Republican Michael 'Mike' Bradley Enzi

Senate
Michael 'Mike' Bradley Enzi

Birthdate: Feb. 1, 1944
Birth Place: Bremerton, WA, United States
Residence: Gillette, WY
Religion: Presbyterian
First Elected: 1996
Gender: Male

Candidacy

Party: Republican
State: Wyoming
Office: Senate

Education

Undergraduate: George Washington University

Degree: BA

Graduate: University of Denver

Degree: MBA

Mike Enzi was born in Bremerton, Wash., and currently lives in Gillette, Wyo. He earned a bachelor's degree from George Washington University and a master's of business administration from the University of Denver.

Enzi and his wife, Diana, opened a shoe store, NZ Shoes, in Gillette. They later opened a similar store in Sheridan. The couple operated the store for 25 years before Enzi took a job as the accounting manager, computer programmer and safety trainer for Dunbar Well Service in Gillette.

He was elected as Gillette's mayor in 1974 and served for eight years.

Enzi served in both the Wyoming House and Senate.

He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996.

Enzi and his wife have three children.

Profile

Mike Enzi keeps a relatively low profile in the Washington scene, staying out of the political fray. He is a staunch conservative but often works with Democrats on legislation.

While much of Congress was deadlocked in 2012, Enzi plugged away during the summer on a bill that would allow states to collect sales tax on Internet sales. Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and others joined him in the effort.

In June 2012, he and Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, guided legislation through the Senate that was designed to increase inspections of foreign drug factories and speed approvals of new drugs at home.

In April 2012, Enzi and fellow Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso opposed a Democratic proposal to raise income tax rates on wealthier Americans. The so-called Buffett rule proposal was derailed when it failed get enough votes on the Senate floor. Enzi and Barrasso said the plan would have raised taxes on many small business owners while not solving rising gas prices, high unemployment or trillion dollar deficits. The two Republicans say the proposal is nothing more than a political gimmick intended to distract Americans from what they describe as the failed economic policies of President Barack Obama's administration.

Enzi worked with Sen. Edward Kennedy and other Democrats in 2006 to write the first major overhaul of mine safety in three decades. He developed a 10-point health care reform plan which he says has broad bipartisan support _ and was even borrowed by then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton during her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Enzi frequently repeats his observation that Republicans and Democrats generally agree on 80 percent of an issue while disagreeing on the remaining 20 percent. He says his approach is to craft legislation that addresses the areas where the two parties share middle ground.

Enzi voted against the government bailout of the battered financial industry in October 2008. He joined other members of the Wyoming delegation in voting against the approximately $800 billion economic stimulus package supported by President Barack Obama.

Enzi also opposed the 2010 health care reform bill. After it passed, he advocated amending the plan to remove pieces he believed too onerous, such as a provision that requires businesses to file more 1099 tax forms.

The budget watchdog group, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, says Enzi scored 100 percent in its August 2010 ratings of congressional votes opposing programs and spending the group considers wasteful.

Enzi is an accountant by trade who is a fervent supporter of small businesses and will regularly champion their causes. He was a key architect of GOP support for the corporate responsibility law, landmark legislation signed by President George W. Bush in 2002 following a wave of corporate scandals, including Enron and WorldCom.

He had negotiated with Sen. Paul Sarbanes, the Maryland Democrat who authored the bill, to win changes in provisions of the bill that Enzi said threatened to put small accounting firms out of business.

Enzi also sponsored legislation in 2006 to help small businesses provide health care to employees. But the legislation failed after Democrats said it didn't provide adequate health care coverage.

Enzi's wife, Diana, was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in her colon and had it surgically removed during the debate on the health care legislation.

He has also been a strong supporter of labeling meat products with the country of origin and reform of the Endangered Species Act, both popular among livestock producers in Wyoming.

Enzi entered politics in 1974 when he ran for mayor of Gillette, Wyo., at the urging of U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson. He succeeded his mentor more than 20 years later, after serving in the state Legislature. Enzi was elected to the seat vacated by Simpson in 1996, easily defeating former Wyoming Secretary of State Kathy Karpan.

He has been active in issues involving opening borders to greater trade, rewriting workplace safety rules and setting new business standards in the Senate.

Most of his positions _ such as those weakening workplace safety oversight _ are considered friendly to business. Enzi supported a balanced budget amendment but voted in support of President Bush's tax cuts, which have been blamed for negating four years of budget surpluses.

He is an elder in the Presbyterian Church who opposes abortion. Enzi is a supporter of the National Rifle Association. He follows general conservative lines of lower taxes and less government intrusion in local issues and daily lives.

Source: Associated Press

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