By The Wyoming News Exchange
Former U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi died late Monday after being seriously injured in a bicycle accident in Gillette on Friday.
A post on Enzi’s Facebook page said the former Wyoming legislator died Monday at the UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colorado, where he was flown for treatment after the accident.
“Former Wyoming U.S. Senator Mike Enzi passed away peacefully (Monday) surrounded by his family,” the post said. “His family expressed their deep appreciation for all of the prayers, support and concern that has been shown.”
Enzi was injured around 8:30 p.m. Friday while riding his bike near his Gillette home, the Gillette News Record reported.
Gillette attorney and family friend John Daly was quoted by the News Record as saying Enzi had broken his neck and some ribs in the accident.
The Facebook posting said Enzi never regained consciousness after being taken to the Colorado hospital.
Enzi served four terms in the U.S. Senate, winning his first term in office in 1996. He retired in 2020 and former U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis was elected to replace him.
Before going to Washington, D.C., Enzi served as both a representative and senator in Wyoming’s Legislature, where he held office from 1987 to 1997.
He was born in Washington state and grew up in Thermopolis. After attending school at George Washington University, where he attended his degree in accounting, he earned a master’s degree in marketing from the University of Denver in Colorado.
He moved to Gillette in 1969 and expanded his father’s shoe sales business, NZ Shoes.
Officials across Wyoming mourned Enzi’s passing on Tuesday, remembering him as a tireless worker on behalf of Wyoming’s interests in both Congress and the Wyoming Legislature.
“Mike spent his life working to make Wyoming a better place while creating opportunities for our people,” Lummis said. “He always put Wyoming first and worked harder than anyone to serve his constituents.”
Lummis, who served with Enzi for nine years while she was a U.S. representative, joined U.S. Sen. John Barrasso in praising Enzi as a soft-spoken legislator who could get things done in a bipartisan manner.
“Mike was a problem solver through and through,” said Barrasso, who served in the Senate with Enzi for 13 years. “More than 100 Enzi bills were signed into law by four U.S. presidents. Many passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.”
U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, who served in Congress for four years with Enzi, remembered him as a mentor and teacher with a dry sense of humor — and a dedicated champion of causes he cared about
“Mike was a straight-shooter, an honest broker, and a soft-spoken but powerful advocate for the causes he cared deeply about,” she said. “Whether it was pushing for fiscal discipline as head of the Senate Budget Committee or fighting for the needs of Wyoming’s energy industry, Mike was always guided by principle and conviction.”
Gov. Mark Gordon, who ordered American and Wyoming flags around the state to be flown at half-staff in honor of Enzi, echoed the sentiments of Wyoming’s congressional delegation.
“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.”
Secretary of State Ed Buchanan referred to Enzi as a quiet but effective leader.
“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 officials around Wyoming also expressed their sorrow Tuesday, including state legislators such as Sens. Tara Nethercott and Anthony Bouchard, both R-Cheyenne, and Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, and Rep. Charles Gray, R-Casper.