened more and talked less. In essence, he was a statesman that represented Wyoming well for 24 years in the U.S. Senate.”

Other state officials also expressed sorrow at Enzi’s death, including state Sens. Tara Nethercott and Anthony Bouchard, both R-Cheyenne, and Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower and state Rep. Charles Gray, R-Casper.

“While we mourn Senator Enzi’s passing, we are eternally grateful for his distinguished service to Wyoming and our nation, his advocacy and love for all things Wyoming, and the incredible example he set for us all as a true statesman and committed public servant,” Nethercott wrote on her Facebook page.

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Enzi Delivers Farewell Speech To Senate

in News/politics

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. 

Enzi Joins Barrasso In Praising Benefits Of Early COVID Treatment

in News/Coronavirus/politics

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Outgoing U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi has joined his colleague Sen. John Barrasso in praising the newly announced rapid coronavirus test.

During a Senate Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday, Enzi emphasized that the country is learning more about potential early treatment options for the virus.

The rapid test would give results within half an hour, allowing patients to have more time to contact anyone they’ve recently been around, as Barrasso pointed out during a Fox Business appearance this week.

“People aren’t looking for next year’s answer, they’re looking for this year’s answer,” Enzi said. “I see a real state of panic, mostly because they think until the vaccine comes out there is no answer.”

The committee also heard from panelist George Fareed, a medical director and family medicine specialist, who highlighted the benefit of treatment “cocktails” that can help when someone tests positive for the virus.

Fareed said cocktail options are “extremely well tolerated” and are available with a doctor’s prescription. He noted some countries are dispensing packets that patients can bring home off-the-shelf that can help with early treatment of the virus. 

Enzi said the hearing was the first time he had had heard explanations from health officials in the Senate about the critical nature of early treatments for the virus.

Dr. Peter McCullough, vice chief of internal medicine at Baylor University Medical Center, said there is a treatment algorithm that has been peer-reviewed by a journal listed in the National Library of Medicine.

“This is the best available science,” McCullough said. 

McCullough said there is evidence to support each component of the treatment algorithm and added that it’s crucial for everyone to take this pandemic seriously to avoid mass mortality in the coming weeks.

“I appreciate all this information on early treatment,” Enzi said. “Some of it works, some of it doesn’t. That’s with everything that we know about when you get sick. But when people are thinking maybe they will die, they want some kind of solution.”

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Enzi Welcomes Lummis To Senate, Congratulates Cheney On Win

in elections/News/politics

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Outgoing U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi recently congratulated Senator-elect Cynthia Lummis on her successful campaign to take over his seat.

Lummis’ election and win are considered historic, as she will be the first woman to represent Wyoming in U.S. Senate. She beat out Democratic challenger Merav Ben-David, a University of Wyoming professor.

“Congratulations to Senator-elect Cynthia Lummis on being elected to fill the seat I have had the honor to hold for 24 years,’ Enzi said in a statement. “I know she will put Wyoming first and be a force to be reckoned with in Washington.

Enzi also congratulated U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney on her reelection to the House of Representatives. He felt that by having Lummis, Cheney and U.S. Sen. John Barrasso representing Wyoming in Congress, their work would be important and impactful.

The soon-to-be-retired senator also touched on the other elections that took place Tuesday, including the still to be determined presidential one. Enzi felt that although it was important to focus on “the top of the ballot,” the local elections were the ones that truly mattered.

“It’s important to remember that governing happens at the local level. Our county commissioners, city council, school board members – those are the people who shape our communities, and I applaud everyone who had the courage to put their name on a ballot this year,” he said.

He added that the best way to move forward after a particularly tense election season was to find common ground between the parties and work to solve those problems together.

“I only have a few weeks left as a U.S. Senator, but I remain a proud American citizen and I look forward to helping serve my country in other ways as I enter this new chapter of my life,” he said.

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Von Flatern Gets Enzi Endorsement in Hotly-Contested Primary Race

in News/politics

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Incumbent State Sen. Michael Von Flatern, R-Gillette, brought out the big guns on Monday with an endorsement from U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi.

The senior senator from Wyoming endorsed Van Flatern in a video posted on the state senator’s Facebook page.

This is notable because higher-level elected officials in Wyoming (past and present) rarely get involved in primaries at the state level. Exceptions this year would be former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson endorsing Ember Oakley in her bid for House District 55 and Gov. Mark Gordon’s condemnation of State Sen. Anthony Bouchard’s mailers which he said smears opponent Erin Johnson.

Sitting down on a porch, Enzi thanked Von Flatern for championing roadwork construction across the state.

“Diane and I travel Wyoming roads every weekend. And we’re always thankful for the passing lanes that Michael Von Flatern got in place to make travel across Wyoming better and to encourage more tourists,” Enzi said.

Former House Speaker Tom Lubnau has also been vocal about Von Flatern’s legislative work for road construction across Wyoming.

“There used to be bumper stickers that said, ‘Live dangerously, drive Highway 59.’ Now we have a four-lane highway from Gillette to the Bishop Road largely because of Michael’s efforts in the Wyoming Senate,” Lubnau said in a Facebook video.

The former speaker went on to list a number of Wyoming road projects that he attributed to Von Flatern’s efforts.

Von Flatern is in a heated primary against neighbor Troy McKeown. McKeown has claimed that Von Flatern is not conservative enough.

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Enzi, Barrasso Call For Investigation Into Meat Packers

in News/Agriculture

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s U.S. senators on Tuesday joined a bipartisan call for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into alleged anti-competitive practices in the nation’s beef packing industry.

U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso joined 17 of their colleagues in signing a letter to Attorney General William P. Barr asking for the Justice Department to look into allegations of price manipulation and anti-competitive behavior in the cattle industry.

Ranchers have long complained that because four major companies control more than 80 percent of the cattle industry, those companies in effect control the industry and keep prices paid to ranchers for their beef artificially low.

The letter said recent price differences between the amount received by beef packers and the amount they pay ranchers are threatening the survival of cattle ranches.

“Cattlemen across America seriously question the ability for their children to take over what are frequently multi-generational family-owned operations that serve as the engines for their communities and our country’s food supply,” the letter said. “It is critical for the DOJ to act expediently to investigate these concerning circumstances.”

The letter noted that since February, the price paid to producers for cattle has dropped by more than 18%, while wholesale beef prices have increased by as much as 115%.

Without action, America’s beef supply chain could collapse under the weight of poor prices, the letter said.

“It is critical for the DOJ to act expediently to investigate these concerning circumstances and evaluate potential competitive harms,” it said.

Eleven state attorneys general have also asked for investigation, as have a number of individual senators.

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