December 2, 2020
“For nearly a quarter-century, Mike Enzi has represented the people of Wyoming in Washington and has done it with intelligence, with intensity, and with integrity. The Cowboy State and the Capitol are going to sorely miss Mike Enzi.”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) paid tribute to Wyoming’s senior U.S. Senator, Mike Enzi, who is retiring at the end of this term. Barrasso praised Senator Enzi for his nearly twenty five years of service representing the people of Wyoming in the United States Senate.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I come to the floor today to pay tribute to this great Wyoming leader.
“For nearly a quarter-century, Mike Enzi has represented the people of Wyoming in Washington and has done it with intelligence, with intensity, and with integrity.
“The Cowboy State and the Capitol are going to sorely miss Mike Enzi.
“He’s truly cemented his legacy as the trusted trail boss of the Wyoming’s congressional delegation.
“And it has been an incredible honor and a great privilege for my wife Bobbi and for me to serve the people of Wyoming alongside Mike and his wife Diana who is with us today.
“Mike is truly a devoted family man – as well as a man of great and deep faith.
“In fact, Mike taught Sunday school over the decades.
“Many in the Wyoming faith community know that Mike’s first Sunday school teacher in Thermopolis Wyoming was my wife Bobbi’s mother, Jerry Brown.
“Jerry and her husband Bob, a World War II and Korean War veteran, both passed away this past year, and they had been married 70 years.
“Well, she taught Sunday school in Thermopolis, Wyoming, and her star pupil was Mike Enzi.
“To the point that she actually gave Mike Enzi his first Bible, and he still has that today.
“Here in the Senate, Mike has been not just a close friend to me, and a mentor to me, but he has been that to many members of this body.
“Mike was sworn in, in 1997, and throughout four terms in the United States Senate, he has never wavered in his commitment to God, to family, to country and, of course, to Wyoming.
“He’s known by many as the Senate’s moral compass, remarkable spiritual leader of our bipartisan Senate prayer breakfast.
“I am a member of that group, a number of the Senators here today are as well. We met today and Mike led us in prayer.
“And I’ve seen firsthand just how much Republican and Democrat members depend on Mike for his moral and ethical guidance.
“He really is a bipartisan not just policymaker but also a peacemaker, and we’ve all seen it within this body.
“His legislation, and he talked about the 80/20 rule, it has a long history of garnering overwhelming bipartisan support.
“Over 100 Enzi bills have become law.
“I have been proud to sponsor and cosponsor many of them with him in my time in the Senate.
“The thing he didn’t point out is that most of the bills that passed, passed with over 80 votes.
“It’s rare for an Enzi bill to get to the floor and pass with any more than 15-18 ‘no’ votes – remarkable accomplishment.
“And it’s important to note that these bills have been signed by Republican and Democrat presidents.
“You go into his office, his whole conference room is filled, the walls are filled, with bills and pens signed into law. With the pens being used by Bill Clinton, by George W. Bush, by Barack Obama, and by President Donald Trump.
“Behind all these, as he just talked about, is that very successful 80/20 Rule.
“A rule that he learned while in the Wyoming state legislature. And it has worked extremely well for him here in Washington, as well.
“Such is the practical, western wisdom in Mike Enzi.
“Born in 1944, in Bremerton, Washington, his father was there serving in the naval shipyards during World War II.
“Moved the family to Wyoming shortly thereafter, and that’s when he started elementary school in Thermopolis, Wyoming. They moved to Sheridan, where he graduated from high school.
“Mike didn’t talk about this today, but Mike there earned his Eagle Scout award. He’s a proud Eagle Scout, as is his son Brad, and his grandson is working on it as well. Mike has been named a ‘Distinguished Eagle’ by the Scouts.
“He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from George Washington University and an MBA in retail marketing from the University of Denver in Colorado.
“Mike and Diana moved to Gillette in 1969, where they started their own small business, and it’s wonderful to listen to Mike talk about small businesses. It’s called NZ Shoes.
“They later expanded their successful family business to Miles City, Montana and Sheridan, Wyoming.
“But Gillette, Wyoming is Mike’s true home and where his heart is.
“He served two terms as Gillette’s mayor. During his eight years as mayor, Mike led Gillette to their first economic boom.
“He’s also served 10 years in the Wyoming Legislature. He was both a state representative as well as a state senator.
“Wyoming is Mike’s world – And family means the world to Mike. Their the proud parents of three – Amy, Emily and Brad.
“And even prouder grandparents of four – Megan, Allison, Trey and Lilly.
“Anyone who knows Mike knows that he loves to fish. Even during prayer breakfast today when you watched on the Zoom call, behind Mike you could see a fishing rod, you could see all the lures that he uses in his fishing on display.
“He’s an accomplished, an avid fly-fisherman. In fact, in August 2015 he achieved every fly-fisherman’s dream by completing his Wyoming ‘Cutt-Slam.’
“This Wyoming Game and Fish Department program increases appreciation for our native cutthroat trout.
“If you want to talk to Mike about anything, talk to him about fishing.
“His passion comes through for his love for nature –for being in nature’s cathedral of the great outdoors.
“He fishes in majestic spots throughout Wyoming and all over the world.
“Here in Washington, Mike is a leading voice on budget, on tax and on health care issues.
“He has served in the Senate Budget Committee and as chairman since 2015.
“As the first accountant to chair the Budget Committee, Mike is committed to making government more accountable to hardworking American taxpayers.
“He’s been a tremendous Budget chairman. It’s because he learned valuable lessons in the Wyoming Legislature – Where, like American families, you have to balance the budget every year and live within your means.
“Under Mike’s leadership, Congress has passed balanced budget resolutions for fiscal years 2016, 2017 and 2018.
“He worked tirelessly to pass these budgets – even working through the night all week for the marathon floor debates called ‘vote-a-ramas.’
“His budget blueprints offered a better fiscal path by reducing wasteful spending, by lightening tax burdens and by boosting economic growth.
“Mike’s fiscal year 2018 budget not only provided a path to balance – it paved the way for pro-growth, pro-jobs tax relief legislation, the most comprehensive reform of the tax code in over a generation.
“And as a reconciliation bill, this historic 2017 tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, went through Mike’s Budget Committee.
“As Budget chairman, Mike has also focused on the soaring national debt, on budget process reform and on oversight of federal programs.
“Mike also has served as a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee since his arrival in the Senate.
“As a former chairman and ranking member, he championed the efforts to ensure a quality education for all.
“He expanded access to affordable, quality health care. And he spearheaded the most significant pension reform in 30 years, securing millions of Americans’ retirements.
“He is also a member of the Senate Finance Committee, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and the Joint Committee on Taxation.
“Other policy successes include improving mine safety, helping end the AIDS epidemic in Africa and passing mental health parity.
“Mike’s highest priority of course has always been helping the people of Wyoming.
“As he said in announcing his retirement: ‘I am an advocate for Gillette and Campbell County and Wyoming. I point out that everyone lives at the local level. No one lives at the federal level – or even the state level. So Diana and I are your Chamber of Commerce and economic development people for every town and county in Wyoming all the time.’
“Mike started several annual events to boost our state – the Inventors Conference, the Procurement Conference and Wyoming Works tours.
“In 2009, Mike and I started Wyoming Wednesdays, and it quickly became a big hit.
“This is a great tradition when people from around Wyoming come to Washington and we get together every week for coffee, donuts and friendship. And people love to attend.
“But Mike as well as Diana are a force here in the Senate. Mike has called Diana ‘the most thoughtful person in the world.’ And that’s no exaggeration.
“Here in the Senate, every year Diana hosts a Christmas cookie party to thank as they describe the ‘real workers’ that keep the Senate running – the janitors, the cleaning crews, the electricians, the police officers, the food service workers.
“Every year Diana and her friends work hundreds of hours and bake hundreds of dozens of cookies.
“All the Senate workers look forward to Diana’s 200-dozen cookie thank you event every year.
“In fact, it’s not unusual for people to come up to Diana in the hallway and ask when the party is. Mike is the wonderful co-host.
“This year, because of coronavirus, she couldn't do all the baking, but they had the cookie festival with baked cookies and those who couldn't get to receive them, Mike and Diana walked the halls of this building in the Senate office building to make sure that the guards and the custodians and janitors and others, got their Christmas cookies.
“Mike is usually a man of few words. But at a recent prayer breakfast, Mike reminded everyone about the importance of thinking before we speak.
“He titled his presentation ‘Me and My Big Mouth.’ He reminded us that our mouths cannot be trained, only guarded.
“Mike is a true Wyoming gentleman –Someone who will always be a great friend and a mentor to me, to younger people in Wyoming, and to everyone here in the Senate.
“In my office, there’s a picture on the wall from my first day in the Senate in 2007. I’m being sworn in by then-Vice President Cheney with Senator Enzi, along with former Senator Malcolm Wallop standing behind.
“It has been a tremendous privilege to serve with Mike from my very first day in the United States Senate.
“The people of Wyoming owe him an incredible debt of gratitude for his tireless, and his faithful service.
“Mike Enzi’s character, his courage and his credibility have cemented his legacy as a highly respected leader of the Senate.
“So today, so many senators are here gathering to listen to, to honor and to thank Mike Enzi for his decades of distinguished service to the nation.”